Roller skating often evokes images of ‘50s-era teens clad in poodle skirts and the black-and-white makeup that was customary at the time. But at both freshly renovated Sparkles Family Fun Centers, roller-skating proves itself as a 21st-century pastime by incorporating contemporary technology. From a DJ who spins family-friendly beats at both locations to the laser-tag zone and black lights that set the Gwinnett rink aglow, modern-day touches pervade each space. The arcades are stuffed with extra helpings of bells and whistles; skee-ball and electronically scored basketball compete for attention with racing video games that re-create famous auto duels or the 1954 Drake Relays. At nearby multistory indoor playgrounds, kids get back to physical recreation, scurrying across bridges and whipping down slick slides.
The sound of skate blades scraping to a stop constantly fills the air at The Marietta Ice Center, known as the MIC. Aspiring skaters gain confidence on the ice during learn-to-skate classes that teach basic skills, such as how to glide and how to stop without going into a belly flop. Hockey hopefuls learn similar basics during learn-to-play sessions that prepare them for joining one of the rinks leagues or pickup games during sticktime. Patrons regain their ice legs during public-skate sessions, with rental skates available for those who need them.
Playtime shouldn't just be for kids. That's the idea behind Atlanta Family Fun Centers, under which both Cascade Family Skating and Golden Glide Party Zone bring the party. At either location, rollerskating beckons kids and adults to lace up their rollerskates and zip around the rink. Everyone takes the floor during family skating, while teens get their own event space at teen skating and adults work on their cardio moves to '80s hits during adult skating.
The centers host more than rollerskating, too. Inflatables provide hours of bouncy entertainment during birthday parties, inviting guests to run, jump, and bounce in the way they were never allowed to on their childhood beds.
A place where the whole family can get to gliding across the ice, The Cooler not only hosts frequent open skate sessions, but also offers lessons and leagues for all ages. Hockey leagues separated by age allow even kids younger than seven to participate, while summer hockey camps get kids out of the heat to hone their ice skills during the season's off months. Those who haven't yet learned the how to skate can sign up for beginner classes, open to kids as young as 4 all the way up to adults. Figure skating lessons are also available, instilling US Figure Skating fundamentals for students who hope to compete or throw in a toe loop while they walk the halls at school.
Blu Tavern's chefs conduct a diverse chorus of Asian, Italian, and Latin American flavors to entertain taste buds with an eclectic dinner menu. Alongside sips of the night’s featured wine, evening feasts commence with savory appetizers such as coconut-curry mussels steeped in a fragrant bath of coconut milk and green curry or smoked sea-salt tuna ceviche served with chickpea relish, sweet potato, and peruvian corn. Hearty menu headliner herb-crusted salmon mignon satisfies stomachs' aching need both for seafood and self-fulfillment. Forks can also dig into main dishes such as pan-roasted bone-in pork chops topped in a balsamic-and-herb glaze and chicken adraki simmered in a spicy yogurt sauce. For dessert, diners can dive into slices of key-lime pie or croissant bread pudding to get the sugar rush required for participation in marathon readings of ancient Etruscan love poetry.