Sports and RecreationBEST OF ORLANDO 2008 - SPORTS AND RECREATION
Hard Knocks Orlando
5707 Dot Com Court
Like laser tag on steroids. It’s the opportunity you always wanted to legally chase your two-timing wife around with a realistic-looking gun in an “urban-themed combat area,” where you can defuse bombs and rescue hostages. Hard Knocks is also the ideal release for agoraphobic nerds on the verge of becoming serial killers.
135 Drennen Road
If you can survive the brutal warm-up, a few body slams in the deceptively soft-looking ring will leave you with a throbbing headache and make you wish you’d stayed home to eat ice cream and watch I Love Lucy reruns. Not for the faint of heart.
Best naked spankings
6325 N. Orange Blossom Trail, Suite 138A
When your inner pervert has outgrown getting bound and gagged in the privacy of your own bedroom, giddy-up over to the city’s newest BDSM dungeon. In addition to the nude floggings, there’s a whole arsenal of tables, chairs and wooden frames with leather straps and restraints. You might even be able to get spanked by a random stranger, if you ask nicely.
Best place to ride off-road
Ocala National Forest
If you believe the Orlando Sentinel’s schoolmarmish editorial board, the Ocala National Forest has been saved from the scourge of off-roaders raping the land and grinding up baby bald eagles under their knobby tires by a new trail management system that has everything under control. Bullshit. There are new trails in place, but here’s a dirty little secret: Off-road oriented motorcycles with license plates – called “dual sports” in the parlance – can still roam the forest at will. And it’s still the best way to enjoy this vast resource, tree-huggers be damned.
Best place to dance with a champion
Ivan Mao’s 6 p.m. Tuesday class
Azalea Lane Recreation Center
1045 Azalea Lane, Winter Park
When Ivan Mao won the World Championship title in 2005 and 2006 at the United Country Western Dance Council in Stockholm, Sweden, it only crowned a lifetime of impressive feats. The 67-year-old Shanghai-born dancer is living a second life, after having been a geneticist and professor at Michigan State University for 28 years. But these days he’s more interested in dance steps than in sequencing genes, and his (almost entirely not country) line dance classes are a big hit in Winter Park’s Azalea Lane Recreation Center every Tuesday at 6 p.m. Proceeds from the $7 class price benefit Keep Winter Park Beautiful.
Best martial arts/dance hybrid
Brazilian Pelourinho Capoeira
5224 Vanguard St.
Orlando has its share of mainstream sports, but most Magic fanatics don’t know our city is also home to a healthy capoeira scene. Not only does the Brazilian Pelourinho Capoeira offer classes, making their lean, cut physiques seem attainable, but beyond the kicks, flips and spins, the sport has its own sort of grace and beauty – plus that rad tribal dance vibe – and it’s just plain fun to watch.
Best curvy road/best motorcycle road
County Road 435 between Kelly Park Road and State Road 46
With its tight back-and-forth turns weaving among a golf course, orchid nurseries and oldish residential neighborhoods, even dipping and rising in an approximation of hilliness, County Road 435 may be the closest thing Central Florida’s got to a snaky mountain pass. All it’s missing are the scenic vistas. But it’s a fun technical ride, and most Saturdays find the road crowded with motorcyclists trying not to lay it down on the curves.
Best consequence of corporate competition
Universal’s Simpsons Ride versus Disney’s Toy Story Mania
Want to see the practical benefits of Darwinist capitalism in action without patronizing your neighborhood Wal-Mart? Look no further than our local theme parks, where two new competing attractions have opened within weeks of each other. In the showdown between Universal’s Simpsons simulator and Disney’s Toy Story shoot-em-up, we’re giving the nod to Homer and family. But the real winners of Orlando’s attractions arms race are local ride lovers. With major new coasters and more on the horizon, this is one war we’re happy to monger.
Best reason to brave the wilds of Kissimmee
Expansion at Old Town and Fun Spot USA
We haven’t spent much time on Highway 192 since we figured out the fights at Medieval Times are fixed. But the recently expanded Fun Spot USA (2850 Florida Plaza Blvd., Kissimmee, 321-677-0585, www.fun-spotusa.com) and adjoining Old Town complex (5770 W. U.S. Highway 192, Kissimmee, 407-396-4888, www.old-town.com) gives reason to rethink that reticence. Fun Spot has supplemented their stable of go-kart tracks with a 1960s-vintage Sky Wheel and an S&S Screaming Swing. Old Town has added a 150-foot Super Shot drop tower, and their Grimm House is now the last year-round haunt left in town. Plus: cheap beer, knives and tattoos – take that, Downtown Disney!
