Fog floods the 6,000-square-foot arena as youngsters race behind glowing crates and walls to escape lasers, thus fulfilling the business's Active Play Active Kids philosophy of getting wee ones on their feet and keeping them moving. The laser maze's 30 crisscrossing beams put participants' coordination to the test as they navigate through, and the glowing Lightspace Play Floor accommodates up to four players trying to copy each others' dance moves. At the snack station, kids can recharge with pizza and nachos before challenging friends to air-hockey bouts in an arcade with more than 35 games.
Gordon Franks and Pat Worley are more than black belts. They’re ninth-degree black belts who share their chosen martial art with youngsters and adults alike through USA Karate, the school they cofounded. The school - which opened in 1973 and has been operating for more than 40 years - was featured on the local CBS station and teaches self-defense techniques that help students graduate to higher-level belts and translate into increased agility, coordination, and self-confidence.
At Gorilla Combat, students draw inspiration from the primate world, in which bands of gorillas bond by playing, wrestling, and protecting one another with weapon-free defense maneuvers. Certified trainers and pro fighters lead classes for all levels of skill and fitness, teaching kids how to punch during youth boxing lessons and showing grown-ups how to grapple during judo, jujitsu, and MMA sessions. In addition to cultivating strength and confidence, classes equip students with enough stamina, coordination, and discipline to perform an accordion while running a marathon. Full-size boxing rings welcome practice jabs and full-blown muay thai matches, and a collection of barbells and rowing machines helps athletes condition their muscles between classes or bouts. The instructors also offer personal training for those wishing to toughen up for a fight or an onslaught of sour-faced emoticons.
Soaring drives splash onto three-dimensional greens at Inside Edge Golf, where nine aboutGolf PGA Tour simulators set the scene for year-round golf and revelry. Stunning, realistic graphics reproduce more than 50 world-famous courses on the facility's sprawling screens, summoning golfers to carefully tread the ocean-side vistas at Pebble Beach or eschew diminutive jeers from the wind-swirling pixels that plague St. Andrews.
On The Back 9, players trade electronic courses for an 1,800-square-foot practice green outfitted with chipping areas, breaking putts, and a mini flop hedge. Leagues throughout the winter crown champions with simulated green jackets, and Kitchen, which is open year-round, sustains swing strength with snacks, sodas, and beers.
Boasting a Gold Standard certification from the American Sailing Association, Northern Breezes Sailing School welcomes tender-footed sailors aboard a fleet of U.S. Coast Guard–inspected boats for safe, exciting lessons. With a host of courses for beginners, intermediates, and advanced dread pirates, Northern Breezes acclimates students of all levels with both the practical and nuanced aspects of the art of wind harnessing.
Helmed by ASA instructor-evaluator Captain Thom Burns, the school has awarded more than 5,000 ASA certifications since its inception. Northern Breezes also offers camps for adventurous whippersnappers as well as boat charters and onshore courses on how to read the wind rippling across the water.
Nestled among the trees that surround Lake Minnetonka, Tommy's Tonka Trolley's bright yellow exterior and neon signs lure in passersby with promises of summertime treats and adventures on the water. Their fleet of kayaks and standup paddleboards accommodate beginners, who can launch their chosen vessel from a special floating dock built by the nation's best sturgeon architects. Before sending customers onto the scenic lake, Tommy's crew instructs them on proper usage and supplies maps showcasing various on-water locals.
Back on shore, staff members serve selections from a menu of hot dogs, sandwiches, and tasty treats. Scoops of Sebastian Joe's Ice Cream, lauded as one of the nation's best ice creams by USA Today, pile onto waffle cones and chill taste buds with flavors that range from salty caramel to coffee oreo.