At regular intervals each day, Swonder Ice Arena’s trusty Zamboni rolls out to keep the NHL-size ice rink smooth between lessons and public-skating sessions. Once the glossy surface is ready, professional instructors begin to lead students through classes in hockey fundamentals, ice skating, and figure skating. Hockey lessons are offered in four levels, beginning with the essentials of hockey skating and stick handling. Ice-skating lessons include nine separate curriculum sets, such as choreography and synchronized skating.
In addition to winter-water fun, Swonder Ice Arena is home to a fitness center with cycles, free weights, exercise machines, and personal trainers.
Safety-certified guides lead their human-powered flotillas on tours down meandering paths of natural wonder, educating paddlers about the local wildlife and riparian ecology of the Evansville area. Pleasure-seeking pairs can escape the stresses of the city without traveling far, as the tour’s waterways pump aquatic lifeblood straight through the heart of Evansville and serve as a wildlife oasis. Intimate groups of six or Troy-bound armies of up to 28 can take to the gentle currents on a daytime tour highlighting Pigeon Creek’s wildlife, from its majestic birds and waterfowl to its feral psychic Pokémon. Moonlight paddles highlight the area’s active nocturnal ecology, with tours at Hovey Lake weaving through a half-submerged forest of bald cypress trees and trips through the Blue Grass Fish and Wildlife Area offering a glimpse into Loon Pit, a designated nesting area and asylum for deranged waterfowl.
The ping of golf clubs and baseball bats rings out across the grounds and rises above the thrumming engines and squealing tires of go-karts at Golfland USA. Part training ground, part recreational respite, Golfland invites golfers to hone their game at a driving range or enjoy more laid-back par-hunting at a mini-golf course. Guests can also perfect a different kind of swing at the batting cages, which sling baseballs at three different speeds and offer two slow-pitch softball machines. The fun center also encompasses a quarter-mile go-kart track where drivers speed down straightaways and drift around tight turns.
It didn't take long for the first professional hockey team in Evansville to make their mark; in just their second year in the All American Hockey League, in 2010, the fledgling IceMen won the Davidson Cup in seven games. Though that first clan of IceMen has since gone extinct, the team soon resurrected as part of the ECHL, where they serve as the minor-league affiliate of both the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Saint Louis Blues. During games, fans fill the 9,400-seat Ford Center arena as the polar-bear mascot, Blizzard, entertains crowds and teaches children of the dangers of costume warming.
Strength and conditioning specialist Tony Maslan—who is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist as well as a 1998 Junior American Deadlift Record holder—knows the importance of safe and well-rounded fitness practices. The former Marine Corps Reserves sergeant and overseas infantry squad leader leads a team of more than 15 certified trainers in their mission to help individual fitness-seekers, children, and corporate clients break unhealthy habits. This goal-oriented staff emphasizes accountability and measurable results during one-on-one and group training sessions as they reshape clients’ waistlines with kettlebells and deadlifts, as well as intense challenges such as sparring and pulling a truck using only their pinky finger. The on-staff nutrition counselor bolsters these results with comprehensive nutrition guidance, and posts diverse recipes online as well. Of this, Maslan stated that he "knew we needed to help clients go beyond the microwave." To help keep their clients from returning to their previous lifestyles, these trainers also host online, in-home, and sport-specific training.
Maslan and his team believe in giving back to the community, so they occasionally host charity events to benefit the missions of the Wounded Warrior Project, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and 911 Gives Hope.
Though it functions as an all-purpose gym, Tri-State Athletic Club is actually a community epicenter. When guests aren't running across its sports courts, they might be toasting each other in its halls at a wine tasting or holiday event. Family-friendly programming welcomes kids and adults alike to pool activities and tennis lessons, and personal trainers guide members, whose names they've committed to memory, through custom workouts. Meanwhile, instructors lead group classes such as Pilates, spin, and heated yoga in well-equipped studios. This supportive atmosphere imbues the club with positive vibes, which prompt strangers on neighboring treadmills to amicably concede the right of way.