When fall finally arrived and I felt that first nip in the air, I started remembering all those winter weekends when cabin fever hit our house with a vengeance and we hadn’t planned anything special with the kids.
By Annette McLoughlin
When fall finally arrived and I felt that first nip in the air, I started remembering all those winter weekends when cabin fever hit our house with a vengeance and we hadn’t planned anything special with the kids. I decided to plan ahead this year and headed with my youngest to Chelsea Piers in Stamford, where we enjoyed a morning of energy-burning fun and explored this amazing sports mecca.
The Stamford center, which opened in July 2012, is a 400,000 square-foot suburban version of the state-of-the-art sports and entertainment mega complex on the West Side of Manhattan. It’s located off I-95 (exit 9) in the old Clairol manufacturing plant.
Chelsea Piers (CPCT) aspires to be the “best amateur sports and entertainment complex in the world” through the quality of their facilities, programs, and instructors. The quality of the staff is the pride of CPCT as it includes “Olympians, NCAA All-Americans, professional athletes, and decorated coaches.”
They offer a sport for everyone, at most ages and every skill level; baseball/softball, basketball, cheerleading, field hockey, figure skating, fitness, football, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, squash, swimming, tennis, triathlon training and volleyball. The facility has spent its first year forming relationships with numerous local leagues and developing their new teams.
The extensive hockey program runs the gamut from Mite-Development through youth and adult leagues. For the non-hockey ice lovers, they offer figure and general skating lessons as well.
The Aquatics Center caters to every age, with a learn-to-swim lesson program that begins at age 6 months. Competitive swimming programs include the Chelsea Piers Aquatic Club – a full-service, year-round competitive swim team – and water polo house leagues and travel teams for players of all levels. The facility is used for intensive training by the Full Throttle Triathlon Team.
In terms of racquet sports, CPCT offers squash and tennis. The Squash Club has twelve courts on which at any time can be found various instructional programs, camps, clinics, and leagues for youth and adult players. Since opening, it has hosted several US Squash sanctioned tournaments.
Last year, in tennis, they hosted 12 USTA Adult Teams which played more than 100 matches. The junior teams posted great first-year results winning local championships in various age groups, including an undefeated season for the 12-and-under teams.
Within the walls of this gargantuan sports hub is The Field House, a 100-yard indoor turf area surrounded by a one-fifth mile running track. The Field House serves the lacrosse, soccer, flag football, and youth baseball and softball programs. Basketball and volleyball courts are located adjacent to the fields.
They have their own lacrosse program (CP-Lax) and a partnership with Connecticut Football Club for competitive and instructional soccer for every age and ability. Volleyball is offered at various levels and has fielded a very successful Junior Olympic girls travel team.
The Gymnastics Center was a blur of flips and spins when we visited as girls of various ages practiced in the 15,000 square-foot training center with spring floors, in-ground trampolines, deep foam training pits and an array of bars and beams and rings. The gymnastics programs provide options for many age levels and competitive pursuits.
In addition to the plethora of sports, there are several active play areas (those we need for foul weather kid-fun.) The Adventure Center includes a trampoline court made up of 26 interconnected trampolines (The Jump Zone) and a 22-foot climbing wall of ten different routes (The Climb Zone).
There is a toddler version of the Adventure Center called Little Athletes Zone located next to the Adventure Center (which is significant if you plan to go with kids of various ages.) Toddlers have their own small, floor-level trampoline and foam pit, as well as a climbing and sliding play structure.
The third option for high-energy kid time at CPCT is the Splash Zone indoor water park. It’s a 6,000 square-foot area that includes three small pools plus a play area with slides and waterfalls. This area is mainly for kids (minimum age 6 months) and their parents and is staffed with several lifeguards.
There’s a “snack bar” called Chelsea’s Table, which offers organic, healthy natural foods and a sit-down restaurant called Overlook Bar and Grill located on the mezzanine level overlooking the north rink.
CPCT is a great new local option for our sporty community and all of our sporty needs. And not to be discounted is the value of a guilt-free Sunday afternoon on the couch this winter when kid energy has been sufficiently spent because a quality morning was passed at Chelsea Piers.