Grandmaster Dennis Tosten founded the first Amerikick in 1967 and has since taught several champion fighters, police officers, and everyday students karate and self-defense. Today, the lauded chain teaches fitness classes inspired by martial arts, including cardio kickboxing in six states. Each location upholds a curriculum that blends Chinese and Japanese martial-arts styles—including kenpo and tae kwon do—with modern self-defense strategies, further updating traditional practices by eschewing uniforms and belts for casual workout gear. Having attained certification in teaching kickboxing from the National Association of Professional Martial Artists, Amerikick's seasoned instructors also each possess black belts in karate, a rank as difficult to attain as the snake charmer's belt of live cobras.
The Yoga Sanctuary's impassioned instructors helm an extensive array of classes that cater to varying skill levels and yogic interests. Tasked with centering minds and corralling stampeding thoughts, Hatha sessions indulge arching limbs with a gentler yoga style that bolsters stamina and mindful concentration. Vinyasa classes enlist a dynamic series of fluid transitions that integrate measured breaths, crafting an invigorating sequence of poses that flows with the grace of a waterfall in zero gravity. Throughout the kinesthetic symphony of Ashtanga yoga's intensive regimen, the style's Primary Series of poses sculpts lithe limbs with powerful postures that hone the strength and flexibility needed to arm wrestle an octopus.
The Igloo Ice Rink at Mount Laurel furnishes hockey players and figure skaters with ample space to practice puck handling, triple-toe loops, and all-around skating technique. Figure skaters as young as 3 can learn the basics in group and private lessons led by USFSA-registered coaches, who guide beginners along their journey through intermediate and advanced levels. Hockey leagues for both juniors and adults are also available, and designated open skate times invite the public in for taking laps around the rink or practice carving marriage proposals into frozen ponds.
Beyond its roaring arcade and indoor amusement park, The Funplex decrees that 8,000 of its 100,000-square-foot kingdom be annexed to the Realm where fantasy game MagiQuest disperses Magis on heroic adventurers through an interactive and spellbinding semivirtual lair. Carefully choose your Magi alias and grab your secret-yielding loaner wand (a $2 value) before embarking on a fantastical adventure filled with distinguished wizards, enchanting pixies, and cunning dragons. Seasoned with mystical spells and motion sensors, wands respond to trees, mountains, and flat screens sprinkled throughout the Realm, sharing clues so Magi can complete honorable tasks or surprise wicked goblins with an unexpected hug. With unlimited play (a $14.95 value), Magis can entreat the hours to swallow them into the transformative wormhole of role-playing bliss.
Hearty helpings abound at Pirone's, where chefs construct a sizeable menu of steaks, seafood, pizzas, and other traditional Italian specialties. As the dinner curtain rises, feast your eyes and your lips upon an opening number of fried calamari ($11) or mussels marinara ($10) before moving on to sing the praises of a tender, boneless chicken cacciatore ($17) backed by peppers and onions, and simmering in a marinara mushroom sauce. Waiters cart plates of meat- or cheese-tortellini alfredo ($16), chosen from among more than 22 pasta picks that range from traditional spaghetti with meatballs ($22) to an eggplant-topped baked ziti ($16). Meal-goers can appease meaty appetites with a mushroom-infused veal marsala ($19) or a thick-cut steak à la Pirone ($21) topped with mushrooms, provolone, shrimp, sherry sauce, and a miniature model of the restaurant, and those who prefer sliceable sustenance can snack on a sliver of spinach-and-ricotta pizza ($8–$17) or divide a mini calzone ($7) into five mini-er calzones.
Mount Laurel's close proximity to Philadelphia—just about 10 miles away—provides easy access to a bevy of urban activities in the City of Brotherly Love. Closer to The Hotel ML, visitors can find numerous parks rife with woodsy scenery ideal for hiking, fishing, and staging solo renditions of Little Red Riding Hood. The town's historical background, dating back to America's colonial days, manifests in Revolutionary War landmarks, such as the General Clinton House, a campground for troops marching from Philadelphia. Numerous local malls and shopping centers lend a contemporary touch to the historic landscape.Thought The Hotel ML offers some discount packages through the end of the year online, this Groupon is valid through March and still offers the best deal available.