What might look like walls dotted with large wads of bubblegum to beginners, soon transforms into a network of pathways after students complete indoor rock climbing courses at Elite Climbing. The experienced staff are always onsite to lend a hand, even outside of class time, and demonstrate a sport that requires both physical and mental agility. With bouldering and top roping walls, both amateur and expert climbers can find an adequate challenge as they master 120 climbing routes from 17 stations. Kids can also get in on the action, during classes and summer camps that keep them from getting grounded for rappelling off the neighbor's roof.
The cello-shaped Verizon Hall serenades eyes with mahogany accents under the 150-foot barrel-vaulted glass ceiling of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. With seats for 2,500 audience members, the hall immerses both spectators and musicians in the clarity generated by its premium acoustics, which absorb vibrations from the subway tunnel below with 225 rubber isolation pads and allow for precise tuning with retractable curtains and sound-reflecting panels. Seasoned jazz artist Branford Marsalis confirmed Verizon Hall's sound acumen when he told NPR it is "the best concert hall on the East Coast."
Dazzling audiences since 1911, Plays and Players boasts a troupe of talented thespians ready to take on Lost in Yonkers, a play that has won four Tony Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, and countless fist pumps. The complex and sharp-witted coming-of-age story follows two brothers sent to live in Yonkers, New York. Written by Neil Simon and directed by Betty Chomentowski, the approximately two-hour comedic drama depicts the struggles the brothers face after their father sends them to live with their immigrant grandmother, simple-minded aunt, and hooligan uncle. During the performance's 15-minute intermission, audience members can wipe tears of laughter from their eyes or mend the tears in their skulls incurred while thinking too deeply about the play's lessons on family relationships.
Inflated structures, slides, and games fill the climate-controlled environs of the numerous BounceU locations that speckle the nation. At each site, staff members closely monitor all activities as little ones traverse obstacle courses or pull on oversized inflatable boxing gloves. The crew also invites parents to join in on the fun, letting them bounce alongside their kids or make sweeping edicts from atop a bouncy-castle throne. In addition to open sessions, the indoor-play haven sets the stage for the Preschool Playdate program, where instructors lead games and activities. Special events include family-bounce night, which lets parents join in the bouncing or relax in the party room and do grownup things, such as eat marshmallows with a knife and fork.
When Brian McInerney reflects on the humble beginnings of Wheel Fun Rentals, he points to his childhood passion for bikes. "As far back as I can remember, I had a real love affair with bicycles," he recalls. During a trip to Italy in 1987, Brian's affinity for cycling blossomed into a full-fledged obsession when he spotted locals' transporter of choice, the surrey. Inspired, he began importing the Italian four-wheelers to a rental business in the U.S. that eventually expanded into Wheel Fun Rentals, now a nationwide web of shops that also loans out bikes, electric cars and mopeds, and man-powered watercraft. Atop bicycles and surreys built for solo riders or entire families, patrons embark on self-guided tours of major U.S. cities. Led by maps and lists of nearby sites of historical or cultural significance, riders zoom down bike paths and safe, lightly trafficked streets. Adventuresome athletes can also compete in activities such as surrey scavenger hunts and blindfold obstacle courses navigated via shouted instructions from a seeing teammate or exceptionally long rounds of trial and error.
Just as the Roman god Bacchus represented both wine and revelry together, Pinot Boutique celebrates wine by—how else?—throwing parties. The staff regularly stages wine-tasting events—including the recurring Vino Voyage, held aboard a 19th-century warship, Olympia —and hosts several events amid the exposed-brick walls in its downstairs venue, known as The Cellar. Upstairs, the shop’s main floor is dedicated to fostering at-home celebrations, earning the title Best Gift Shop of 2012 from Philadelphia Magazine. The acclaimed boutique displays accessories such as wineglass charms, corkscrews, and picnic gear to complement an exclusive selection of vintage wines and fresh labels from Pennsylvania's Paradocx Vineyard.