Bally Total Fitness enshrines exercise classes, calorie-burning equipment, and a fitness-focused staff within its sanctuaries of health. A 30-day guest pass includes access to a spread of group exercise classes, including Pilates, Reaction Cycling, Step Fitness, and High-Impact Hopscotch (class offerings vary by location). For self-guided worker-outers, cardio equipment such as treadmills, elliptical machines, cross-trainers, and stair climbers torch calories while entertaining the brain with video entertainment and integrated music systems that occasionally whisper quotes from Charles Atlas. Bally also boasts a bulk-building army of strength machines, free weights, and small-apparatus equipment, and grants gym-goers access to on-site locker rooms, showers, and, at some locations, a pool and steam room. Visit each location's webpage for a list of specific amenities and the lineup of classes.
Three Trees Yoga's RYT-certified instructors enlighten new and seasoned stretchers with a variety of yoga styles in an effort to foster a community of mental and physical health. The serene studio's schedule is filled with a range of classes devised to relieve stress, increase strength, improve circulation and weight management, and honor the sun with a 21-watergun salute. Beginner Yoga: Level I unveils correct breathing methods, physical alignment, and classic asanas (postures). The gentle yoga class encourages a calmer form of fitness, emphasizing balance and deliberate lung maneuvers that can later be applied to blowing up balloons in the shape of Harrison Ford. Beginners and intermediates can sweat side by side in the mixed-level yoga class, which introduces exercise modifications to yogis seeking more or less challenge.
Ceilings aside, there are few non-bounceable surfaces to be found inside Trampoline Nation. Its main jumping area, the Launch Zone, includes more than 5,000 square feet of trampolines, including some angled ones that allow youngsters to literally bounce off the walls. The Trick Nation and Half-Pipe areas let kids aged 5 and older practice tricks under the watchful eye of the facility's air guards, while Dunk Nation's giant trampolines launch participants high enough to slam dunk the hoop. Besides offering open jump six days a week, Trampoline Nation hosts dodgeball tournaments and jump nights for teens and tweens, where visitors often have growth spurts in midair. As kids bounce about, their guardians can watch all the action from a comfy mezzanine complete with sofas and free WiFi.
On paper, cheerleading's rah-rah spirit doesn't vibe with martial arts' quiet, disciplined approach. But the staff members at Extreme Energy Sports and Fitness make the two activities work. Their cheerleading classes introduce students to moves, cheers, and Tony Basil lyrics, whereas kenpo karate classes—taught by 40-year veteran Master Rainey—introduce students to attacks and counterattacks. If students have leftover energy, the facility also features a fitness center.
With the opening of Pattison's West in 1979, Mike and Kay Pattison carried on a family tradition that began when Mike's grandfather debuted the clan's first rink in the 1930s. Today, the roller skating rink, which has been lauded by the New York Times, has been passed down to the couple's son, Darin, but still exudes the same values of recreation and togetherness as it did more than three decades ago, when families were held together with twine before the discovery of DNA. The 90-by-176-foot skating oval sports curved maple slats in a rotunda formation, which allows for smooth, swift gliding with the grain of the wood. When not teeming with open-skate guests or parties, the space serves as practice grounds for Pattison's Team Extreme, an inline speed-skating crew that ascended to the nation's number one spot in 2010 under Mike's coaching. The award-winning team serves as inspiration for classes for beginner rollers and aspiring speed skaters. The on-site pro shop and snack bar provides the equipment and fuel necessary to keep rolling.
In March 1964, Dr. Milton Walker began his tour of England with one mission: to send cuttings from public and private British gardens back to his native America. Though he was enchanted by several flowers, he knew that none of these cuttings could be imported directly to the United States. So he had them sent through Canada. Over the next several years, staff from the University of British Columbia filtered through these samples, sending one of each plant on to the United States?and to their permanent home?at the Rhododendron Species Foundation. Today, this non-profit organization conserves 700 of the more-than 1,000 species of rhododendrons found around the world and the two species found inside the earth's molten core.
More than 10 botanical gardens house these brilliant seasonal blooms and their natural companionate flora. Guided and self-guided tours usher visitors down pathways where colorful plantings abound in gardens dedicated to alpine flowers, azaleas, a magnolia grove, and a tranquil pond filled with predatory cattails. In addition to flowers, these gardens also host seasonal events such as special plant sales and staff lectures, as well as classes on topics ranging from plant photography to gardening. Pack a picnic to spread out across the new picnicking area, open during warmer months.