At Pro-Fitness Plus, a professional staff of trainers and nutritionists help clients of all ages and fitness levels achieve their desired results, whether they’re looking to tone up, stay healthy, or slim down. Members can take advantage of more than 350 pieces of equipment ranging from 110-pound dumbbells to recumbent bikes, treadmills, and cross-trainers. The 46,000-square-foot space also features a full outdoor basketball court, 50-inch plasma TVs, and locker rooms equipped with saunas for steaming healthy bowls of broccoli.
Divided between two locations in Manchester and Nashua, Vertical Dreams' 15,000 square feet of simulated mountainside are packed with obstacles and tough sections to challenge climbers of all skill levels. At the Manchester gym, gutted elevator shafts lined with hand grips extend four stories upward, creating 70-foot vertical surfaces. The Nashua location boasts 10,000 square feet of wall space, with textured surfaces that respond realistically to climber's hands and feet and fill their nostrils with simulated rock smells.
Vertical Dreams' staff of veteran climbers teaches students one-on-one or in groups. In beginner lesson packages, instructors show aspiring climbers the figurative and literal ropes involved in belaying, climbing, and knot tying, and the teachers in advanced top-roping and sport-climbing classes push their students' abilities to climb solo or in a lead position.
Film buffs across six states stare wide-eyed at large cinema screens, losing themselves in first-run Hollywood movies and the smell of fresh, buttery kernels within Your Neighborhood Theatre's 17 locations. Though all theaters prioritize comfortable seating, old-fashioned friendly service, and high-stakes preshow trivia slideshows, each location encompasses its own distinct charm, be it through arthouse décor, 3-D screens, or Rhode Island's vintage 1950's drive-in setting.
As visitors step into the balmy gardens of The Butterfly Place, they may feel as though they are “walking into a floating garden . . . as if they are being carried as well.” That was the experience of a Wicked Local writer who visited the seasonal indoor sanctuary, which houses both local butterflies and tropical species culled from around the world. As the butterflies freely wing about the sanctuary, koi fish swim through serene ponds along the winding pathway, and quail waddle and moonwalk through myriad species of colorful flora. Those who find that watching the butterflies sip nectar incites their own hunger can take a break at the outdoor picnic area and nibble on any snacks they may have brought along.
A stream of yellow and black buzzes by. It's not a swarm of bumblebees, but friends and family racing each other in yellow and black go-karts around Checkered Flag Indoor Karting's 23,000-square-foot speedway. Strapping on helmets and sliding in behind the wheel of 15HP electric karts, up to 10 drivers jockey for position while whipping around eight snaky turns and sling-shooting past opponents on the wide lanes along the 100-foot front stretch. The facility's electronic timing system lets speedsters check out their best lap times from each 20-lap race. Racers must be at least 54" tall or born with tires instead of feet to traverse that track, but during birthday parties kids aged 4–9 and at least 36" tall zip across the 100-foot Mini Cup track. With a snack bar slicing pizza and pouring soda and an arcade, the facility can play host to parties for older kids and adults, as well as corporate team-building events. And for kids and adults seeking serious competition, Checkered Flag organizes leagues lead by indoor karting champion, Tom Prioli.
The trainers at Art of Strength eschew newfangled machines. Instead, they employ only fitness tools that have stood the test of time: weight balls, ropes, logs, sandbags, and boxes. Undulation training with heavy ropes challenges strength and endurance, and kettlebells work the body as a whole and torch calories. Instructors also employ vintage progression weight-training exercises, which leave patrons as strong as ancient warriors or the guys who had to push ancient warriors’ strollers.
Founded by Miss Fitness U.S.A. Champion and World Bodybuilding & Fitness Federation Figure Pro Shelly Rego and led by the trained Forever Health and Fitness GroupXTreme Classes crew, members are able to get fit and have a good time doing it. Each week, they pack a schedule with Latin-dance-inspired Zumba classes taking place in a studio promoting a nightclub atmosphere. As global beats thud through the speakers, the students throw themselves into the aerobic dance workout’s easy-to-follow choreography, which makes the classes feel more like a party than a visit to the gym. The staff has also been known to organize flash-mob dances with routines taught during class. At the start of the year, instructors lead a six-week Resolution Solution program that helps clients achieve their fitness goals, such as losing weight, becoming more active, or being able to do the worm all the way to the gym and back.