National Sports Center is one of the few places in the world where you can step from verdant fields onto stretches of ice. Eight ice arenas?four Olympic-sized, four NHL-sized?comprise more than 148,000 square feet inside the Schwan Super Rink. And as for the fields? The National Sports Center was originally conceived as a soccer complex, and it still boasts 52 fields. The Guinness Book of World Records has certified National Sports Center as the largest soccer complex on earth.
Hockey and soccer still only make up a small portion of the sports that are playable at the center. Those same soccer fields might host rugby on one day, lacrosse on another, and ultimate disc the following week, provided the discs have not flown south for the winter. The ice rink might host figure skaters as well as broomball teams. At the center's outdoor cycling velodrome, brake-free bikes race each other along a canted track, thrilling crowds every Thursday from late May to September. And of course, there's the Victory Links Golf Course, a 400-acre expanse that's home to an 18-hole championship course, a grass driving range, and an 18-hole bent-grass putting course. Players of all stripes can sign up for leagues and lessons in their favorite sport, or check out everything from expos to fitness classes on the calendar of events.
Though they've only been leading paddling tours for a few years, the certified guides of Stand Up MN have already helped thousands of people explore the Twin Cities' local waterways up close. After equipping their guests with standup paddleboards, personal flotation devices, and ample training, they embark on trips along the quiet stretch of the Mississippi River that cuts through their urban landscape.
From St. Paul, groups glide under bridges and pass idyllic natural areas—and from Minneapolis, they can take a break from paddling to high-five low-flying birds from a rope swing over the water. Stand Up MN also leads extended paddling tours to Taylors Falls, where state parks and tumbling waterfalls abound. These excursions are complemented by the company's special events, which include speed-dating events at which participants spend most of the time hanging out while paddleboarding.
Gander Mountain Academy updates its lessons in gun safety, handling, and marksmanship with virtual shooting technology that was once only available to military and law-enforcement agencies. The ladies-only basic fundamentals class gives women a foundation in the mechanics of handguns and how to use them safely. Students start by winnowing down the right type of gun for their needs, be they self-defense, hunting, or reclaiming the garage from infestations of gremlins. Next, instructors with callused trigger fingers explain the safety rules of handguns, compare ammunition options, and demonstrate proper grip, stance, and trigger control.
It's hard to imagine a better location for a waterpark resort than on the banks of Lake Superior—the world's largest freshwater lake. Edgewater Resort and Waterpark has one of the biggest indoor waterparks around, filling 20,000 square feet with 4.5-story slides and a vortex pool. There's an outdoor heated pool overlooking the lake and even a shallow water section in the park's toddler-friendly playground, which has a 300-gallon splashdown every few minutes. Adjacent to the waterpark at the Edgewater Resort's arcade, there are more than 40 games, including Big Bass Wheel and Filibuster Fun. You'll also find the nine-hole mini-golf course here as well as a variety of regularly scheduled crafts and events such as sailboat races. Back in the rooms, amenities range from lake-view balconies to fireplaces to whirlpool hot tubs. Edgewater Resort and Waterpark features two restaurants that serve kid-approved burgers and pizza. You can also hop on the complimentary shuttle to check out some local eateries in Duluth, known for its maritime museum, freshwater aquarium, and for being the birthplace of fourth-place Olympic curler Chris Plys.
Named one of 2012's top 100 five-star bicycle retailers in the United States by Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, Penn Cycle and Fitness has helped its customers enjoy smooth cycling for more than 57 years. From spare parts to automobile racks, the shop carries a large assortment of bike-riding gear for casual and serious excursions, while also offering repairs. During repair classes, the staff imparts its knowledge of bicycle mechanics onto pupils, who walk away from the 90-minute sessions with the ability to adjust brakes, fix faulty chains, and provide other other helpful bike-related tips to make sure you learn how to take great care of your bike.
The Director of Instruction at Edinburgh USA Golf Academy and PGA-certified instructor Adam Guili teaches swing-honing wisdom and results-oriented practice techniques accrued through a 14-year teaching career. Adam’s teaching philosophy is based on the notion that a sound short game and a simple golf swing are crucial to achieving success on the course, and he helps golfers develop a tension-free motion. During lessons, Adam can address any on-course concern, such as how to add length to drives or how to extract shirttails from ball washers.