Strike One Sports Complex is a 40,000-square-foot indoor sports facility, housing two artificial turf fields, eight batting cages, and a 40-game video arcade on its three levels. The center's all-sports day pass ($40 per pass) gives kids ages seven to 12 the opportunity to experience a smorgasbord of sports and games in a single day. The all-sports day starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m.—in between, participants will experience a Bo Jackson's résumé's worth of athletics. Let your daughter play soccer to the tune of his inner vuvuzela, or allow your son to half-embrace his inner linebacker during touch football. Other sports and games include ping-pong, whiffle ball, kick ball, dodge ball, baseball, video games, Frisbee, and batting cage access. Lunch and breaks are taken in Strike One's game room, containing a snack bar and kids' movies, such as The 400 Blows and F for Fake, playing on TVs.
Collegiate Basketball Academy’s experienced trainers, who blazed up the NCAA courts for Gordon College and Lesley and Tufts Universities, share their expertise with kids at the elementary, high-school, and college levels. Calling upon their knowledge of the sport from both the athlete’s and coach’s points of view, they school students in ball handling, shooting, and speed in both one-on-one sessions and group training academies. To help their clients find areas for performance improvement, they also come to games and film players before analyzing their forms and discussing potential fixes.
The staff at Greater Boston Running Company—the Northeast operation of the national and online retailer Running Company—hopes customers are not misled by the name. They’ll custom fit everyone for shoes that support their pursuits, whether they be marathoners, CrossFitters, or a nurse who has to stand all day. The process starts with talking to guests about their average workout or day, followed by a meticulous measuring of their feet. Staffers then have guests walk, jog, or run on a treadmill equipped with slow-motion-capture software, which lets guests see things such as how their arches react when striking and lifting from the ground. Armed with this wealth of information, Greater Boston Running Company’s team can narrow the expansive shoe stock down to just a few recommendations.
Beyond an armory of footwear, Greater Boston Running Company stocks athletic apparel and accessories from brands such as New Balance, Garmin, and SmartWool. This gear is matched by a wealth of educational resources, both online and at the store level. Regularly posted web articles cover topics from how the seasons impact nutritional needs to how rubbing your body in bacon attracts wild animals and boosts your desire to run.
At individual locations, each store’s staff works with local running clubs, high-school teams, and charities—making them especially adept at pointing runners toward fellow runners and trainers who will help them reach their goals.
Recipients of Northshore magazine’s 2010 Best of North Shore award for Best Movie Theater, CinemaSalem fills four screens with first-run, art, and documentary films. Evening flicks after 6 p.m. offer stargazing opportunities for adults ($9.50) and kids ($7.50); 3-D films levy an additional $2 to compensate the hardworking technician who throws props and actors at the audience. Take in a morning movie before 12:30 p.m. ($6), or escape incessant summer sun by ducking into a matinee ($8 for adults, $7.50 for children). While you watch, crunch popcorn or traipse to the café for movie-minded concoctions such as the Vanilla Sky, a froth of espresso, vanilla, and clouds of foam ($3.50–$4), or the Holy Grail ($4.50), a peanut-butter-and-banana milkshake.
Paramotor Tours sends adventurers skyward on the wings of motor-powered paragliders. Nationally certified pilots adhere strictly to FAA safety regulations as they strap in for tandem flights, lifting thrill seekers to heights of up to 8,000 feet. To help ensure smooth takeoffs and landings, each glider boasts several safety features, including reserve parachutes, GPS navigation, and a pause button. Adventurers who wish to pilot their own glider can sign up for a solo-flying course, available on select days.
Foote Brothers Canoe and Kayak outfits canoers with the paddle-driven vessels they need to power across the surface of the Ipswich River, charting a downstream course through a wildlife sanctuary and the majestic Wenham wetlands. After a shuttle bus drops them off at Salem Road in Topsfield, up to four adventurers strap on lifejackets and step into a sturdy 15- or 17-foot Grumman canoe to commence their waterborne odyssey. Paddlers adjust to the natural rhythms of the wetlands surrounding them, lifting their oars in musical unison with the warbling birds and beat-boxing brown trout that populate the river’s forested wildlife sanctuary.
Thanks to Zoo New England, little patches of wilderness from Africa, South America, Australia, and other parts of the world now dot Massachusetts. The non-profit organization operates both Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo, each full of exotic creatures and their habitats. These microcosms represent an ideal world, one where endangered species thrive and fragile ecosystems last for generations to come.
At Franklin Park Zoo, tigers display their exotic stripes in the Tiger Tales exhibit where guests are educated on the perils these animals face in their natural habitats. Elsewhere, thousands of plants as well as mandrills, ocelots, and a pygmy hippopotamus turn the zoo into a tropical rainforest.
Stone Zoo, meanwhile, places simulations of the world's highlands next to Spot Pond. One area focuses on the Sierra Madre mountain range, which spans Mexico and the Southwestern U.S. The elevated habitat counts jaguars, coyotes, Gila monsters, and cougars among its denizens.
A portion of every admission goes to the organization's conservation efforts, which supports projects both locally and globally. For would-be zookeepers, Zoo New England hosts various adult and kids' educational programs, and lets volunteers help in the care of zoo plants and animals.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.