With the sound of fast-approaching engines roaring in your ear, you jam your foot down even harder on the gas pedal and narrow your eyes at the upcoming left-hand turn, determined not to let up even for an instant. If you do, there’s a good chance that your new view will consist of your competition gloating triumphantly while they zip past you on the track. You may only be driving a GT-5 Sodikart, and not a tricked-out racecar, but you absolutely refuse to let any of the other adult or—gulp—junior drivers beat you.
Track 21 lets speed-demons careen around one of three indoor go-kart tracks at speeds of up to 40 mph as they try to edge past other karts, competing with fellow birthday partiers or coworkers to reach the finish line before it decides to become a finish wall. In case competition gets too fierce, the karts are surrounded by heavy nylon bumpers and rubber blocks designed to absorb impact from all sides.
Friendly rivalries continue on foot inside Area 21, a two-story laser-tag battleground beset with fog, obstacles, and space-age scenery. Sharpshooters zap each other's targets in pursuit of a grander mission, such as capturing the opposing base or stealing the enemy's supply of light, before matches end and scores are tallied on a stats sheet. Glowing decor also illuminates a jungle-themed nine-hole mini-golf course, where gorilla and lion statues bask in the black lights. Track 21’s arcade demands timing and button-smashing dexterity from gamers, and a track-side casino sets up rounds of blackjack, poker, and craps.
Most courses have one signature hole. SilverHorn Golf Club of Texas has two—one for both nines—and both provide a window into the landscape-savvy brains of Randy Heckenkemper and PGA Tour pros Willie Wood and Scott Verplank, the trio responsible for this 6,922-yard, par 72 course design. At the par-five sixth hole, a 20-acre lake hugs the left side of a 556-yard dog-leg left, making any attempt to shorten the hole by cutting the corner a daring proposition. The inventive use of water hazards—a recurring feature throughout the course—returns on the par-four 15th hole, where two stone-lined creeks cross in front of the green, demanding a strategic approach shot or an amphibious golf cart. Tree-lined fairways and contoured greens characterize the rest of the 18-hole layout, which offers four tees to appeal to golfers of all abilities.
The Club also offers a driving range that serves as the grassy classroom for The Academy at SilverHorn Golf Club, where Director of Instruction Rob Myers and a staff of PGA pros and apprentices offer lessons. Lessons cover everything from putting form to swing mechanics to learning specialty shots, such as drawing the ball off the tee or chipping it discreetly into your rival’s beverage.
Course at a Glance:
At Hip Hop Heels, high-heeled shoes aren't dainty accessories, but fierce dancing tools. Owner Geena Ngaaje encourages her students to don comfortable heeled boots for her signature classes, thereby increasing the workout for their lower bodies and injecting the choreography with style. Geena and her team practice a combination of hip-hop, street, and burlesque dance, often channeling the moxie of celebrities such as Beyoncé and Ciara. They also pull from personal experience as performers—their resumés list back-up gigs with the Black Eyed Peas, LL Cool J, and Pitbull.
Their sessions aren't geared entirely toward stars on the rise, however. Whether they're demonstrating sensual hip rolls during Pumps and Grinds or the seductive shimmies of Cabaret, they cater to women of all experience levels, from first-timers to fellow pros and animated characters that are drawn to dance. They also host workshops for beginners, which focus on becoming confident in heels. Private parties allow guests to choose their preferred dance style for a customized lesson, and special-event workshops cover entire routines, including holiday-themed performances set to "Santa Baby."
Since its founding in 1980, Sun & Ski Sports has remained true to its philosophy: “do a few things, but do them better than anybody else.” The shop stocks equipment in five categories of extreme and outdoor activities, including camping, skating, running, bicycling, and water and snow sports. It specializes in these to ensure its merchandise maintains a high standard of quality, and its employees are knowledgeable participants in the sports their department represents.
Bikers can drop off their steeds for tune-ups from certified mechanics who put all brands through the rigors of a 12-point inspection, checking chains and adjusting wobbly pedals and malfunctioning spoke-card motors. While waiting, curious eyes might linger on a North Face two-person tent, a Blackburn Airtower bicycle pump, or a vast selection of shoes from brands such as New Balance and Asics. Men and women can traipse nearly barefoot in the park with Vibram FiveFingers, which offer minimal structural encumbrances for a more natural stride, or cast their feet aside for the new-wheeled prowess that comes with a Fuji SL-1 LE Ultegra performance road bike.
After becoming an all-American at the University of Houston, qualifying for the U.S. Open twice, and making the cut at The Masters during his professional career, seasoned golf instructor Jim McLean has added one more accomplishment to his resumé: Jim McLean Golf Schools was touted as one of the country's top 25 golf schools in 2008 by Golf magazine.
Following Jim's innovative philosophy of biomechanics, a team of instructors—with levels ranging from certified, master, and lead master—teach the components of a successful golf swing, focusing on each player's physical capabilities and limitations and developing a tailored lesson plan. In order to become a Jim McLean golf instructor, pupils must pass a rigorous certification process that includes one to three years of teaching at the club, conducting their own extensive golf-swing-research projects, and learning to grow natural spikes out of their feet. During private lessons and clinics, golf gurus use 3-D graphical imaging and data analysis to provide instant feedback.
At Jim McLean Golf Schools, players hone their games with indoor and outdoor practice facilities that include a 50,000-square-foot short-game range, a lit driving range, and a practice bunker. The complex is also home to the Legends Scoring Nine course, which, along with the practice facilities, has been a training ground and putter-jousting arena for rising PGA star Jason Day, who placed 3rd at the 2013 Masters.
In 1931, aviation legends such as Howard Hughes and Amelia Earhart traversed the hallowed halls of Floyd Bennett Field, New York City's first municipal airport. Today, the same site harbors Aviator Sports and Events Center, which accommodates recreation in all of its forms, equipped with 20,000 square foot indoor field house, which includes newly resurfaced hardwood courts and new turf field, two outdoor synthetic-turf fields, and an outdoor space for events that can seat up to 4,000 people—the same number of people it takes to crack open a life-size Big Bird piñata. Twin NHL-regulation rinks host open-skate sessions, a majority of which are held on Rink B, every day of the week, with skates as late as 11 p.m. on weekends. Inside the center is a brand new CrossFit gym, which offers workout classes Monday through Saturday. Only youngsters enjoy summer or after-school camps, but adults and kids alike can take advantage of a roster of sports and leagues, including flag football and rock climbing, ideal for those looking to shorten morning commutes by cutting through the quarry.