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.
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.
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.
Sneaking up the ridge, the players prepare to storm the multilevel Castle Anthrax, a wooden fortress where defenders lurk in its 20,000-square-foot interior and ready their counterattack. The castle is one of seven outdoor playing fields at AG Paintball, which has been featured on WMUR's "New Hampshire Chronicle." Amid forest terrain, participants duck into huts, snipe opponents from behind paint-splattered barrels, and trick the guard sphinxes into unveiling one of the multiple entrances to the Octagon. Updated annually with new fields, the facility hosts both novice and experienced players and matches those of equal experience and skill for games in varying styles of play. After their bouts, guests can restock supplies in the pro shop, commission repairs from the onsite gunsmith, or grill some burgers in the covered patio area, where those 21 and older can also enjoy BYOB privileges once all gear is returned.