In the open countryside of the town of Sparta stands a red-brick, 17,000-square-foot training facility. Inside are not the Greek warriors of legend but the sporting heroes of tomorrow, still growing into their uniforms. At DreamField Sports, developing athletes train year-round to unveil their inner champion. The facility houses a spacious, brightly lit indoor field that allows for air-conditioned versions of outdoor sports, including football, baseball, softball, and soccer. The enormous field also divides via retractable curtains or is lifted by a troop of dislocated circus strongmen to reveal polished hardwood basketball and volleyball courts. Away from the courts, waiting areas with flat-screen televisions let parents catch up on the local news when they're not looking in on the training sessions through large windows. Each session is led by a group of experienced coaches, many of whom lived former lives as professional athletes and some of whom train current professional and Olympic athletes. Not only do these gurus provide technical instruction, they also encourage positive attitudes and fair sportsmanship and instill the confidence necessary to enter the Indy 500 on roller skates.
Perhaps it’s their diverse backgrounds—a former D1 college assistant baseball coach with a master's in physical education, a sports-psychology counselor and fitness trainer, and an amateur baseball leaguer—that make the coaches at Pitch by Pitch All Sports Camps open to such a wide variety of athletics. Their weeklong camps embody everything from baseball, soccer, and tennis to less regimented sports such as floor hockey and Capture the Flag. Through drills, games, and relays, coaches teach young campers how to command the field with confidence, while still displaying good sportsmanship. And since it all happens at Congers Lake Memorial Park, full-day campers can spend their lunch breaks swimming in the community pool, playing in the game room, or fishing for their lunch in the lake itself.
The mirth-mages at The Sports Place blend mini golf, batting cages, basketball courts, inflatable playgrounds, and frozen treats into an eldritch brew of family-friendly fun. The GloPutt mini-golf course comes packed with motorized obstacles designed to light up the faces and giggleplexes of any child. Tiny Ted Williamses can test their mettle in one of 17 hardball and softball batting cages, while dribbling kings can preside over two full basketball courts. With no limit on the number of players, the entire family can partake in games of P.I.G., H.O.R.S.E., or B.L.U.E.-F.O.O.T.E.D. B.O.O.B.Y. Meanwhile, the inflatable playground, open Tuesday through Sunday, provides amateur acrobats with space to flip and tumble, dive down mega-slides, and scale slumbering dragons.
Home to the state's largest freestanding bouldering island, New Jersey Rock Gym houses 12,000 square feet of vertical terrain to climb as well as 41 top roping stations. Armed with either day passes or membership, guests scamper up the gym's synthetic summits, hoping to ask questions of the learned ceiling light sequestered at the top of the mountain. While gear is included with some membership options, guests can opt to bring their own materials or rent the individual shoes ($5), harnesses ($4), or chalk bags ($2) they need from the pro shop. New Jersey Rock Gym offers a collection of educational course work in the vertical arts, teaching belay technique to beginners or advanced skills to adults. Children can also take advantage of youth climbing programs, mini camps, and birthday parties before retiring to private refreshment chambers to absorb bottles of electrolyte-infused refreshment. The nearby pro shop outfits climbers with name-brand gear for purchase, while a WiFi lounge transmits terabytes of data into nearby electronic devices or unsecured cyborg brains.
As a part of the Spotlight Theatres family, Majestic Cinema 7 calls out to cinephiles of all stripes with its oversize radiant sign, luring passersby to a red lobby and a row of glowing movie posters. Inside the venue’s seven theaters, first-run movies jump out at audiences from screens equipped with 3-D capabilities. The concessions counter mutes chatty mouths with a variety of snacks and lullabies guests who can only sleep to the sound of popping popcorn. Majestic Cinema 7’s gift certificates and group discounts encourage bonding with family and friends.
The nine outdoor paintball fields at Battle Creek Outdoor Paintball Fields turn players’ adventure fantasies into reality. Each has its own terrain, obstacles, and atmosphere to transport competitors into new worlds. In James Town, players can duck into the remains of abandoned buildings to take cover from incoming paint pellets like Jesse James once did, and they can climb the Junkyard's towers of tires or perch atop large spools to take aim at approaching opponents. Players must decide whether to be good or evil in The Fortress, either defending the fortress-like structure’s honor or attempting to conquer it and vanquish their opponents. Fantastic narratives aside, those seeking regulation-style play can face off in The Woods and Speedball fields.