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What to do on yet another rainy day? Try this Top 10 for the Great Indoors

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racquetballladyIt’s hot. It’s humid. It’s buggy.
That’s summertime in Sarasota. That’s outdoor recreation in Southwest Florida. What are you gonna do?
You can adjust to the heat, but there’s not much you can do about afternoon thundershowers, especially if you’re a golfer or tennis player. For them — well, us — summer is like slow torture.
Sometimes it seems like the weather is messing with you. Just as you get off work, or just as you reach the course or courts, that’s when it starts pouring.
The other day, about 6 p.m., I went to the Bath & Racquet Club. I had to open an umbrella just to get out of my car in the parking lot. All of the tennis players were leaving, so I ducked in to talk to the racquetball guys.
Phil Nathan, a Bradenton engineer, drives to Sarasota for racquetball a few times a week. I told him that I envied him and his indoor sport. “Oh, yeah,” Nathan said, laughing. “It’s air-conditioned and you never get rained out." Which brings us to a Rainy Day Top 10 for the Great Indoors:
livingston'sarcadegirlgame10. Racquetball
Bath & Racquet has indoor racquetball courts. So does the Berlin Branch of the Sarasota Family YMCA, where people used to play a racquetball court version of volleyball.
They called it Walleyball.
9. Skating and hockey
You can stay dry and cool — very cool — at the Ellenton Ice & Sports Complex in Manatee County. This is a classic summer change of pace.
8. Livingston’s
Lots of Sarasota parents already know about the Clark Road amusement center. Besides all of the pool tables and arcade games, there’s an indoor go-cart track and a climbing wall for the more adventurous.
badminton9. Climbing walls
In Venice, the South County Family YMCA also has an indoor climbing wall and bouldering set-up.
7. Trampoline gyms
Just a few weeks ago I did a column on the grand opening of Jumpin Fun Sports in Lakewood Ranch. Kids flip for this place.
6. Table tennis
The Sarasota Table Tennis Club welcomes expert players and newcomers to the Colonial Oaks Park gym. Regular games are on Saturday afternoons and Monday and Wednesday evenings.
5. Badminton
The Badminton Club of Sarasota plays on Wednesday evenings at the Arlington Park gym.
4. Indoor putt-putt golf
icehockeyellentonAt the Westgate Sarasota Square Mall, near JC Penney, there’s a place called Lunar Mini Golf. Silly glow-in-the-dark fun for kids.
3. The gym
A little cross-training might be a good idea. At a Y or health club, you could try a yoga session or spinning class, followed by a visit to the steam room or hot tub.
2. Rolling skating
For some old-school quad-skating, try the Stardust Skate Center in Sarasota or the Astro Skate Center in Bradenton.
1. Movies
This isn’t even sports, but it’s something to do. When I got rained out the other day, I went to Burns Court Cinema and caught “20 Feet From Stardom,” a documentary about background singers. Great flick.

Last modified: July 17, 2013
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