With a baseball training academy led by MLB player Jack Cust and a softball training center led by Olympian Jennie Finch, Diamond Nation hosts a staff of professional players and coaches who cull their collective NCAA, MLB, and Olympic experience to refine the hitting, pitching, and fielding skills of burgeoning legends. The Jack Cust Baseball Academy and Jennie Finch Softball Academy share a well-equipped space and employ staffers who personalize player instruction.
Adrenaline-pumping fitness and thrilling combat come together in Rising Star Fencing Academy's classes. The United States Fencing Association-member studio's lessons are suited to children as young as 6, and every level teaches creative strategy as it hones stamina, agility, and mental discipline. On a long, rectangular dueling area, coaches and students practice the complex foot- and hand-work for all three fencing styles—foil, sabre, and epee—all using the traditional scoring system. This intensive training is possible, in part, because of the academy's rigorous adherence to safety standards: all students are outfitted with a steel mesh mask and clothed in standard-issue force fields.
BAM Social Sports assembles co-ed teams of athletes aged 21 and older for regular battle in recreational games throughout northern and central New Jersey. The network's friendship-fueled leagues span a wide range of sports, including basketball, soccer, softball, and bowling, and excluding hamster racing. After games, players can retire to local sponsor bars, where discounts on food and drink help celebrate victories or fuel mournful food fights.
As baseball season draws to an end, and the Newark Bears empty their lockers, specters hiding in the mist materialize to transform Riverfront ballpark into the Stadium of Screams. Daring explorers of the unexplained can traverse through the seasonally haunted attractions, which include haunted locker rooms, where undead actors lie in wait, ready to terrify unsuspecting visitors, and bubbling cauldrons brewing viscous vats of Gatorade. Just beyond the cursed confines, shrieks of terror become shrieks of glee at the Stadium of Screams Fun Zone. Visitors can participate in a free nightly treasure hunt, or spend up to $1 on prize-riddled amusement park games. Costumed actors greet guests for photos and stage fear tastings from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. and again from 11 p.m. to midnight. Although not included in the price of this Groupon, a hayride ($5) is available to tote guests around the baseball field, granting sublime views of the night sky and an eerily moonlit home plate.
Gamers Baseball Academy busts summer’s monopoly on the game, giving athletes an indoor, year-round destination where they can learn the ins and outs of both baseball and softball from a crack staff of college coaches, professional athletes, and college players. The 10,000-square-foot facility nurtures players with its collection of hitting and pitching tunnels, batting cages, defense areas, and a changing room for molting mascots.
Gamers Baseball Academy can adapt to meet the training needs of each individual boy and girl or an entire squad. Athletes can then put their newfound skills to work on the academy’s own baseball and softball teams to recreate the live games’ speeds and intricacies no matter the month.
Equipment: Kettlebells, dumbbells, bands, battling ropes, medicine balls
Students should bring: Bottle of water, towel, comfortable workout cloths
Average class length: 30-60 minutes
Number of Staff: 1–5 people
Class location: Indoors only
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Free street parking
Pro Tip: Just show up ready to train. It's our job to get you in the best shape of your life.