Diving behind a stack of paint-splattered tires on the speedball field, the player catches his breath before unleashing fire on an opponent, who peeks out from behind a wooden spool. Next, they weave through brush-lined trails and take aim from lean-tos on the castle course or crawl through the tubes that throng the hyperball field. Before they commence these bouts on one of Brazos Splat Games' five fields, however, guests shield themselves in protective goggles and ready their semiautomatic markers in the netted staging area. Trained referees oversee 15- to 30-minute games that rotate through a variety of scenarios including Capture the Flag, Elimination, and Name That Rembrandt.
Sugar Land Dive Center’s store boasts scuba gear from brands such as Atomic, Oceanic and Sea Life, but their signature product is an intangible: a sense of confidence underwater. The PADI five-star dive center’s courses impart just that. After classroom-based instruction, the center’s open water instructors teach divers to breathe underwater and handle their complex gear by practicing in a pool. The program then culminates in a series of real open water dives, which result in open water certification more useful than its earlier incarnation, certification to open water that’s in an aluminum can.
Sugar Land Dive Center also teaches more specialized courses that can transform open water-certified divers into future rescue divers and PADI instructors. For a fusion of dive practice and vacation, students can also travel the world on international scuba trips, which whisk participants to locales such as Cozumel and Fiji.
The Sugar Land Ice & Sports Center conceals a chilly oasis for winter-sports fans to practice and have fun all year long, whether it's the day after Christmas or a steamy 100-degree afternoon in July. Between its two rinks, the center hosts staff-supervised public-skating sessions nearly every day in addition to a wide range of youth and adult hockey events—including practices for the former AHL champion Houston Aeros. Inside Rink A, a spacious seating area and café invites visitors to break from their icy escapades and reenergize with a snack. Also away from the ice, the onsite pro shop sharpens blades and repairs skates so clients can carve their way across rinks and the halls of imposing ice castles.
Since its founding in 1980, Sun & Ski Sports has remained true to its philosophy: “do a few things, but do them better than anybody else.” The shop stocks equipment in five categories of extreme and outdoor activities, including camping, skating, running, bicycling, and water and snow sports. It specializes in these to ensure its merchandise maintains a high standard of quality, and its employees are knowledgeable participants in the sports their department represents.
Bikers can drop off their steeds for tune-ups from certified mechanics who put all brands through the rigors of a 12-point inspection, checking chains and adjusting wobbly pedals and malfunctioning spoke-card motors. While waiting, curious eyes might linger on a North Face two-person tent, a Blackburn Airtower bicycle pump, or a vast selection of shoes from brands such as New Balance and Asics. Men and women can traipse nearly barefoot in the park with Vibram FiveFingers, which offer minimal structural encumbrances for a more natural stride, or cast their feet aside for the new-wheeled prowess that comes with a Fuji SL-1 LE Ultegra performance road bike.
At K2 Academy of Kids Sports, kids scurry around a 6,500-square-foot space filled with trampolines, balance beams, and rope swings spread beneath an overhead zipline. Accompanied by parents or legal-guardians, children can roam free across the indoor terrain during open-play hours or join gymnastics, cheerleading, and tumbling classes, in which instructors tailor lesson plans to each age group with an emphasis on fun, collaborative learning. Gymnastics sessions encompass everything from basic rolls to intricate dance routines, whereas cheerleading skills progress from simple tumbles to the ultimate inspirational challenge?making Eeyore indifferent. Tumbling pupils master cartwheels before tackling cardio training and jumps, further honing their skills in workshops and clinics designed as intensive studies of each activity.
During the off-season, day camps and summer camps keep teensy feet distracted from toppling store-window displays of fragile "Kick Me" signs. Year-round, the S.O.A.R. program tweaks the traditional gamut of classes for athletes with special needs. Using the Mother Goose Time curriculum, K2's preschool focuses on hands-on learning activities that aim to prepare children for kindergarten academically and socially.
Blanketed in wall-to-wall trampolines, Sky High Sports delights barefoot fun-seekers with springy terrain and an exclusive court for jumpers 8 and younger. Guests can hone front flips, back flips, and belly flops during intense free-bounce sessions. Each trampoline comes equipped with a specially designed spring-loaded frame and thick, 2-inch safety pads that grant patrons a landing cushier than a corner office at a marshmallow factory. Stuffed with blocks of spongy, body-molding material, a foam pit dares treasure-seekers to fling themselves in or scour its depths for the lost contents of bygone pockets. Pintsize aerialist posses can safely practice their synchronized Salchows on 360 degrees of trampoline walls while court supervisors watch from the sidelines and award hard-earned praise with oversize scorecards.
Sky High also offers AIRobics fitness classes and monthly dodge-ball tournaments to help jumpers explore the outermost stratospheres of trampoline possibilities.