With three floors of interactive exhibits, Imagine Nation keeps tykes aged 2–10 and their parents engaged for hours of synapse-firing fun. Tunnels filled with natural decor await youngsters in the museum's indoor jungle-themed playscape, where they can shake excess energy out of their bounding legs in preparation for naptime or hibernation season. In the ESPN center, kids can pretend to be sportscasters as they sit behind the desk of a model TV set, replete with real equipment from the Worldwide Leader in Sports.
The museum also boasts a health exhibit in which children can don hospital attire and explore a model newborn nursery and an operation table, ideal for parents trying to nudge their child toward a career as a hypochondriac. After whippersnapper's minds have been blown learning about the cosmos at the space exhibit, they can unwind with drinks and snacks at the old-fashioned soda fountain, which winds the clock back to the 1940s with the help of a player piano.
Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates with INSANITY routines. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
At each bowling center, balls hurtle down smooth, polished lanes as LCD screens keep track of scores and shimmering party lights illuminate the faces of determined bowlers. After lacing up some slide-enabling shoes and clearing the gutters of deciduous pins, bowlers set their sights on toppling 10-pin clusters. Carpets bedecked with psychedelic swirls lead to shelves stocked with neon-colored balls, which proffer their pin-busting talents to bowlers of various sizes. Fingers can warm up by mashing buttons in an arcade full of entrancing video games or bench-pressing french fries at the onsite grill and pub.
Pequabuck Golf Club traces its origins back to 1902, when it welcomed its first fairway explorers as a 5-hole course. After surviving the putter shortage of the Great Depression, the verdant grounds underwent a massive redesign by renowned golf-course architect and author Geoffrey St. John Cornish, who dreamt up more than 200 courses and was reincarnated as a golf cart now free to graze the land.
Under Cornish’s talented eye, Pequabuck became an 18-hole course that incorporates the rustic beauty of nature as its challenging terrain. The course takes golfers on a tee-to-green journey across its mature pine forest, over the Bristol Reservoir that runs through its fairways, and past the railroad tracks that drop off vagabond caddies on two fairways.
After conquering the 18th hole, golfers can head to the clubhouse for casual fare and drinks at The Pequabuck Pub, which features an outdoor patio with views overlooking the course.
Course at a Glance:
When Solomon Stein and Harry Goldstein of Brooklyn. N.Y.'s Artistic Carousel Company completed the Bushnell Park Carousel in 1914, they channeled the Coney Island-style of carving that made the boardwalk's rides unique. Adorned with large, wide-eye horses, the carousel also sported big cabbage roses, fish scales, and buckles.
Today, the New England Carousel Museum manages the structure, making it one of the few remaining antique wooden carousels still operating in the country. Set in Bushnell Park, this carousel houses 48 hand-carved wooden horses, 36 jumper horses, 12 stander horses, and two chariots that revolve around a Wurlitzer band organ. The historic piece is one part of the New England Carousel Museum's larger mission to acquire and restore old-fashioned carousels and carousel memorabilia to educate the public on these vintage treasures. The museum also hosts educational programs for families that can include visits from collectors of other pieces of Americana such as quilts, dolls, and perfectly preserved 1890s-era hot dogs.
American Clock & Watch Museum’s staff and visitors never have to worry about keeping track of time. Inside a Federal-style home originally built in 1801, curators display more than 1,500 clocks and watches from a collection of more than 5,500, making it one of the largest in the world behind the legion of wristwatches glued together to form Big Ben. Guest curators showcase timepieces from different eras and manufacturers, from antique clocks to art deco accessories made in the Jazz era. Visitors can admire clock maintenance in action on the first and third Friday of each month when the “Ol’ Cranks” wind more than 70 of the museum's historic items. Visitors can also learn more about their own antique treasures by consulting with the museum staff during scheduled evaluation events.