Sunday, August 20, 2017

Urban Evolution, Alexandria, Va

Perhaps you’ve heard the word “Parkour” shouted before seeing someone attempt something daring outside. The odds are that you had no idea what they were talking about. Well let me tell you, today we had a great experience at a Parkour training gym called Urban Evolution which gave us a true understanding of parkour. With two Virginia locations, Urban Evolution helps train people in how to move from place to place within their environment in a safe and exciting manner.

Upon entering the gym, my kids were first greeted by an incredibly friendly staff member who helped us to sign our waivers. Once completed, we got to go into the gym which brought immediate reactions of “Dad, this place is awesome!” With walls covered with graffiti, cars to climb over and through, warped walls, poles to swing from, and wooden boxes to jump from (and over), this gym was the “it” place to be for my children. When speaking to the owner, he shared that they have worked with kids as young as 4 and people into their 80’s.

Once we started, it was immediately evident that our instructor was patient and that he put safety above everything else. He also helped my kids to understand that although it looks fun to do, speed takes a backseat to concentration and consistency. It was great to see my kids learning the proper ways to leap up, down, and over different obstacles. We also learned how difficult it was to balance and walk across metal pipes. 

After completing our balancing and jumping, we got to move onto how to roll without using our heads. The techniques were always well explained, and the kids really enjoyed learning the different strategies that they could employ to move safely from one place to another. Piecing together all of the different skills that we learned in an hour, everyone came away with a smile on their face, feeling a great sense of accomplishment. 

Urban Evolution is open for classes, private lessons, and camps. They offer class choices such as Parkour, Aerial Silks, Breakdancing, and UrbanFit. This is definitely not your run of the mill place. You will get a workout, and be more aware of how to interact with your surroundings.  While it is fun to play at a playground, why not make the world your playground after getting lessons from Urban Evolution? 

To return to the Family Fun in MD and Beyond website, click here.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Topgolf, Alexandria, VA

Topgolf in Alexandria makes driving ranges fun for everyone with their cutting edge technology! Gone are the days when you have to be a skilled golfer to truly enjoy hitting a bucket of golf balls. Now, even kids can play golf in the form of a game, without ever stepping foot on a course.

As I am sure you are aware, the purpose of a driving range is to improve your game. This driving range can still do that by providing the same thing as any other driving range.......balls, clubs, a tee, and a fairway. However, this is where the similarities end. When you arrive at the clubhouse (which is very clean and modern), you can either purchase a long term membership or a 30 day pass for $5 for adults and $3 for kids 12 and under. At that point you can purchase games, which on weekdays costs $5.50 per game from opening-3pm, and  $8 per game from 3pm-closing. On weekends it is $5.50 per game from opening-noon and $8 from noon-closing. Once you have purchased the number of games that you would like to play, they will give you an empty ball bucket and add those games to your membership card which has your name on it. You then bring your empty bucket to a ball machine and swipe your card which will unload your balls into your cart. Each ball has an electronic chip in it which has your name on the chip inside. Find your spot, and you are ready to go.

Once you have your tee, there is a small black bin (as shown behind me in the picture). Drop your ball into the hole and it will pop back out. There is a screen behind you which will now show that your ball has been scanned in, and is ready to be hit. As shown in the picture, there are large pods throughout the fairway. If you hit your ball into the pods, you will earn points, which will show up on the tv screen in your golf bay. If you are there with friends, you can use the range simply as a driving range, or you can compete to see who gets the most points.

There are several different games that you could play, but the most basic game rewards you for hitting into the pods, with bonus points for hitting in the center and/or for hitting it in the same pod consistently. Going with a friend who was not a golfer, we were both able to enjoy the game, as he got his points for hitting it into close pods, while I sometimes hit a great shot straight and far, but didn't hit it into a pod. This leveled the playing field for us as we could both work towards different goals, but still have fun on an outing together.

This venue also had climate controlled bays for all year use, free wifi, and waiters who served from a full menu of options for those interested. Additionally, they had tech guys on hand if there was ever a problem with the ball scanners or with the scoring screens. While there were a few small technological glitches while we were there, everyone was incredibly friendly and responsive, fixing the problems immediately. We really enjoyed this place, and will definitely be coming back again soon.

Note: They also have a location in Ashburn, VA.


To return to the Family Fun in MD and Beyond website, click here.