It takes copious amounts of energy to transform a child's body into an adult's, so it’s no wonder that such energy sometimes overflows. At Planet Kidz, a fleet of chipper teachers helps kids find constructive outlets for that energy, keeping bodies healthy and minds creatively engaged. The center’s dance and yoga programs tailor training toward developing bodies and students who love to learn in a non-competitive environment. During gymnastics classes, instructors challenge tykes to improve their coordination and flexibility, which help lay the fundamental physical foundation for other popular sports such as soccer or juggling Mom's vases. Self-discipline and self-defense share the spotlight during karate classes, and kids develop social niceties and fine motor skills at arts and crafts sessions.
While kids play and learn, parents can recline on couches, observe classes through a one-way mirror, or down beverages from a complimentary coffee and water bar. Cable TV ensures that adults stay on top of incoming broadcasts, and free WiFi keeps robot nannies from suddenly shutting down.
Home to the state's largest freestanding bouldering island, New Jersey Rock Gym houses 12,000 square feet of vertical terrain to climb as well as 41 top roping stations. Armed with either day passes or membership, guests scamper up the gym's synthetic summits, hoping to ask questions of the learned ceiling light sequestered at the top of the mountain. While gear is included with some membership options, guests can opt to bring their own materials or rent the individual shoes ($5), harnesses ($4), or chalk bags ($2) they need from the pro shop. New Jersey Rock Gym offers a collection of educational course work in the vertical arts, teaching belay technique to beginners or advanced skills to adults. Children can also take advantage of youth climbing programs, mini camps, and birthday parties before retiring to private refreshment chambers to absorb bottles of electrolyte-infused refreshment. The nearby pro shop outfits climbers with name-brand gear for purchase, while a WiFi lounge transmits terabytes of data into nearby electronic devices or unsecured cyborg brains.
Unique Photo?s story wouldn?t be out of place in a Horatio Alger essay: entrepreneurs Bernard and Harriet Sweetwood opened a small storefront photography supply store in Brooklyn, which, through their continued hard work, grew to become one of the largest privately owned photographic-supply distributors in the world. Now dubbed a photographic superstore, Unique Photo stocks more than 20,000 products from popular brands such as Canon, Panasonic, Olympus, Fujifilm, Nikon, and Sony. From digital cameras and camera bags to video equipment, darkroom supplies, and prints of 19th-century presidents eating ice-cream cones, the shop houses gear for enthusiasts and professionals alike. On a mission to help clients ?Create Better Pictures,? staffers draw upon their photography training to help customers with a full-service photo lab, rental equipment, and free tech support. Experts also lead a full curriculum of classes and seminars that cover topics such as photo composition, Adobe Photoshop, and lighting techniques.
The pristine, recently renovated fairways at Meadows Golf Club snake around 12 ponds that vary in size and factor into play-making decisions on at least 14 holes. Water makes itself a prevalent threat to golf balls that are afraid to swim on the 9th and 18th holes, where larger ponds loom ominously to finish out the front and back nines. The 9th, a 240-yard uphill par 3, demands steely nerved shots over two ponds: one that stretches past the tee box to the player's center-right and another that runs along the left all the way to the green. On the par 4 18th, players again face down a tee shot over water, this time being forced to keep their drive to the right to avoid water along the length of the fairway, as well as packs of ravenous ball washers that roam the course in search of prey.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 70 course * 6,345 yards from the back tees * Three sets of tees
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.
A&A Fine Foods, which first opened its doors in 1992, helps customers line their pantry shelves or banquet tables with gourmet comestibles the likes of meat, bread, cookies, olive oil, cheese, and pasta. Behind gleaming display cases of hormone-free chicken and Boar's Head meats, A&A's butchers prepare homemade italian sausage and slice marbled cuts of grass-fed beef with the steady hands of a brain surgeon playing Jenga. The deli's staff can accommodate lunchtime cravings or catering requests by ladling bowls of house-made soups out of its percolating cauldrons and crafting hearty sandwiches or wraps with such ingredients as grilled eggplant and imported provolone.