The golf carts at The Woodlands Golf Club take players on a grassy roller-coaster ride over frequent changes in elevation and down fairways brimming with challenging lies at every turn. Play intertwines perilously with a winding creek at many points, with a scant three holes, like a cautious wicked witch, managing to avoid water altogether. All 18 holes launch players down zoysia grass fairways from one of four tees, challenging each club in the bag en route to greens that hold approaches and roll true. On the last hole, the newly refurbished clubhouse provides a scenic backdrop for the homestretch.
Course at a Glance:
24 Hour Fitness keeps its doors open day and night so members can sculpt bodies and fitness goals on their own time with a potpourri of group classes, cardio equipment, free weights, athletic courts, and an indoor-lap pool. Armed with a 30-day membership to the recently opened Houston Rice Village Club, gym-goers kick off fresh workout routines with a complimentary fitness orientation filled with advice from personal trainers on health goals, how to use equipment, and how to interpret nightmares of being chased by dumbbells. Add fresh layers of physicality with TRX suspension-training equipment before playing a round in the racquetball court or letting sneakers squeak out healthful sonnets on the practice basketball court. Members can sign up for an array of group fitness classes, including yoga, Zumba, and Les Mills workouts ranging from martial-arts-inspired body combat to RPM, which pairs thumping beats with a stationary bike ride through imaginary mountains and ethereal monsoons. Cap off workouts by ducking into the sauna or taking one final lap in the whirlpool.
STL Cinemas' quartet of movie houses mingles the vibrant pageantry of the early film industry with the technological sophistication of modern studio projects. Chase Park Plaza exudes the essence of this retro-contempo coupling, earning it the Riverfront Times 2010 Best Movie Theater award. With five intimate auditoriums, an all-digital sound system, and state-of-the-art projection, Chase Park Plaza coaxes movie-goers deep into the film's plot lines, characters, and 3-D effects easier than an underseat package containing a plaid dress, a little dog, and a magical Kansas twister. Before one of Chase’s shows, bask in the sights of the lifelike trompe l'eoil murals, and soak in the sounds of a live organist who serenades the crowds with show-tune favorites such as "Phantom of the Opera," "Goldfinger," and "I’m a Little Tea Pot (The Remix)."
A creature with roots in Native American lore, the Piasa bird has survived antiquity in large part due to etchings found on limestone bluffs throughout Illinois. Under the banner of the mythical predator— most depictions lend it reptilian claws, fish-like scales, and mammalian fangs—the Illinois Piasa charge onto the field against Professional Arena Soccer League foes, stopping just short of actually eating their opponents. Founded in 1998, the PASL consists of 19 indoor-soccer squads throughout the United States; upon their league debut in the 2010–11 season, the Piasa won the Pro Frontier Division with a 9–3 record.
A kid ricochets down a spiral waterslide, hugging each curve as a smile stretches across his face when he hits the water with a splash. Already having made a safe landing, his sister raises her fists in victory, having proven the speed slide is faster. Elsewhere in the sprawling waterpark, toddlers splash safely on a padded playground, away from their nosy older siblings. After recovering from swimming laps in the six-lane pool or sunning on the deck, parents meet up with their kids to refuel at the full-service Cannonball Café with burgers, chicken strips, and snow cones.