It’s only 5 kilometers long, but the Zombie Survival Dash, as the name might suggest, is a bit more than the average run. As runners tagged with timing chips for tracking, placement, and action shots make their way toward the finish line, they're also equipped with three flags representing their health. Meanwhile, the course's stretch is littered with both traditional obstacles and costumed zombies who block, stumble, and chase runners and attempt to steal their health flags.
All the while, spectators look on, as every half hour a wave of 300 survivors is unleashed upon the course. Then, spectators, survivors, and zombies retire hand-in-hand to an all-day after party with live music and entertainment, just like at the end of a real zombie movie. Vendors dispense food and drink as partiers participate in zombie-themed fair activities such as faux-grenade tosses and body-bag drags.
On a normal day at Climb So iLL, climbers scale a giant eyeball, a purple elephant, and a giant tulip reaching toward the sky. These structures, inspired by Lewis Carroll and created by an architectural firm, reflect the gym’s unique aesthetic and a whimsical vision. The walls range in color from slate gray to bright purple, and accent lighting adds to snaking mezzanine levels and a well-stocked pro shop. The gym's modern design, which includes countertops and shop displays crafted from bamboo and recycled car hoods, blends into the original brick interior of the old power plant—from which designers salvaged steel and other debris to fashion the interior.
On each guest's first visit, a staff member escorts them around the facility to get them acquainted with safety protocol. Climbers scale 40 top ropes hung down from walls reaching up to 55 feet, along with smooth angles and overhangs across varied bouldering terrain. In a members-only 24-hour training zone open to all climbers during the day, they can practice navigating small overhangs and other problems. On-site personal trainers and instructors also help hone skill and movement techniques through basic belaying and lead climbing classes. An accredited route-setting team regularly tampers with the gym's routes to keep climbers alert and extra gecko-like. An advanced ventilation system circulates and cools the air by maintaining a constant indoor pressure, and tall windows and skylights keep vertical pathways well-lit.
A collaboration between Gold's Gym, Title Boxing Club, local cycling studio St. Louis Spinning, and cavernous climbing gym Upper Limits, Bring the Heat poses a challenge that demands unwavering endurance and focus. From the starting date, each participant has one month to conquer 20 visits, whether they're open workout sessions or classes. At the end, all cards with the full 20 punches are entered into a drawing for a three-month gym membership.
Chris and Pam Schmick had spent six months cleaning out the scrap metal from their abandoned silos and just finished drilling thousands of holes in its walls. With little time to spare, they prepared for their climbing gym's grand opening on September 2, 1995—a date on which they had already agreed to hold a regional JCCA competition. The effort they've expended in the nearly 20 intervening years shows: today, climbers scramble on top ropes, lead ropes, and more than 20,000 square feet of lava-free climbing surface.
Instructors prepare visitors to surmount the gym's features in a range of classes, such as Rock Gym 101, which is an introduction to top-rope climbing that covers climbing safety, basic technique, and equipment. Once climbers are equipped with gear from the pro-shop, staff shows them around a multi-level bouldering cave, a main climbing area with 30-foot walls shaped by arêtes, cracks, and waves, and the building's five original silos. Elsewhere inside the gym, six auto-belays safely cradle visitors who wish to climb without taking a class.
Established inside St. Louis Union Station in 2004, Galactic Glow Putt provides an interstellar arena for friendly and familial mini-golf competition. The sci-fi themed course is strewn with the trappings of space travel, including astral artwork, UV light, and Buzz Aldrin's memory-foam neck pillow. Ricochet angle shots under the glowing night sky, or play through a wire-strewn molecular teleporter, which miraculously and imperceptibly transports those who travel through it three inches to the left. The course opens its gates to Earthlings from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday–Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
The River-City MMA team consists of a yoga instructor, personal trainers, and coaches specialized in boxing and Brazilian jujitsu. Seven days a week they help clients work on their bodies in a space that boasts a matted area for practicing muay thai and jujitsu, a boxing ring, and a workout area stocked with resistance-training machines and yoga balls. Group fitness classes include yoga and cardio kickboxing, which are designed to improve clients' flexibility and endurance.