In 1976, Joan Barnes?a Californian mom frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time?took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree Play and Music. In the decades since Gymboree?s founding, Joan?s vision of a safe place where youngsters could build confidence and creativity has come to fruition and spread to 30 countries around the globe. Staffed by attentive and expertly trained instructors, each Gymboree outpost adheres to a curriculum of activities designed by experts to foster the development of children?s? cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play and close readings of Goodnight Moon. The staffers also conduct entertaining classes that cover subjects ranging from music to sports, imparting valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. To further set apart her business, Barnes employed nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beck to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers.
The multitalented team of instructors, which includes trainers certified in Agatsu Kettlebell and Commando Krav Maga, helps to strengthen hearts, bodies, and minds during self-defense, fitness, and fight courses. Instructors lead beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels of kettlebell fitness, a class that incorporates fundamental swings, cleans, snatches, and Turkish getups to simultaneously work several muscle groups at once.
The team also helps to build endurance by leading participants through Latin dance steps in Zumba and through a tapestry of kicks and punches in cardio kickboxing. Additionally, trainers helm courses in krav maga, a form of martial arts designed to increase confidence, protection, and Bruce Lee comparisons. Following a functional warm-up, instructors run through drills to teach students how to escape from chokes and disarm an opponent using lighting-quick pressure and weakness-point attacks.
At Shrewsbury Lanes, 10 white appendages await punishment from careening spheres at the end of 24 polished alleys. Automatic scoring screens keep count at every lane so that rollers can concentrate on picking up seven-ten splits, savoring hot eats from the snack counter, and grabbing cold beers or daily happy hour cocktails from No Bul's Bar. During birthday packages, revelers can bounce between bowling alleys and party rooms, which are stocked with hot dogs, drinks, and chips. Shrewsbury Lanes also hosts leagues for bowlers who enjoy more serious competition or nostalgic adults who were raised inside trophy cases. The roar of ransacked pins echoes throughout the facility until 11 p.m. on weekdays and 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
It's fitting that the Central Institute for Human Performance is located inside a restored high-school building. Since the original lockers still line the hallways and the Karel Lewit Clinic for rehabilitation sits in what used to be the administrative offices, the glossy walls and floors often remind visitors of their athletic dreams when they once strolled through their own high schools. While the rehabilitation clinic treats injuries and physical trauma, the immaculate and spacious gym helps athletes improve or maintain their physical well-being. Fitness instructors challenge their students through innovative, small-group classes such as Strongman workouts. The center's consulting team, which earned a nod from Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak, offers nutritional guidance and lifestyle coaching to help members reach their goals. Professional jerseys hang above modern equipment to further inspire athletes to dream big and remember to pick up their dry cleaning.
Open year-round, Kirkwood Ice Skating Rink plays host to public skating sessions, lessons, and hockey games for fledgling wintertime athletes. The rink bathes in natural light, which pours through translucent panels to illuminate and spotlight skaters as they make their elliptical loops. Just beyond the rink's edge, a concession area serves hot eats worthy of consumption in the adjacent, fireplace-equipped warming area. A jam-packed monthly schedule details one-and-a-half and two-hour public skating sessions seven days a week, allowing skaters to get their icy fix regardless of conflicting guitar lessons or power lunches with dapper climatologists.
• For $63, new members get a two-month household metro membership plus joining fee (a $252 total value). • For $42, new members get a two-month adult metro membership plus joining fee (a $166 total value). • For $15, current members get $30 toward a class or program.