PacPlex dedicates its sprawling 200,000-square-foot facilities to sports, recreation, health, and education. At PacPlex, patrons can whip into shape in a TV-studded cardio-equipment area, on myriad weight machines, and throughout a schedule of fitness classes. The instructors lead kettlebell courses, Pilates core-strengthening workouts, and pool-aquatics classes, which help guests perfect their sea otter mating calls. Visitors flock to the vast grounds to work their bodies on racquetball courts, basketball courts, and an 18,000-square-foot indoor soccer field. At the two indoor and four outdoor swimming pools, guests can take a leisurely swim, play with water toys, and shoot down waterslides, or work on sculpting a chiseled bod by swimming laps.
Kids can take swimming lessons, and, for those who discover a hidden set of gills behind their ears, the staff also runs a junior swim league. When they're not splashing in the pool, kids can make new imaginary friends in preschool and daycare programs.
The more than a dozen brick-and-mortar locations that make up Ultimate Champions Taekwondo Association share not only a style of combat, but a teaching philosophy as well. Tracing the lineage of their combative art back to Grandmaster Sang K. Oh, the instructors adhere to his teachings, exemplified by the quote, "The person who can defeat others with flashy techniques but is without love toward his fellow man will in the end defeat himself." Students use the physical empowerment of mastering jumps, kicks, and weapons to arm themselves with discipline, confidence, concentration, self-respect, and courtesy for others.
Outside of the classroom, the organization reaches out to the tri-state community with ample demonstrations of some of their most exciting techniques. Practitioners soar skyward in flying kicks or fill the air with the whirring blows of nunchakus, bos, and kamas. Fists slam through boards, balloons, and bricks to demonstrate the striking power of tae kwon do and the structural flaws in the Three Little Pigs' panic room.
Leading more than 30 bike tours across the nation, the cycling enthusiasts at Bike and Roll fuel a passion for healthy, eco-friendly transportation via guided tours and self-guided rides atop rental bikes. Their fleet of two-wheelers stakes a claim to Trek bicycles—the same brand that propelled Lance Armstrong to victory—and other recreation, transportation, road, and children's bikes. Riders can pedal behind a guide during the Ride 'Round Manhattan tour, which circles the Statue of Liberty and the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial before cruising along the Harlem River bike path. More adventurous cyclists can board rental cycles on their own and confer with free maps to conduct a jaunt across the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges while drinking in the skyline and making Waldo spottings along the river. Bike and Roll also outfits patrons with other specialty transportation, such as in-line skates, segways, and magic carpets programmed to swing past the tops of only historic buildings.:m]]
Originally a whimsical children's book, and later a popular Disney film, the Broadway stage production of Mary Poppins administers a sugar-spooned dose of dancing chimney sweeps and aerial stunts to audiences on its national tour. Unlike some English nannies who instill discipline with a stiff upper lip and an even stiffer pitchfork, Mary Poppins teaches children with a kinder, albeit unorthodox, arsenal of happy work songs and bottomless carpetbags. Welsh native Caroline Sheen brings the practically-perfect-in-every-way babysitter to life in a nearly three-hour (including intermission) Disney dance-tacular that combines favorite movie songs with all-new numbers and forgotten scenes.
Since opening in 1981, Rochester Fencing Club has produced two world-champion fencers and a slew of prodigious Olympian qualifiers, including five members on the 1996 team, four on the 2000 team, and one on the 2008 team. Two of those Olympians, sisters Iris and Felicia Zimmermann, have returned to the facilities as co-owners and instructors. Iris?s fencing aptitude has earned her a position as the president of the Stanford Fencing Association, while Felicia?s fencing prowess?she was the first and only woman to win the NCAA championship in both foil and ?p?e?remains unrivaled despite rumors that rhinoceroses will now be allowed to compete. Continuing the club?s tradition of excellence, the staff cultivates talent among young fencers in summer camps and classes of all levels. Two-hour birthday parties teach kids fencing basics, followed by an hour of frenzied birthday-cake consumption and duels with pi?atas.
Concealed by glowing dividers, combatants creep along the AstroTurf, hunting for a clear shot at an opponent's battle suit. Inside the 6,900-square-foot arena?one of the largest in Syracuse?lasers, black lights, and shadowy corners call to mind a real-life video game or a haunted discotheque. Skirmishes typically run for 15 minutes, pitting the red team and the green team against each other in a tactical contest. During cease-fires, laser combatants can fire quarters into an assortment of arcade games.