In more than 100 locations around the country, ThrillZown's staff facilitates adrenaline-filled excursions full of extreme water, air, and land adventures. Under the supervision of experts, brave souls defy gravity as they skydive, hang-glide, bungee jump, or play films of apples falling off trees in reverse. On land, crews harness the power of horses, stock cars, and snowmobiles; in the water, groups navigate whitewater rapids or explore aquatic depths as they scuba dive or surf.
As the class-A short-season affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers have prepared rising stars for the big leagues since 1999. The feisty squad has worked their way through some tough seasons in the New York-Penn League, including four appearances in the league finals and a league championship in 2004. Now entering their 15th season, the Scrappers still play their home games at Eastwood Field, which showcases a view of verdant woods and the sasquatches living in peace beyond the outfield wall for crowds of up to 6,300 fans.
Stocked with know-how and all the necessary tools, the staffers at Gone Fishin' Bait and Tackle guide fishing trips on Springfield Lake and beyond. The store equips crews with bait, lures, and fishing poles, ready to aid in an angling expedition or plucking the toupee off of a villainous middle-school vice principal. After stocking up, fishermen go solo or join up with one of Gone Fishin's guided pontoon tours that traverse sparkling waters, taking in views of the surrounding foliage.
Since 1952, North Park Batting Range has facilitated outdoor baseball training on its open-air range. In each of 10 open-air baseball cages, automated pitching machines fire balls into the strike zone at 30–80 miles per hour. Five open-air softball cages loft pitches at various speeds for batters training for slow-pitch or fast-pitch leagues. On the 18-hole, par 40 miniature golf course, family-owned and operated since 1961, flourishing shrubs, sharp corners, water hazards, hills, and windmills create obstructions for golfers.
HappyFeet founder Andy Barney boasts a lengthy resumé: the Oxford, England, native was a semipro soccer player by the age of 16, studied physical education in college, and coached youth soccer for 10 years before moving to the U.S. In America, he coached at Avila University and wrote the book Training Soccer Legends, but one day he found his extensive experience challenged by an unlikely group—preschoolers. He had agreed to spend what he thought would be an easy afternoon leading tots in a soccer workshop, only to end up exhausted yet inspired to design a curriculum specifically for younger kids.
His research eventually led to HappyFeet, where instructors play with kids aged 2–6 using a proprietary lesson plan the company dubbed “story time with a soccer ball.” Each kid receives a ball, and beyond practicing basic skills such as dribbling, striking, and autograph signing in a noncompetitive setting, the incorporation of stories, nursery rhymes, and songs enables kids to exercise both physical and mental faculties. The 45-minute indoor classes, which were reviewed by the Pittsburgh Tribune, are held onsite at preschools and sports facilities such as PISA. Little ones can also be enrolled in HappyFeet’s leagues, where a 15- to 20-minute mini class precedes a 30-minute game.
Tickets in these sections are first-come, first-serve, so book early for the best seats. Ticket-holders who arrive at 6:30 p.m. will also get to enjoy an informative hour-long discussion of the concert’s lineup of pieces and the fascinating stories behind them.
At Lakevue Athletic Club, a staff of seasoned competitors breeds a love of fitness through tennis, group exercise classes, and personal training. Atop eight indoor courts and three outdoor courts, a fleet of tennis pros enacts lessons anchored in players' strengths. They specialize in QuickStart tennis, a recently minted method of play that emphasizes building the skills and confidence of child athletes without serving them trophy-shaped pancakes for breakfast. Within the walls of an 11,000-square-foot fitness center, personal trainer Kyle Waters shepherds clients through two downstairs cardio rooms with Star Trac treadmills and several weight rooms loaded with Cybex Eagle and Hammer Strength machines. Inside two studios upstairs, health gurus conduct classes in everything from yoga to step aerobics to kickboxing.