Home to more than 50 bowling leagues, Wickliffe Lanes' synthetic alleyways accommodate sphere hurlers of all skill levels seven days a week, which is one of the many reasons it earned Fox 8's Best Bowling award in 2010. Between frames, bowlers seek nourishment at two full-service bars or at the in-house grill; 12 billiard tables, an arcade, and 20 high-definition TVs also keep minds off high-stakes frames. The smoke-free bowling mecca hosts family-friendly open bowling and provides retractable bumpers, which eliminate gutter balls much like bicycle helmets eliminate bad hair days.
At each of its Cleveland-area locations, Freeway Lanes allows bowlers to hone gutter-hugging curves. In addition to traditional, tenpin lanes, the alleys host indoor bocce ball courts and pool tables for players tired of breaking cues on 16-pound balls. Their expansive facilities also feature modern bowling amenities along with HD television screens and full-service restaurants. League opportunities are available for children, adults, and seniors and live bands frequent the alleys, filling the air with original melodies and providing just enough bass to knock down wobbling pins.
With locations in 24 states, it’s safe to say Fitness 19’s approach to fitness has piqued exercisers’ interest. Each gym houses Life Fitness cardio machines and Hammer Strength strength-training equipment, as well as a staff of personal trainers who oversee one-on-one workouts and a group of caretakers and professional ranch hands who wrangle the kids' area. Certain locations also offer group classes such as the senior-oriented Silver Sneakers program.
A member of a previously undiscovered species known as skateasaurus stakes its territory, tracing figure eights along the rink's hardwood floor. Dressed in blue-and-white shorts and a red trucker hat, the plush, green-and-yellow dinosaur—otherwise known as Skato—eschews eating children, and instead prompts them to shake it all about in rounds of Hokey Pokey. This fun ambiance extends to the rest of United Skates of America's roller rink, surrounded by lime-green walls and manned by a smiling staff. Inside the laser-tag arena, the outline of an asteroid belt and nearby planets pulsates under the glow of a black light as gunners duck behind posts and arches before homing in on their enemies or attempting to scan their allies' groceries. Around the rink, tables buckle under hot pizzas at bright-yellow booths, and gamers hone their skills at the nearby arcade in exchange for prizes such as backpacks, stuffed toys, and glow necklaces.
More than 120,000 species of trees, wildflowers, and native plants take root across The Holden Arboretum’s 3,600 acres of themed gardens and natural terrain. As birds chirp overhead and butterflies binge on nectar plants, visitors make their way across 12 gardens on guided tours or leisurely strolls. The most intrepid wanderers can spend a full day attempting to navigate more than 20 miles of trails that wind through a rhododendron garden, a mature beech-maple forest, and a waterfowl observation blind. Guides facilitate a more focused experience during forest explorations and home landscaping sessions, the latter of which demonstrate how to add a lifelike smile to topiary sculptures of the mailman. The arboretum also hosts numerous lecture series, youth programs, and special events such as Fridays in the Garden, where light refreshments accompany presentations or walks with horticultural experts.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the cha-cha. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.