At Pro Dojos, certified martial-arts experts lead students of all ages and skill levels through a variety of pugilistic disciplines. Each location is independently owned, so the martial-arts styles may vary, but many offer karate, tae kwon do, kick-boxing, aikido, and jujitsu classes. The instructors elucidate the noble combat arts to kiddos as young as 4 years old, helping them build strength and motor skills while instilling the values of self-confidence. Teen classes focus on honing discipline and treating yourself and others with respect, and adult classes reinforce cardiovascular conditioning, strength, balance, and coordination. The instructors also lead classes for the whole family, allowing them to bond as a unit, which could possibly lead to starring in a hit sitcom about a crime-fighting family who takes down comical villains in their idyllic suburban neighborhood.
Cofounded by dancing legend Fred Astaire to train new generations of rug cutters with his signature easy grace, Fred Astaire Dance Studio uses a unique curriculum to create comfort on the dance floor. Expert instructors start with steps and rhythms common to most social dances, steadily building toward more specialized combinations of moves for a variety of rhythm-dance styles such as cha-cha and samba and smooth-dance styles such as the foxtrot and waltz. Once they've learned to follow, lead, or just pare down unnecessary finger snaps, students can take to the purple-walled dance floor to practice their steps and try on new partners at social parties.
Battlegrounds Athletic Research and Development all started with one speed bag hung in a garage. Over the years, those spartan beginnings turned into a full-scale gym that now offers sports conditioning and training in various fitness disciplines and martial arts. Expert instructors lead classes for all ages and fitness levels in areas that include boxing, muay thai, and fitness boot camps.
As the centrepiece of a sprawling 32-acre site, the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum preserves Canada's rich baseball heritage while leading visitors around the base paths of the game's history. In one room, fans ogle displays dedicated solely to the Expos and Blue Jays, and in another, artifacts from across the globe trap eyes in a pickle between vintage photos and authentic uniforms. The consistently rotated lineup of displays also saves a spot for current Canadian ballplayers, as well as for autographed Babe Ruth mementos that, despite their age, still retain their new hotdog smell.
Each year, the Hall of Fame adds new members to a select group of inductees, which currently includes 93 individuals and ranges from pro ballplayers and amateurs to umpires and trainers. In 2012 alone, the museum and its surrounding ball fields will play host to more than 450 events, highlighted by training clinics and minor league games. The 10th annual Kids on Deck summer camp also calls the site home, giving youngsters aged 8–14 the chance to perfect such vital skills as bunting and spitting a sunflower seed at least 10 feet.
Though the winter snow has melted, inner tubes continue to zoom down the routes at Chicopee Tube Park—now cruising atop Italian mats, designed for waterless tubing. A host of other outdoor attractions complement the park’s eponymous activity. Two ziplines—an 80-metre line for first timers and a 300-metre line for veteran fliers—let passengers glide above the treetops without having to hitch a ride on a passing pterodactyl. The Eurobungy trampoline also gives guests the gift of flight, granting harness-sporting park-goers the ability to leap up to 25 feet in the air, and the spider-web climbing tower offers stationary bird’s-eye views once climbers have hoisted themselves to its pinnacle. For low-to-the-ground fun, harnessed participants at the horizontal ropes can balance six feet off the ground, getting a taste of tightrope walking without that chalky, acrophobic aftertaste.