The ping of sharp line drives and towering drives echo over the grounds at Legends Golf, where athletes of all ages compete in rounds of miniature golf and hone swings in the batting cages or at the driving range.
Golf balls trickle down topsy-turvy tracks at the 18-hole miniature-golf course, which weaves through rock faces and tiny geysers that erupt with glee any time a player misses an easy putt. Eight target greens populate the 300-yard driving range, where new Wilson Staff Range Balls touch down after taking flight from 45 synthetic mats or 35 grass tees.
Under the vaulted roof of the batting cages, nine pitching machines send baseballs and softballs speeding toward hitters as they get the most out of every at bat and discreetly argue balls and strikes with imaginary umpires. To pass the time in between mini-golf rounds or during kids' golf lessons, guests can use Legends' wireless Internet connection free of charge.
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.
At Pro-Fitness Plus, a professional staff of trainers and nutritionists help clients of all ages and fitness levels achieve their desired results, whether they’re looking to tone up, stay healthy, or slim down. Members can take advantage of more than 350 pieces of equipment ranging from 110-pound dumbbells to recumbent bikes, treadmills, and cross-trainers. The 46,000-square-foot space also features a full outdoor basketball court, 50-inch plasma TVs, and locker rooms equipped with saunas for steaming healthy bowls of broccoli.
At Reading Athletic Club, firm yet friendly trainers and modern equipment from brands such as Nautilus whip exercisers into shape. Personal trainers stage workouts in the cardio deck and weight area, packed with weight machines, treadmills, elliptical machines, and other mechanisms that foster fitness. Ladies break a sweat in the women's only section while youngsters play with babysitters. During fitness classes, instructors help boost their students’ endurance via high-energy boot camps that tighten all areas of the body or the flowing poses of yoga. After workouts, students can unwind under the soothing strokes of the center's massage therapist.
Divided between two locations in Manchester and Nashua, Vertical Dreams' 15,000 square feet of simulated mountainside are packed with obstacles and tough sections to challenge climbers of all skill levels. At the Manchester gym, gutted elevator shafts lined with hand grips extend four stories upward, creating 70-foot vertical surfaces. The Nashua location boasts 10,000 square feet of wall space, with textured surfaces that respond realistically to climber's hands and feet and fill their nostrils with simulated rock smells.
Vertical Dreams' staff of veteran climbers teaches students one-on-one or in groups. In beginner lesson packages, instructors show aspiring climbers the figurative and literal ropes involved in belaying, climbing, and knot tying, and the teachers in advanced top-roping and sport-climbing classes push their students' abilities to climb solo or in a lead position.
Visitors to Mel's Funway Park can try their hand at two 18-hole mini-golf courses before speeding and swinging their way through the go-kart track and batting cages, which feature a replica of Fenway's Green Monster and slow- and fast-pitch machines that can reach speeds of up to 85 mph. Inside, a laser plex hosts games of laser tag, while other visitors attempt the laser maze, a web of 36 lasers that participants must avoid to keep from triggering the alarm and receive their cat-burglar certification. Funway Park has also partnered with Woodman's Restaurant to recharge empty body batteries with fare from a renowned and award-winning eatery.
Film buffs across six states stare wide-eyed at large cinema screens, losing themselves in first-run Hollywood movies and the smell of fresh, buttery kernels within Your Neighborhood Theatre's 17 locations. Though all theaters prioritize comfortable seating, old-fashioned friendly service, and high-stakes preshow trivia slideshows, each location encompasses its own distinct charm, be it through arthouse décor, 3-D screens, or Rhode Island's vintage 1950's drive-in setting.