When Malcolm and Mandy Sim welcomed two children into the world, the veterans of both the animation and theme-park industries visited numerous indoor play centers in Los Angeles, hoping to find the one that best suited their kids. Nothing quite clicked, however, which inspired the parents to call upon their entertainment backgrounds and develop their own indoor facility. Since relocating to the Boston area, the Sims have opened Jam Time, where youngsters ages 3 months to 6 years can surmount climbing structures, leap about in a bounce house, or shop in a pretend grocery market before whipping up faux soufflés in the playhouse kitchen. Classroom sessions further engage tykes with art projects, science classes, and princess-etiquette lessons, where young ladies learn to detect whether evil witches have booby-trapped their science projects. Soft play toys engage visiting toddlers and infants, while adults surf free WiFi, sip gourmet coffee, or enjoy a treat from the organic snack bar.
At Paint 'n Pour, students must be careful not to mistake their red paintbrush's rinsing cup for a glass of pinot noir. That’s because though all ages are welcome, adults can bring their own alcoholic beverages to the studio, toasting to each other’s progress as they learn to recreate existing paintings during two- to three-hour classes. Throughout each session, instructors impart the techniques to form impressionistic cherry blossoms, Fenway Park lit up at night, or Van Gogh’s swirling stars. The specific piece to recreate changes throughout the week, and regular open painting sessions allow guests to use Paint ‘n Pour’s canvases and paints to create their own original pieces at their own pace. The studio also hosts private events and kids’ parties, which include plenty of time for eating cake and removing the papier-mâché bust of the host used to wrap every present.
The licensed instructors at Noble AirVentures LLC build bridges into the sky for aspiring aviators through programs that range from introductory flights to pilot-certification courses. Students learn to confidently take off, land, and bank at the helm of a Cessna 172 aircraft, each carrying modern avionics equipment and rigorously inspected to exceed FAA safety standards. When not teaching new generations of pilots, the team takes passengers aloft on photo flights, which give professional and amateur photographers the chance to capture images of the Boston skyline and Fenway Park or produce an accurate answer key to this year's corn maze.
Equipment: AWMA, Century, Everlast, Thaismai, Masterline
Students should bring: Loose fitting long pants, t-shirt, bottle of water
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Average class length: 60-90 minutes
Number of Staff: 1–5 people
Class location: Indoors only
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Pro Tip: You don't need to get ready to begin training. Just start.
Nestled within 164 acres of mature pine trees and hardwood forest, the secluded golf course at Quail Ridge Country Club surrounds visitors in natural splendor. Course architect Mark Mungeam of Cornish, Silva, and Mungeam, Inc., designed the fairways to harmonize with the naturally rolling terrain, where occasional stone walls line the edges of what were once farmers’ fields. After teeing off, players choose carefully among their bag’s fairway woods, long irons, and golf-ball-sized blowguns as they confront a number-one handicap first hole whose fairway unfurls over nearly 600 uphill yards. The course doesn’t let up, keeping golfers on their toes right up to the end of each round.
Off the course, players gain the skills needed to meet such challenges by frequenting the chipping area or practice putting green. During lessons held in these practice spots, head teaching pro John Carco harnesses more than 15 years of experience to help students eliminate slice and perfect their swing. The country club’s family center hosts a snack bar where golfers can fuel up for a round, stash their belongings in lockers, or build ball-driving muscles at the fitness center.
Just a hop and a skip from the family center, the club’s 3,200-square-foot outdoor pool entices visitors of all stripes with its widely varied facilities. Athletes zip down 75-foot swim lanes, parents and kids splash in a baby pool with zero-grade entry, and sunbathers bask on more than 4,500 square feet of deck. On four adjacent tennis courts, serves rebound off of Har-Tru clay surfaces, and windscreens keep out distracting breezes and lost pool-goers murmuring "Marco?"
Course at a Glance:
A Mass Tour Card grants golfers one round of golf at each of ten Massachusetts courses. Golfers must pay the cart fee at each course, after which they can steer their electric steed through the forested charm of The Foxborough Country Club's course or over the rustic covered bridge at Maplegate Country Club. Quail Ridge Country Club's course takes golfers through scenic conservation land and stone relics of its previous life as a farm.
Bradford Country Club's difficult, par 70 layout tests putting strokes with smooth bentgrass greens, while The Stattuck course winds through the granite foothills of Mt. Monadnock. Norwood Country Club, meanwhiile, invites players to smash shots and stare down flagsticks across 6,009 yards of relatively flat terrain with medium-sized greens.