Beyond its roaring arcade and indoor amusement park, The Funplex decrees that 8,000 of its 100,000-square-foot kingdom be annexed to the Realm where fantasy game MagiQuest disperses Magis on heroic adventurers through an interactive and spellbinding semivirtual lair. Carefully choose your Magi alias and grab your secret-yielding loaner wand (a $2 value) before embarking on a fantastical adventure filled with distinguished wizards, enchanting pixies, and cunning dragons. Seasoned with mystical spells and motion sensors, wands respond to trees, mountains, and flat screens sprinkled throughout the Realm, sharing clues so Magi can complete honorable tasks or surprise wicked goblins with an unexpected hug. With unlimited play (a $14.95 value), Magis can entreat the hours to swallow them into the transformative wormhole of role-playing bliss.
Fitness Cell Collective's disciples don't work out in a gym. Dubbed "The Compound," the Collective's roomy studio encompasses familiar fitness devices, such as kettlebells, as well as some unconventional equipment. Olympic-style rings dangle from the ceiling alongside suspension systems and ski machines, and a 40-foot-long set of monkey bars facilitates intense workouts and high-speed banana relays. With these tools, the certified trainers—who range from martial artists and professional weightlifters to dancers and triathletes—lead classes for all fitness levels. The classes—featured in New York magazine—range in scope to include kettlebell fitness, mixed martial arts, yoga, Pilates, and boot-camp training. The Compound houses more than just modern fitness equipment; postworkout, exercisers can purchase and refuel with fresh, locally made, organic snacks and signature protein drinks.
Like most good ideas, Gymboree Play and Music didn't begin in a business meeting—it began out of necessity. In 1976, Joan Barnes, a California mom, found herself frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time. Knowing that other parents were undoubtedly feeling the same frustration, she took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree Play and Music. She consulted experts to design a curriculum of activities to foster the development of children’s cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play. She hired a nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beckwith to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers. And her staff began conducting entertaining classes covering subjects ranging from music to sports to impart valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. As their children learned and socialized, parents also found benefit in meeting and befriending other moms and dads in their local area. More than 30 years later, her vision has proved to be a success: more than 712 child-centered franchises now spread over 42 countries, bringing confidence and creativity to thousands of youngsters in several continents and to one in the center of the earth.
Planet 301 plunges families into a world of friendly competition with two floors and 32,000 square feet of hands-on games and activities. Each three-hour pass turns gamers loose in Planet 301’s fully stocked funplex, unlocking complete access to its bowling and laser-tag arenas as well as acres of classic and state-of-the-art arcade games. After stealthily zapping foes with focused beams and busting piles of pins, patrons can hone real-world skills with a trip to the arcade, working on hand-eye coordination with a game of skee-ball, cataloging new breeds of waterfowl in a round of Wacky Ducks, and helping Donkey Kong register for community-college classes.
Real racecars greet fun-seekers in the lobby as they enter Velocity 17's 100,000-square-foot facility, foretelling the indoor adventures available within. With the high-performance go-kart Groupon, you'll race friends on a spaghetti-style track designed by Formula 1 professionals and reach speeds of up to 30 mph. Futuristic light-slingers can play laser tag in a 4,000-square-foot, multi-level arena, complete with fog, black lights, and piles of Electric Light Orchestra albums to hide behind, while kids can play in a safe environment at Velocity 17's attraction-packed Kids Zone.
The multitalented staff at Sweet & Sassy allow girls to walk in the slippers of their favorite fairytale princesses with an array of salon and spa services. Youngsters get gussied up for special occasions, such as tea parties with stuffed animals and UN delegates, with spa packages that include colorful manicures, soothing facials, and expert makeup applications. Sweet & Sassy’s birthday celebrations treat girls aged 4–13 to themed outings such as a Pop Star party, during which the birthday girl and her friends get dolled up to film a music video, which they can take home on a DVD.