As winter lingers, stay warm at local indoor sport arenas

Multi-sport facilities offer activities for all ages

Outside: sports, activities, events

March 11, 2004|By Lisa Wiseman | Lisa Wiseman,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

It's March and you've pretty much had your fill of winter weather and all of the snow, slush, freezing rain and frigid temperatures. It's time to ditch the parka and snow boots, get outside, have fun and be active. Sure, Baltimore has had a few unseasonably warm days lately, but don't be fooled. According to the calendar, it's still winter, people. Spring doesn't officially start for another week and a half, and summer doesn't begin for another three months, so don't pack up the sweaters just yet.

So, what's a person to do with a serious case of cabin fever? Don't wait for June; have some warm-weather fun right now. The following is a list of some ways to enjoy the great outdoors while you are still indoors.

Knock one out of the park

Get ready for the next neighborhood baseball pickup game or the company softball league by practicing your swing at an indoor batting cage. It's also a great way to work off some pent-up aggression. Some area indoor batting cages worth checking out:

Grand Slam USA, 8725 Loch Raven Blvd., Towson, 410-661-4117. Open noon-9 p.m. every day. 18 pitches for $1.50. Discounts available.

BATT Inc., 200 Penrod Court, Glen Burnie, 410-590-2288. Non-members of the club can pay $20 and use the batting cages and basketball courts as much as they want all day long. Open weekdays 3 p.m.-9 p.m.; Saturdays 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Sundays noon-3 p.m.

Four Seasons Sports Complex, 2710 Hampstead-Mexico Road, Hampstead, 410-239-3366, www.4seasonssportscomplex.com. Open Monday-Thursday 5:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday 5:30 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Saturday 7 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Sunday 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Non-members can rent one of the club's four indoor batting cages. If you become a member, you'll have access to the area's only indoor softball stadium.

It's only a game

No need to go to a park or find an empty field when you can play on an indoor field where there's a guarantee that the game won't be rained out. While many indoor fields cater to leagues, there are facilities for public use. Check with locations for available times and fees.

Owings Mills Sports Arena, 12400 Owings Mills Blvd., Reisterstown, 410-517-2900, www.omsportsarena.com. Open daily 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Groups can rent any of the arena's indoor fields for soccer, lacrosse, football or field hockey. Individuals can join pickup soccer and lacrosse games on a first come, first served basis.

Freestate Sports Arena, 5811 Allender Road, White Marsh, 410-335-6400, www.freestatesports.com. Three indoor fields are open to the public for soccer, lacrosse and roller hockey. There's a basketball court with an adjustable height rim for the slam-dunk-impaired and a skate park that will open later in the spring.

Carroll Indoor Sports Center, 515 Old Westminster Pike, Westminster, 410-857-5098 or 410-840-9361, www.carroll-indoor.com. The facility has three large padded turf fields for soccer and field hockey complete with electronic scoreboards, home, guest and official boxes, Plexiglas dasher boards and bleacher seating for spectators.

Clarence "Du" Burns Arena, 1301 S. Elwood Ave., 410-396-4202. Hey, if the fields are good enough for the Baltimore Blast to practice on, then the arena must be worth checking out. In addition to soccer, the city recreation center has volleyball courts and a small basketball court with a trampoline.

Something for everyone

You want to play miniature golf, the kids want to go to the batting cage and the teens want to hit the climbing wall. Instead of trying to decide which place to go to, just go to a place where everything is under one roof. More and more of these multi-sport indoor arenas are popping up. David and Sharon Shapiro were pioneers when they opened the Sports indoor facility 14 years ago.

"At the time, nobody had this combination of things all indoors," David Shapiro said. "Everybody copied us."

Sports features batting cages for softball and baseball with slow to fast pitches, an indoor minigolf course (complete with a waterfall), a rock-climbing wall and one of those mazes for kids that look like a giant gerbil habitat. Bring plenty of quarters for the skee-ball, video and arcade games. Sports, 10 Halesworth Road, Cockeysville, 410-666-2227. Admission is free. Separate costs for individual activities.

Kids especially love the multi-sport centers, and they're popular destinations for birthday parties. Last year when Chris Daniels went to his best friend Aaron Croghan's birthday party at Rounding 3rd Family Entertainment Center, Chris knew he just had to have his 12th birthday at the same place.

"It's a lot of fun," he said. It's tough for him to pick his favorite activity at Rounding 3rd, but the treadmill-style climbing wall and the indoor laser tag were among the most popular attractions for Chris and his friends. "The wall is tough. It moves and tilts," Chris said. "There's a video monitor next to it so you can see how far you climbed," Aaron said. The two friends joined forces to do battle at laser tag, but didn't do quite as well as planned. "He accidentally shot me," Aaron said. "Yeah, I did," Chris said. No matter; the two planned to race go-karts and maybe hit the batting cages next. Rounding 3rd Family Entertainment Center, 6600 Amberton Drive, Elkridge, call 410-796-0800, or visit www.rounding3rd.net.

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