It’s hard to be everything to everyone, but Bentley SportsPlex gets close: it’s at once a facility for fine arts, tutoring, and an arcade. The family-fun center has bounce houses, a gym, batting cages, and a gymnasium for basketball and dodgeball. Just recently added: a 1200-square foot laser tag arena.
In addition to its family-fun facilities, Bentley SportsPlex aims to be a haven for kids to express themselves. There’s a staff of talented professionals on hand that can provide guitar and bass guitar lessons, painting and craft classes, and tutoring services. There's even a theater branch so youngsters can learn how to accurately convey the pathos of what it’s like to be grounded.
On a normal day at Climb So iLL, climbers scale a giant eyeball, a purple elephant, and a giant tulip reaching toward the sky. These structures, inspired by Lewis Carroll and created by an architectural firm, reflect the gym’s unique aesthetic and a whimsical vision. The walls range in color from slate gray to bright purple, and accent lighting adds to snaking mezzanine levels and a well-stocked pro shop. The gym's modern design, which includes countertops and shop displays crafted from bamboo and recycled car hoods, blends into the original brick interior of the old power plant—from which designers salvaged steel and other debris to fashion the interior.
On each guest's first visit, a staff member escorts them around the facility to get them acquainted with safety protocol. Climbers scale 40 top ropes hung down from walls reaching up to 55 feet, along with smooth angles and overhangs across varied bouldering terrain. In a members-only 24-hour training zone open to all climbers during the day, they can practice navigating small overhangs and other problems. On-site personal trainers and instructors also help hone skill and movement techniques through basic belaying and lead climbing classes. An accredited route-setting team regularly tampers with the gym's routes to keep climbers alert and extra gecko-like. An advanced ventilation system circulates and cools the air by maintaining a constant indoor pressure, and tall windows and skylights keep vertical pathways well-lit.
Inside a 9-acre family fun center, orb-tossers young and old drive spheres down Concord Lanes' 32 glossy lanes, and outside, miniature-golf enthusiasts putt their way around a desert-themed 18-hole course. Tepees, outcroppings, and an active waterfall cover the pintsize fairways and greens, creating a unique layout that was named the Best Miniature Golf by the Riverfront Times.
Nearby, nine batting cages hurl baseballs and softballs at varying speeds, and three sand volleyball courts await bouts of friendly competition. Overlooking the sandy courts, an outdoor deck invites guests to lounge in the sun with casual fare from the Coyote Canyon Salon and Cafe. The indoor section pumps jukebox tunes as pool balls sink into the pockets of the billiards table or a passing kleptomaniac.
Skyview Drive-In, opened in 1949, has weathered the ravages of multiple tornados, enduring as a two-screen throwback to old-school cinema. When the sun sets, the twin screens display double features of recent Hollywood releases in clear digital format, while FM radio simulcasts the soundtracks. The viewing area—organized so taller cars never cut off smaller cars' sightlines—borders a playground for youngsters and a concession stand with classic movie snacks. Celebrating its roots, the theater occasionally hosts class classic car (defined as 1987 or older) night where the driver is admitted free. For first-timers, Skyview Drive-In offers thorough responses to FAQs.
Sweating is a great way to meet new people, and Sports Monster has proved that since it started its first adult league in 1994. With year-round offerings that include volleyball, kickball, soccer, bowling, and other sports, interested kickers, hitters, and dribblers can sign up solo or with a fully formed team of friends or coworkers. Games take place all around the St. Louis area. With many nights available, participants can choose a time and location that best suits them. Annual members of Sports Monster leagues get an additional perk: free online dating opportunities with other league members, the only facet of the experience that doesn’t offer any season-end trophies.
A longtime tennis player, Mark Platt began teaching the sport as soon as he graduated from high school. However, after a brief period of instructing at local country clubs, he realized that his heart wasn’t in the work. The country clubs catered to intermediate and advanced players, and Mark wanted to teach beginners. In the absence of a satisfactory beginning tennis program in the area, he founded Mark Platt’s Beginner’s World Tennis in 1984.
As a tennis instructor, Mark has won numerous awards from such prestigious publications as Tennis Pro and Tennis Industry, according to the St. Louis Business Journal. Specifically geared toward beginners, his program combines lessons with special events including camps, leagues, and parties designed to encourage socializing—so far, his program has spawned 53 marriages. He and his small staff have big plans for the beginning tennis world; this year alone, they expect to introduce 10,000 adults, children, and marionettes to the sport.