Best dog park
Barber Dog Park
3701 Gatlin Ave.
If you love your puppies, you’re happy when they’re happy. And they’re happy when they can get off the leash and smell all the canine ass they want, and maybe chase a ball around. We’ve encountered no better place to let you pup get his jollies than Barber Park, which features two large fenced-in yards (one for big dogs, one for little ones) for the four-leggers to run around in. Just remember, if yours relieves himself, pick it up.
SPORTS & RECREATION READERS' POLL
Best City Sports Team
Best City Park
Best Dog Park
Best Theme Park
1st: Islands of Adventure, Universal Orlando Resort, 1000 Universal Studios Plaza; 407-363-8000; (www.universalorlando.com)
2nd: Disney’s Epcot Center Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista; 407-827-8364; (www.disneyworld.com)
3rd: SeaWorld Orlando, 7007 Sea Harbor Drive; 407-363-2200; (www.seaworld.com)
Best Theme Park Ride
1st: The Incredible Hulk Coaster at Islands of Adventure, Universal Orlando Resort, 1000 Universal Studios Plaza; 407-363-8000
2nd: The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman at Islands of Adventure, Universal Orlando Resort, 1000 Universal Studios Plaza; 407-363-8000
3rd: Dueling Dragons at Islands of Adventure, Universal Orlando Resort, 1000 Universal Studios Plaza; 407-363-8000
Best Water Park
1st: Wet ’n Wild Orlando, 6200 International Drive; 407-351-1800; (www.wetnwild.com)
2nd: Aquatica, 5800 Water Play Way; 888-800-5447; (www.aquaticabyseaworld.com)
3rd: Typhoon Lagoon, 1500 W. Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista; 407-939-6244; (www.disneyworld.com)
Best Public Golf Course
1st: Dubsdread Golf Course, 549 W. Par St.; 407-246-2551; (www.golfdubsdread.com)
2nd: Winter Park Country Club and Golf Course, 761 Old England Ave., Winter Park; 407-599-3341; (www.winterparkcountryclub.com)
3rd: Winter Pines Golf Course, 950 S. Ranger Blvd., Winter Park; 407-671-1651
Best Miniature Golf Course
1st: Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf, multiple locations; (www.piratescove.net)
2nd: Disney’s Fantasia Gardens, 10000 Lake Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista; 407-560-4870; (www.disneyworld.com)
3rd: Congo River Adventure Golf, multiple locations; (www.congoriver.com)
Best Place to Bowl
1st: Aloma Bowling Centers, 10749 E. Colonial Drive, 407-384-0003; also 2530 Aloma Ave., Winter Park, 407-671-8675; (www.alomabowlingcenters.com)
2nd: Colonial Lanes, 400 N. Primrose Drive; 407-894-0361; (www.coloniallanes.net)
3rd: Firkin and Kegler Family Entertainment Center, 12850 Waterford Lakes Parkway; 407-373-7444; (www.firkinkeglercenter.com)
Best Place to Camp
Best River to Canoe/Kayak
Best Place to Shoot Pool
1st: Sportstown Billiards, 2414 E. Robinson St.; 407-894-6258; (www.sportstownbilliards.com)
2nd: Trick Shots, multiple locations; (www.trickshotsbilliards.com)
3rd: Spatz Deli & Billiard Liquor, 1025 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park; 407-647-3354
Best Place to Skateboard
1st: Vans Skatepark, 5220 International Drive; 407-351-3881; (www.vans.com/vans/skateparks)
2nd: Orlando Skate Park, 400 Festival Way; 407-898-9600; (www.orlandoskatepark.org)
3rd: Mesh Skate Park, 881 W. Warren Ave., Longwood; 407-657-2002; (www.meshskatepark.com)
Best Place to Work Out
1st: L.A. Fitness, multiple locations; (www.lafitness.com)
2nd: Planet Fitness, multiple locations; (www.planetfitness.com)
3rd: Metro 24/7 Fitness, 133 E. Robinson St.; 407-481-0507; (www.metro247fitness.com)
Best Yoga Studio
1st: Shine On Yoga, 633 E. Colonial Drive; 407-963-1956; (www.shineonyoga.com)
2nd: College Park Yoga, 706 W. Smith St.; 407-999-7871; (www.collegeparkyoga.com)
3rd: Bikram’s Yoga College of India, 2415 E. South St.; 321-663-7526; (www.bikramorlando.com)