Happy shouts from climbers to their belay partners. The cool scent of pool water. Center of Clayton bustles with activities of all sorts, all fueled by the equipment and athletic facilities filling the 149,000-square-foot complex. At the Center's aquatic center, swimmers freestyle along the 25-yard lanes of the competition pool, plunge down a curvy water slide at the leisure pool, or let back-massaging jets knead muscles in the hot tub. A 31-foot climbing wall awaits grappling hands and probing feet to ascend the colorful holds, and the safety offered by top-rope style harnesses encourages climbers to try out particularly challenging routes or overly familiar nicknames for boulders.
Before sweating through fitness classes or pickup basketball games, parents can drop youngsters ages 6–13 off at the youth activity center. There, kids stay active with Nintendo Wii fitness games and equipment, and supervisors arbitrate disputes about whose father can actually beat up Batman. To further streamline the process of working out, locker rooms, towel service, and a food court with a Subway and a café allow patrons to stop in while running errands or on lunch.
Two professional-size rinks and one Olympic-size ice rink occupy the 115,000 square feet of Hardee's Iceplex, which frequently hosts events such as USA speed skating and hockey tournaments. They open the rinks for public skating sessions and events such as figure skating, lessons, and hockey leagues for adults and children. The facilities contain ample rooms for parties and corporate events, the Summit Grille, the True Blue Authentic Team Store, and CrossFit Ice.
Open year-round, Kirkwood Ice Skating Rink plays host to public skating sessions, lessons, and hockey games for fledgling wintertime athletes. The rink bathes in natural light, which pours through translucent panels to illuminate and spotlight skaters as they make their elliptical loops. Just beyond the rink's edge, a concession area serves hot eats worthy of consumption in the adjacent, fireplace-equipped warming area. A jam-packed monthly schedule details one-and-a-half and two-hour public skating sessions seven days a week, allowing skaters to get their icy fix regardless of conflicting guitar lessons or power lunches with dapper climatologists.
Blue. Yellow. Green. Purple. These colors rain down from the ceiling at Great Skate Roller Rink, bouncing off of the disco ball and darting over the wide-open floor. The kaleidoscopic beams illuminate skaters of all ages, some strolling side by side, some cruising solo, and some shouting "Look no hands!" before realizing the emptiness of that boast. There's off-rink fun too, with arcades and a concession stand for guests in need of a breather. The rink also plays host to roller hockey games as well as skating competitions and lessons.
St. Louis County Parks and Recreation awakens the active side in community members with a bevy of sites and facilities dedicated to sports, outdoor exploration, and kid-friendly fun. Families splash away the summer heat with trips to the pool at the Kennedy Recreation Complex or the St. Vincent Community Center water park, where adults can swim laps in two 25-yard lanes while tykes descend an open water slide and practice their manners at underwater tea parties. The six recreation complexes serve as hubs for everything from fitness classes to ice-skating, and offer a diverse blend of indoor and outdoor activities. For more relaxing amusement, the stewards of the parks and recreation department maintain multiple museums and historic sites as well as outdoor trails, where voyagers can get in touch with nature and add to their collection of acorns that resemble former presidents.
Since swinging open its doors in 1965, Rock Roll-O-Rena has provided a safe hub for lacing up and rolling around or simply kicking back with friends and family. Second-generation owners Glen and Jo Donna Neifert keep the facility in top shape, sending skaters gliding across the hard maple floor as speakers shell out top 40 tunes.
Off the rink, bleacher seating, a fully stocked concession stand, and arcade games divert attention from unhip physicists lecturing skaters on centripetal force, and air conditioning maintains a cooler atmosphere during the summer months. Dedicated to keeping the community strong, Rock Roll-O-Rena also offers a strong incentive for youngsters to keep up their grades, trading a discount pass for each A on a report card not earned by staining it with alphabet soup.