New England Dive Center At the family-owned New England Dive Center, certified instructors pursue a mission of expanding scuba-diving know-how to the whole world, training underwater explorers with a curriculum of beginning to advanced diving classes. Several open-water courses survey safety, equipment, and diving etiquette to put students on the path toward PADI, TDI, or SDI certification, and an underwater photography seminar illustrates how to capture lucid footage of marine life and document mermaids' dance recitals. Group vacations shepherd divers to the lush corals of the Florida Keys, Cozumel, and the Grand Bahamas, and local events explore the quarries and shipwrecks hidden within New England's own waters. The full-service repair shop also stocks rental and retail equipment, supplying divers with high-end fins, masks, and tanks from brands such as Atomic Aquatics and XS Scuba.
At The Scuba Shack, the staff’s family-oriented lessons encourage divers to take social rather than solo ventures into the blue beyond. Each instructor carries an impressive résumé of underwater travels—the head trainer has been diving for more than 20 years and others have logged more than 1,000 dives. Captaining PADI-certification courses and specialty seminars—which cover topics such as night diving, photography, and fish identification—they take groups on open-water excursions to area lakes and Clear Spring Scuba Park. They prioritize educating their charges with safe and enjoyable teachings, rather than monotonous quizzes on whether the bends is a serious health issue or a 1980s punk band. With trips to dive sites in Fiji and Mexico, they introduce divers to the visual wonder of reefs and aquatic wildlife throughout the world.
New Britain-Berlin YMCA's 90,000-square-foot complex helps members improve their lives through community programs, personal training programs, and a variety of fitness facilities, including a new massage studio. Besides bulking up on full circuit of Nautilus strength equipment or powering through Precor treadmills, steppers, and ellipticals, visitors can join friends for games of basketball in the double gymnasium or chuck tomatoes at the walls of five on-site racquetball courts. The clear waters of the 25-yard swimming pool parallel the mirrored walls of an 800-square-foot fitness studio, where members can partake in several health and wellness programs throughout the week.
With a long-standing commitment to women, children, minorities, and social-justice issues and a presence in New Britain for more than a century, the YWCA is more than just a workout facility. Its history is peppered with groundbreaking programs to bolster race relations, achieve women's empowerment through business ventures, and promote children's health by providing access to physical activity. Staff members further the organization's vision with dedication to initiatives to help unemployed community members locate jobs in the area, literacy programs for kids and adults learning English, and an afterschool girls' development program for middle schoolers.
• One month of gym membership with unlimited fitness classes (up to a $34.95 value) • A 30-minute massage from a licensed massage therapist (a $40 value) • A personal training session (a $60 value) • Access to the Champion Skating Rink during all public skate times (approximately 30 held each month; free with membership)
Star Hill is expansive, but its staff strives to keep the environment unintimidating. Beneath the white dome lies 105,000 square feet of fields, courts, and tracks, which host sporting clinics and league games throughout the year. Alongside, the main facility's 30,000 square feet house a 25-yard swimming and diving pool, a fitness center with top-of-the-line cardio and weight machines and free weights, and group fitness rooms. Personal training for kids and adults can focus on anything from getting in shape to targeted sports fitness or even triathlon training. After a run around the quarter-mile track, a skip on the treadmill, or taking in a field-hockey game, members can take advantage of the arcade or enjoy dinner at the caf? on the outdoor patio.