Since opening with a Frank Sinatra performance in 1990, the stadium now known as Times Union Center has seen more than 15 million guests pass through its turnstiles. That’s only slightly smaller than the population of the Netherlands and roughly equal to the number of people worldwide who enjoy candy corn. Besides attracting such entertainment titans as the Rolling Stones, U2, Disney’s “On Ice” series, and the Harlem Globetrotters, the multifunction arena is also home to the AHL’s Albany Devils and college basketball’s Siena Saints.
At The Great American Diving Company, swimmers and scuba enthusiasts plunge into a 10-foot-deep, custom-built training pool heated to a balmy 85 degrees. Under the guidance of PADI-certified instructors, students in Open Water Diver classes learn to breathe and explore beneath the surface, opening the doors to continue underwater education and obtain certification or finally put to rest a fear of really big puddles. Divers can gear up for their next expedition in the shop, and the staff also leads scuba trips to diving locales.
St. Louis County Parks and Recreation awakens the active side in community members with a bevy of sites and facilities dedicated to sports, outdoor exploration, and kid-friendly fun. Families splash away the summer heat with trips to the pool at the Kennedy Recreation Complex or the St. Vincent Community Center water park, where adults can swim laps in two 25-yard lanes while tykes descend an open water slide and practice their manners at underwater tea parties. The six recreation complexes serve as hubs for everything from fitness classes to ice-skating, and offer a diverse blend of indoor and outdoor activities. For more relaxing amusement, the stewards of the parks and recreation department maintain multiple museums and historic sites as well as outdoor trails, where voyagers can get in touch with nature and add to their collection of acorns that resemble former presidents.
UMP Late Models, UMP modifieds, and three other racing models hurtle past spectators on laps around Belle-Clair Speedway's 1/5–mile dirt oval track during the two- or three-wide races held from mid-March to October. During a smattering of special events throughout the season, fans cheer on the diminutive POWRi Midgets, POWRi Micro Sprints, and pogo sticks hitched to Lamborghini engines as they whip around the track. Belle-Clair Speedway hosts promotional activities at every race, ranging from cash and T-shirt giveaways for adults to bike races for kids.
Depending on how competitive you'd like to be, there are many ways to play sports?at a clinic, in a league, in a tournament, or at a camp, for example. Stratman Sports organizes all of these for a number of different sports, including volleyball, basketball, kickball, and bags. With offerings available for both youth players and adults, the company invites every potential athlete in the greater St. Louis area out to play, regardless of their age or ability level. Locations include The Pavilion, which boasts white sand volleyball courts and an outdoor patio that allows coolers. The staff also specializes in making custom apparel and accessories. They can create uniforms, logos, and other wearable items, meaning that athletes no longer need to play skins vs. rain ponchos.
A creature with roots in Native American lore, the Piasa bird has survived antiquity in large part due to etchings found on limestone bluffs throughout Illinois. Under the banner of the mythical predator— most depictions lend it reptilian claws, fish-like scales, and mammalian fangs—the Illinois Piasa charge onto the field against Professional Arena Soccer League foes, stopping just short of actually eating their opponents. Founded in 1998, the PASL consists of 19 indoor-soccer squads throughout the United States; upon their league debut in the 2010–11 season, the Piasa won the Pro Frontier Division with a 9–3 record.