First-time visitors to Spotlight Dance & Fitness’s 7,200-square-foot studio might notice that their feet feel lighter before the lesson even starts. This sensation of walking on clouds is no trick of the mind—the studio’s floating, cushioned beech floors were imported from Denmark to give dancers a little more spring in their step. Though impressive, there’s more to the studio than its physical enhancements, which also include wall-length mirrors and a trio of smooth white columns that dancers often reference while attempting to maintain straight posture.
The beating heart of Spotlight Dance & Fitness lies in its energetic instructors, who teach a variety of dance styles practiced in nightclubs and ballrooms around the world. Partners twirl across the hardwood in tango lessons and feet shimmy across the floor in salsa and bachata classes of all levels, but the studio’s specialty is its ballroom series for beginners. Throughout the course of this series, instructors develop fancy footwork and reinforce proper dance-floor etiquette, such as never slouching or dipping your partner in the punch bowl.
When Ross Amin first walked into the nearly empty Capitol Bowl in 1999, he couldn't even tell if it was open. "It looked like it hadn't gotten any attention for a long time," he says. Still, he saw something in the space and decided to take over, launching a series of renovations, which were recently completed in late 2011.
Today, the modernized alley features lofty ceilings and a gauntlet of 20 overhauled lanes that keep score with Brunswick systems that were last upgraded in April 2012. Like a catcher's facemask or a pitcher's facial hair, bumpers (available upon request) can protect players against wayward balls. In between frames, the weary rest up by playing 1 of 15 video games in the arcade. Ross is most excited by Capitol Bowl’s updated café, which eschews traditional snack bar offerings in favor of chef-created entrees, which are made from scratch using fresh ingredients. Ross's favorite, the pastrami sandwich, is served hot with meat that’s smoked in house and spicy mustard. Some nights live music fills the bar, and flat-screen televisions air sports games and glow bowling gives the alley a neon aura.
GoKart Racer safely curbs the need for speed with its fleet of Sodi RX 7 European racing karts, which come equipped with hydraulic brakes, a four-point racing harness, and a 9-horsepower Honda engine that can reach up to 35 miles per hour. The speedsters weave through each facility's indoor European-style road courses, including the 3/8-mile SuperTrack, which has more than 20 turns, an elevation change, and the occasional hotshot, road-jumping frog.
Before the green flag waves, the staff members equip racers with a racing suit, a helmet, and a brief rundown of the kart's abilities and dietary regulations. They tailor races to different age groups by offering kids? karts, a driving school for minors, and racing leagues for experienced drivers, and they augment traditional racing with a laser maze. The facility also welcomely opens its doors for birthday parties and other events.
Streets of London Pub harks back to traditional London pubs with ice-cold pints and ample coverage of rugby and soccer. On the menu of hearty English fare, fries in the witness-protection program call themselves "chips" and lay low under toppings such as gravy, cheese and beans, or cheese and bacon, or pair up with fish in a platter of classic fish 'n' chips. The bangers-and-mash meal allows thick, juicy sausages to snuggle up on a hill of mashed potatoes. Along with food, the pub dishes out events; diners can throw back Guinnesses during weekly pub quizzes, compete for everlasting fame during monthly bingo tournaments, or stop in for Pint Night to enjoy pints on the outdoor patio.
Scrambling over plush barriers and through tunnels, kids burn off youthful energy and build up social skills while cavorting about The Bounce Spot. Tots and tykes busy themselves with navigating the 65 ft. long obstacle course before cascading down the 16 ft. slide. It's not a totally uncommon scene at an indoor playground, but at the Bounce Spot, parents get to throw off the shackles of adulthood as they bound about the inflatables and slam dunking in the air-filled basketball court with their kids. This allows both parent and child to play together, bond, and burn off some extra energy, as well.
Families can also celebrate birthdays in the air-centric playscape. A professional coordinator gets kids decorating fresh-baked cupcakes as the guest of honor sits on a throne-like chair to open gifts and banish siblings from their kingdom. The Bounce Spot's staff also organizes fitness camps for kids in kindergarten through eight grade, leading them on activity-based field trips to play baseball in the park, learn about dinosaurs, or pick up an appreciation for music.
Crunching metal and the sweet smell of burning rubber prevail as the Monster X Tour invades the Ocean Center, thrilling all ages in an action-packed motorsports showcase. Bigfoot, the forefather of all station-wagon smashers, leads a fleet of competitive 10,000-pound monster trucks, including Bear Foot and Black Knight, through jaw-dropping races, wheelie contests, and freestyle car composting. Transaurus, a two-story transforming robot that never learned to love, buries his woes by chomping entire cars in his massive jaws while watching reruns of Felicity. Before the show, VIP tickets also grant access to the Pit Party, where fans can have autographs signed by the drivers. During intermission, fans get the opportunity to eschew sea level with a ride inside a monster truck or visit General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard and learn its true feelings about excessive hood sliding.