One of 12 indoor 400-meter ovals in the world and the only sea-level oval in the United States accessible to athletes, the nonprofit Pettit National Ice Center has become an essential destination for speed skaters training for the 2014 Olympic Games. Practicing skaters join the ranks of Apolo Anton Ohno, Chad Hedrick, and Shani Davis, all of whom have competed or trained at Pettit, participated in the last five Winter Olympics, and beaten an avalanche into submission. With its 155,000-square-foot arena and 97,000 square feet of ice, the Olympic training site has hosted the 2005 U.S. National Short Track Championship and eight international speed-skating competitions.
In addition to Olympic-caliber sportspersons, Pettit accommodates nearly 400,000 annual visitors for public-skating sessions and lessons in skating, figure skating, and speed skating. Skating clubs, hockey leagues, curling, and wheelchair- and special-needs-skating classes commence on two 100'x200' rinks. Meanwhile, spectators and Olympic torches on their day off can sidestep the ice by contemplating infinity while resting in a lounge overlooking the arena, or jogging around the 443-meter track circling the ice oval.
Skatetown proves a smooth floor and a pair of skates are the only things necessary for fun. The skate center hosts roller-skating sessions and games, such as Red Light, Green Light and Limbo. Sessions are limited to kids aged 2?12 so that parents don?t need to worry about older kids going too fast, and special training tools help young children learn to skate.
The word TraXside artfully sprayed on one wall of the rink is the first clue that this is not a retro-style skate rink. At TraXside Skating, a family-oriented business, the colored lights reflect on the slick skating surface as skaters glide on bright-colored wheels around the rink. The ceiling arches overhead. Between laps around the rink, skaters refuel at the onsite snack shop or peruse the racks at the pro shop.
Owned and operated by the Cantwell family since 1982, Twin Lakes Country Club boasts an 18-hole golf course with five par 5s, six par 3s and seven par 4s. Their golf program includes private lessons as well as the Twin Lakes Junior Golf Academy, a seven-week program led by a PGA professional and three assistants. After long days on the course, golfers can relax in the Club House—formerly known as Red Barn Restaurant—for a prime-rib dinner or their all-you-can-eat fish fry.
Some old-timey types of recreation are best left in the past—jousting, croquet, long pensive walks—but Skate on Grand gives roller-skating relevance to modern-day fun-seekers. A far cry from the roller rinks of yesteryear, its smooth, colorful skating surface comes to life beneath a rainbow of flashing lights and the sparkle of a disco ball. Its arcade also boasts contemporary bells and whistles including video games and an air hockey table. However, the snack bar’s staff recognizes that some things, such as ringing a bell to warn of invading enemy troops, simply can’t be improved upon, and dole out time-tested favorites such as pizza, hot dogs, and root-beer floats.
Tip-toeing around black columns illuminated with rings of neon, players catch and zap friends the second they show themselves under the fluorescent light's glow. This happens every day inside Rink Side Sports' 2,000-square-foot Laser Blast arena, which accommodates up to 20 players per match. Just outside that arena, an arcade erupts in a cacophony of bells and whistles emanating from more than 100 video and redemption games. Nearby on the ice rink, ice is carved during public skating hours and kids master the triple Lutz during figure-skating programs led by experienced instructors, many of whom belong to the Professional Skaters Association. These activities all exist under one roof, as well as a 2,700-square-foot 18-hole black-light mini-golf course and a snack bar, which serves hand-tossed pizzas that can be tossed by hand into eaters? mouths.