At Goals Soccer Centers, athletes of all ages try their hand—or rather foot—at the world’s most popular sport during league and open play. Eleven artificial-turf fields accommodate five-a-side teams for fast-paced outdoor games. Rebound walls enclose pitches, inviting players to bang balls off them for tricky passing, and netting keeps all spherical objects from flying out of bounds. In between matches, teammates refuel at the onsite restaurant or relax in a lounge equipped with TV and free WiFi. Complete with showers, tidy locker rooms also give footballers ample space to dress and clean up before and after contests.
You step up to the plate and raise the bat, realizing you have just enough time for a quick footing adjustment before the ball comes hurling at you. The bat swings forward and connects with the ball, sending it soaring into the air. But instead of running around the bases to the soundtrack of adoring fans, you ready yourself for another ball. And this one's going to feel the hurt even more.
This is the experience Sluggers Batting Cages offers, allowing kids and adults alike to act out their dreams and hone their at-plate skills while in a safe outdoor environment. Automated machines pump out heaters in individual batting cages, while protective fencing catches balls that would have otherwise earned batters home runs, doubles, or concussion-related lawsuits. Sluggers also offers party packages for teams or birthday celebrants who want to make a whole day of it, sweetening the deal with pizza, pop, and a private room.
With hands gripped to the wheels of karts capable of cresting 45 miles per hour, up to 12 racers hum around the hairpin turns and straightaways of K1 Speed's indoor track during adrenaline-spiking sprints toward the podium. This brand of excitement can be found at all 20+ locations, where racers eschew the fumes and inflammatory skywriting of gas kart exhaust for European, eco-friendly electric karts designed to instantly accelerate out of curves, which are bordered by safety barriers that absorb impacts.
Sky Zone fully embodies the concept of bouncing off the walls, as the facility is lined with gigantic trampolines on the floors and angled trampolines on adjacent walls. Ideal for people of all ages, shapes, and physical abilities, the trampolines unite to form one massive sea of bouncy terrain, upon which visitors can play or compete with hanging basketball hoops. Sky Zone is home to Ultimate dodgeball, an interactive twist on the classic playground sport that has teams jumping and dodging at new heights. Additionally, the park is great for birthdays and special events. Serious boot camps and aerobics courses allow guests to get into shape and have fun at the same time, unlike running from a stampede of buffalo.
A nonprofit organization, Shoestring City Ranch is run by instructors that dedicate their time to teach teamwork and leadership skills to city-slicker kids by having them work with rescued animals. The environmentally friendly ranch hosts clinics on communicating with pets and group horseback-riding classes that teach everyone from tots to adults how to groom and ride. They also host fun events in addition to classes, such as the 5K Gallop and 1-Mile Tot Trot and a Roping Clinic 101, where a professional rodeo cowboy teaches students how to use a lasso.