Most pools are not designed for children, with their plunging deep ends, regular calls for "adult swim," and robust colonies of piranha. Not so at Swimtastic Swim School, where every aspect of the center's design caters to youthful aquanauts. After passing by the colorful front desk changing into their suits, kids rinse off in the warm water of the on-deck palm-tree shower. Once classes begin, swimmers dunk into the pool itself, ranging from 3.5 to 4.5 feet deep and heated to a constant, comfortable 90 degrees. In the lessons themselves, experienced instructors use the skills they learned in the center's 30-hour training course to lead small groups through the basics of water safety and proper swimming form. Regular open swims let kids show off their aquatic mastery to parents and friends and make unlimited use of the deep-end water slide.
Running, crawling, tumbling and playing across more than 5,000 square feet, kids 10 and below can expend energy for hours at Family Tree Haus. Families can drop in for open play, where kids enjoy a full day's worth of access to the various areas around the facility such as climbing, sliding down slides, and toying with toys. There's also a cafe on-site, where kids and parents can order up kid-friendly foods after playing.
Of the 85 intrepid souls who've attempted to conquer the Paddy's Lament burger challenge at Mulligans Irish Pub & Grill, only one has succeeded. It's not a feat that ought to be taken lightly—contestants have 60 minutes to finish a three-pound burger topped with a half-pound of cheese, a pound of corned beef, and veggies, as well as a mountain of beer-battered fries. Victors are rewarded with bragging rights, a $50 gift card, and an approving head nod from the cook.
For diners not hungry enough to take on the challenge, however, there's plenty of other more reasonably sized pub favorites on the menu, such as tangy buffalo-chicken pizza and meaty nachos. There's also a sweeping variety of authentic Irish favorites, including corned beef and cabbage, shepherd's pie, and fish and chips in a Harp beer batter that's been lauded by reporters from Express Milwaukee as "feathery" and "flavorful." On weekly Friday fish fries, the kitchen serves fried haddock, lake perch, and bluegill along with internationally inspired specialties such as barbecued asian shrimp and spicy seafood linguini.
The bar also boasts 16 draft beers and more than 20 varieties of Irish whiskeys. There are 21 HD TVs scattered throughout the bar and seating areas, broadcasting everything from thrilling football games to thrilling laundry detergent commercials.
From outside, Innovative Health & Fitness' sprawling 52,545-square-foot facility looks more like a school or a corporation than a gym. However, once you enter the gleaming, modern building’s doors, there is no mistaking its true purpose: fitness. The mega-center encompasses three pools, two floors lined with strength training and cardio machines, and two group-class studios. Here, the certified fitness instructors lead yoga, Zumba, BodyPump, spinning, and kickboxing classes. They emphasize long-term results over quick fixes, and help guests lead healthier lives with personal-training sessions and nutrition counseling.
To augment workouts, exercisers can stop at the spa for a massage, mani-pedi, or tanning, or harvest the café for its smoothies, healthful snacks, and Popeye's other favorite food: Juice Plus+ vitamins.
Anytime Fitness, which boasts 2,398 clubs in North America, makes it easier for average folks to etch out time for exercise by doing one simple thing: staying open 24 hours a day for 365 days a year. As fitness seekers challenge themselves on cardio and Hammer Strength machines and hoist Iron Grip free weights in clean, well-stocked facilities, security monitoring ensures they’re safe and producing enough sweat to meet official government standards. Members can also ramp up their exercise regimens with the help of Anytime Fitness’s staff of personal trainers, who demonstrate moves and sling motivating tips. After workouts, guests can shower in the private restrooms or hop into one of the tanning booths available 24 hours a day.
As they enter the training circuit at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. One minute is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.