When Rick Rugg and Bob Schiffhauer founded the first of their gyms in 1980, they chartered their gym around three values: service, cleanliness, and having owners operate their own facilities. True to the founders' original vision, each location's employees strive to keep their cardio and resistance equipment spic and span as they care for facilities. In addition to personal training, instructors lead a schedule of more than 400 group fitness classes?including cycling, Kardio Kick, and Zumba?offered each week across their eight locations. At the clubs, trainers also help guests master CrossFit functional equipment and use TRX suspension training systems to help them connect with their vine-savvy pet orangutans.
A vintage photo of Mallwitz’s Island Lanes, presumably from the 1980s, shows a much different alley than the one that stands today. Its patrons are dressed and coiffed for the times, bright yellows and reds flash across the walls, and strikes and spares are scrawled by hand. A modern-day snapshot illustrates the transformation that has occurred since the center's 1980 opening: 24 lanes feature computerized scoring systems and freshly oiled surfaces that glisten in the muted glow of black lights like a newborn’s head after his first waxing. Other contemporary touches include a full bar, complete with a food menu headlined by popular wings.
Tonawanda Bowling Center's 42 lanes reverberate with the thunderous roar of clattering bowling pins. Over the course of two hours, bowlers hurl multicolored bowling balls down polished wooden lanes as they challenge pins' right to assemble. Automated scoreboards announce budding rivalries between competing rock-slingers, and optional bumpers facilitate gutter-free voyages for on-duty bowling balls. Bowlers waiting their turns can slip into lane-side tables and chairs, where a pitcher of soda washes over parched lips and tongues tired from directional commands issued to defiant balls. For further sustenance, lanesmen can retreat to the full-service lounge and restaurant and partake of its full menu or sing along to Saturday night karaoke.
The passionate, experienced instructors at Tonawanda Dance Arts, which houses two air-conditioned studios, transform pint-size fumblers of any skill level into prima ballerinas with a bevy of enriching classes. Dancers can choose from a blossoming assortment of styles, opting for the rigorous-yet-graceful ballet, the passionate and expressive lyrical, or the stoic and dignified standing still. Hosts of classes populate Tonawanda’s busy schedule, allowing budding Fred Astaires to express themselves in myriad manifestations.
Paintballs and BBs whiz through the air across Buffalo Battleground's 13,000-square-foot indoor area, where opponents snipe enemies from behind obstacles or engage them head-on with wide-open barrages. Although the action can get intense, the staff takes every precaution to keep guests safe. Before arming them with their choice of shotgun, pistol, or assault rifle, the staff outfits guests with full-face protection and limits the velocity of ammo to 351 feet-per-second.
The Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum gives visitors a view of the inner workings of a company whose products became part of the American amusement landscape throughout much of the twentieth century. A network of seven different interconnected structures, the museum occupies the production facilities of the Allan Herschell Company, the carrousel cartel credited with thawing icy relations between humans and horses. Examine exhibits such as the Lockman Collection, an assemblage of 20 different hand-carved creatures that illustrates the stylistic evolution of carrousel animals, and the Wurlitzer Music Roll Shop, showcasing manufacturing equipment and more than 1,600 hand-punched music rolls designed to coax wooden beasts from their lumber slumber. Admission to the museum includes a complimentary ride on one of two on-site carrousels: a 1940s-era aluminum ride equipped with miniature mounts for kids only, and a carrousel sporting 36 adult-sized steeds that dates to 1916, the year it was discovered that horses aren't poisonous.