The slaps of hockey pucks and scrapes of carving ice skates constantly fill the cool air of Suburban Ice arena. These familiar sounds emanate from high school hockey practices, the rink's figure skating ice shows, or introductory Learn to Skate classes offered for beginners of all ages. Though the rink keeps a busy calendar, it still carves out time for private and small group lessons. Lessons are offered for figure skating as well as the hockey, which teach checking, shooting, and power skating—all skills that also translate well to surviving an unforeseen ice age.
The boundaries of children's imaginations expand like a sun on the horizon at the Flint Children's Museum, a creative learning space with more than 40 exhibits. The show-stopping stations are designed to engage tykes of every learning type, whether they figure out their world by experimenting, watching, hearing, or even climbing. At the Discovery Zone, kids explore environments such as the rainforest or outer space by scampering about kid-sized replicas. They get a lesson in cause and effect at the "How Things Work" section by building bridges, and try their green thumbs at urban horticulture in the Sproutside outdoor learning area. While older kids cavort about, their toddling counterparts, ages three and under, can head to the cozy Tot Spot to play with age-appropriate toys.
Established in 1959, Chelsea Lanes combines old-school charms with the modern convenience of smooth, polished lanes and automatic scoring. The lanes, which remain open until midnight on Friday and Saturday, also play host to leagues, birthday parties, and glow-bowling sessions, during which music videos and light shows cause the alley to sparkle like a disco ball at a paparazzi dance party.
Founded five years ago, the Battle Creek Bombers have already shown their mettle, earning the title of 2011 Northwoods League Champions in 2011. The Northwoods League, one of the nation’s most competitive collegiate summer leagues, offers its top-caliber players minor league internships without jeopardizing their college careers. This season, the Bombers hope to conquer their league again and send more of its players to the MLB, having already done so for alumnus Tony Sanchez, who was the fourth pick in the 2009 draft. Led by Daniel Rockett, their top 2011 scorer with 46 runs and 43 RBIs, the team will surely spend this season launching home runs without the help of covert trebuchets.
While the players focus on the game, their mosquito mascot, Mo-Skeeter, mingles with roaring crowds in the Bomber’s home venue, C.O. Brown Stadium. Patrons can look on from general seating or opt for the more luxurious HBC fan-deck seats, where panoramic views complement an included all-you-can-eat feast with draft beer and hot dogs.
The 20-acre Salvation Army Kroc Center provides a diverse array of community services, ranging from fitness and recreation to worship. In the fitness center, visitors can take advantage of equipment such as free weights and cardio and strength-training machines. The facilities include a two-court gym and an aquatics center, replete with a pool, hot tub, and water slide. The center also houses The Salvation Army Kroc Church, which hosts bilingual services each Sunday.
Stay & Play Social Club reunites adults with their younger selves with recreational sports leagues offered year-round. Players leave the daily grind behind at Stay & Play's summer events, which include volleyball, flag-football, and kickball leagues. Come winter, competitors wander indoors for bowling, euchre, and dodgeball. After each match or game, participants are welcome to migrate to a local pub for drink and pub-fare specials provided by the social club or to train for the future of extreme dodgeball using full pint glasses. Stay & Play's funseekers also foster a healthy community, sponsoring local charities and participating in cancer-awareness races.