For many, maintaining a healthy fitness regimen is an off-putting chore on par with cleaning the garage or assembling that backyard roller coaster for the kids. The folks behind Snap Fitness, who now boast locations all over the world, are of the opinion that this doesn't have to be the case. They believe seven-day access to premium cardio and strength-training equipment, innovative easyFIT monitors to track personal progress, and perpetual guidance from certified professionals can help transform physical fitness into an accessible activity that yields measurable and tangible results. In addition to providing online workout rubrics and meal plans, they work to keep sweat glands up and running by offering workout rewards programs, making regular check-in calls, and measuring bodies—sans padded muscle suits—every 30 days.
In the space of a former 1960s movie theater, Parkade Cinemas enhances the traditional film-watching experience with live entertainment. Guests munch fresh popcorn as they watch second-run action blockbusters or Oscar-hungry dramas on one of four screens, or they head to one of two live-theater auditoriums to chuckle at comedians, dance to visiting musicians, or accuse their friends of unspeakable crimes during murder-mystery dinners. Parkade does celebrations right with movie-themed birthday parties and yearly Halloween events that feature classic horror films and haunted-house antics staffed by costumed employees and volunteers.
Xtreme Paintball's speckled warzone stretches across five playing fields, where marker-toting combatants engage in colorful crossfire during a variety of paintballing matches. A natural canopy blocks the sun from the eyes of snipers throughout the battle zone, and manmade obstacles, such as ditches and sandbag bunkers, conceal sharpshooters and bottles of Wite-Out for healing wounds. A Wild West–themed village situated at the center of Xtreme Paintball's paint-strewn landscape inspires players to reenact their favorite cowboy movies, and a netted viewing area allows parents and friends to peek in on the action at a safe distance.
Since 1962, the experienced and USPA-certified instructors at Connecticut Parachutists, Inc have helped new and experienced skydivers foster a love for skydiving. Two miles above the plush green landing area, the professionals harness themselves to novice divers for tandem jumps, and then leap from the bellies of prop planes as spectators and envious penguins look on from an open landing area. The instructors can also help their students obtain skydiving certification, learn to perform accelerated free falls, and make solo dives.
In addition to training new cloud kickers, Connecticut Parachutists, Inc also accommodates seasoned skydivers with facilities for members. Their turbine Twin Otter elevates members for as many jumps as possible, and a clubhouse helps jumpers wind down with a shower and video debriefing area. The skydiving haven also plays host to special events such as jump nights and Q&As with famous parachutes.
Healthtrax Fitness & Wellness first opened its 35,000-square-foot fitness centers in 1979, and the specialists have since maintained a commitment to helping their members lead healthier lifestyles. They work in partnership with hospitals and medical professionals to stay keen on current research, turning this information into personal-training programs and professional advice for members of all fitness levels. In addition to programs in fitness and recreation, health education, and nutrition, Healthtrax Fitness & Wellness offers more than 60 group fitness classes. Members can shake up their routines with group cycling, yoga, and Pilates sessions, or tune out the surrounding world while burning calories on TV-equipped cardio machines. Member amenities also include basketball courts and an aquatics center in addition to outlets for kids including a youth activities center and babysitting services for kids that are tired of pretending to be their mom's fanny pack as she works out.
Visiting The Zoo in Forest Park and Education Center is a lot like stepping into a nature documentary. On guided tours, a knowledgeable narrator takes small groups on a journey to meet more than 200 creatures from across the world. They stop by the habitats of the black and white ruffed lemur, the western bobcat, and the spotted leopard. Along the way, guests learn a lot: for instance, that the Bennett's wallaby carries its young in a pouch, and that the critically-endangered cotton-top tamarin has lost more than 75% of its native habitat.
But in at least one way, the zoo accomplishes something that David Attenborough never could. Visitors can actually reach out and touch a creature during discovery programs. They can even adopt certain animals, perhaps helping provide tasty grasses and career guidance to a red kangaroo.
These programs exemplify the nonprofit zoo's dedication to wildlife education and awareness, something they hope to instill in their visitors from an early age. In the summer, educators spin "Animal Tales" for rapt young audiences and hold a Zoo Camp, where kids start to learn about diet and animal care. As kids' love of animals grows, the zoo invites them to volunteer as Crew in Training members. Once they hit college, students can become interns working on projects such as field studies of the patas monkey.
Spanning four locations, Club Fitness caters to health-seekers with its expansive cardio rooms, personal-training sessions, and group fitness classes. Most studios boast an impressive array of amenities, such as a private, women-only area, shake and supplement bar, kids' club, tanning beds, and weights that lift themselves and then high-five you. Guests can work out on the sprawling cardio decks, or get sweaty in group fitness classes that include intense interval training, Bodypump, and yoga.
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