Summer carnivals arrive once a year to brighten up a dull parking lot and transform it into a seven-day wonderland. But when the week is over, they take away the flashing lights and excitement and leave behind nothing but vagrant scraps of litter and shattered milk jugs. To combat that feeling of emptiness, each of the four Thunder Road Family Fun Parks features family entertainment the whole year through.
At their Sioux Falls location, families and groups gathering for a work outing or birthday party eternally zip around oval go-kart tracks that are slick and polished to recreate cinematic stunt driving on a small scale. An 18-hole mini-golf course offers a glimpse of what the world would be like if the Vikings had invented golf instead of coercing the Scottish into inventing it. Euro bungee jumping, meanwhile, combines straps and trampolines to induce a weightless sensation and enable flips and jumps dripping with adrenaline. Classic family activities such as batting cages and bumper boats flank a Thunder Road original attraction: Human Foosball. Recent upgrades have included the addition of a Tilt-a-Whirl and laser maze, where players are challenged to navigate their way through a field of laser beams without tripping the alarm.
For nearly a quarter century, Ultimate Golf & Academy founder Chad Westra has been instructing golfers of all abilities while developing original methods for improvement in his book and instructional DVD, The Ultimate Way. Through Chad's methods, golfers discover the components of a balanced swing, including the turn of the clubface and the point of impact. By focusing on clubface connection, the instructor asserts that golfers can develop natural swings attuned to their unique form and golf bag full of modified soup ladles. Ultimate Golf allows visitors to practice their swings on its 22-acre facility, which features a well-lit driving range, 19-hole miniature golf course, and digital golf simulator. The simulator allows golfers to play on digital replications of 100 legendary golf courses.
Nestled within Empire Mall, Xcite Family Fun Center enraptures youngsters with inflatables, video games, and tasty treats. Sock-clad kids bound across the center’s ever-changing selection of inflatables—which frequently includes Batman- and Disney princess-themed bouncers—navigate obstacle courses, and race down slides. The arcade entices players with games such as air hockey, skee-ball, and Star Wars Racer, and the enclosed toddler zone pairs wee ones with age-appropriate inflatables, slides, and coloring-book versions of the tax code.
In between rounds of bouncing and gaming, kids can reenergize with grilled-cheese sandwiches, pretzels, or pizza at the snack bar. Open-play sessions run until 9 p.m. Monday–Saturday, and parents or grandparents can accompany their children for free.
Swiss army knives are famed for the many vital tools hidden in the nooks and crannies of their surprisingly small exterior; Star Performance Complex takes a similar approach to educating kids in fitness. Their instructors offer swimming, gymnastics, tae kwon do, and dance lessons to tykes who enjoy competitive athleticism. They also provide day and night care that combines structured activity with open play in their fun gyms, which feature not only gymnastics equipment but inflatable play houses. Other teachers focus on team sports, training kids to work together in softball, soccer, and cheer. All of this – excepting the swim lessons – takes place in their single, colorful facility full of squeaky hardwood, soft mats, and all the equipment a kids needs to build a strong body.
X Fitness collects the efforts and skill of four personal trainers into one intimate gym experience, which members have access to 24 hours a day. The staff teaches eight different fitness classes, including gym standards such as boot camp and more unique courses such as B.L.T., which stands for Buns, Legs, and Thighs. To complement the workout regimen, they also offer 24-hour tanning services and
personal training during normal business hours.
With 12 slick lanes, mouthwatering fare to munch on, and a laid-back adjacent lounge, Valley Lanes & Rec Center fills bowlers with chow and immerses chow lovers in the joys of bowling. Those opting to spend their time hitting the lanes can gear up, donning an included pair of bowling clogs, for 30 punishing frames. In between thundering games, bowlers can disguise the rumble of their ravenous bellies with fine snack-bar fare including gladiator pizzas ($3.39–$4.09 for a 7", $10.99–$15.99 for a 14"), french fries ($1.49), or jalapeño poppers (six for $4.49), washed down with their large soda.
A verdant par 3 course complete with 18 holes, Hidden Valley invites adventurous golfers to crack open a bag of clubs and send their golf balls out to roam the greens in search of the elusive hole in one. Clubbers of every caliber can partner up and enjoy the back and front nines, strolling from hole to hole as they practice putts, collect divots, and scrape a cryptic message into each sand trap. Hidden Valley is owned and managed by the Reiter family, whose golf heritage reaches back to the 1950s, a time when the pros were paid in livestock and Henry Ford had yet to invent the golf cart.
Specializing in Olympic-style tae-kwon-do training, Sioux Falls Martial Arts Academy hosts an array of fitness and martial-arts classes that focus on technique and form, enabling students to expand their hapki-do horizons. Fledgling martial artists and practiced black belts alike can train in 40 group classes of their choosing, ranging from tae kwon do, combat hapki-do, Zumba, weapons classes, self-defense, and kickboxing¬¬, not to be confused with alleyway box kicking. Upon arriving at the first class, students will be given a defenseless, 40-session punch card to keep track of classes attended. After attending 40 classes, students can meet with a fitness trainer to assess progress and receive personal training. Check the schedule for course offerings.
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• For $5, you get a Friday-night dance lesson and party (a $10 value). • For $12, you get two introductory classes (a $25 value). • For $27, you get a private dance lesson for individuals or couples (a $55 value).
Sioux Empire Fitness's full-service gym offers members a variety of group-exercise classes and facilities for swimming, basketball, volleyball, and more. Your one-month membership (a $57 value) grants you access to all of these amenities. Physical-fitness dreams come true in this multi-recreational facility, whether you're sprinting down the indoor track while pursued by imaginary bulls or freestyling in the swimming pool with a floating replica of Abraham Lincoln. Total-body fitness waits inside a full-size indoor basketball court and on two sand volleyball courts. Work out solo on cardio equipment in the fitness area, or try a group-fitness class such as aqua aerobics or yoga, all of which run on a flexible schedule. This deal also gets you three personal- training sessions to streamline your soul-sack (up to an $87 value) and 100 minutes of tanning (a $25 value) to bronze your newly fit body for mantle placement.
• For $8, you get four games with one shoe rental, two bags of chips, and a 44-ounce soda (a $16.51 total value). • For $25, you get eight games with four shoe rentals and one large pizza (a $51.21 total value). The pizza is only available after 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and at any time on weekends.
Bakker Crossing offers 18 holes of water-laden, sloped-green, rough-n-tough challenges. The course includes many pivotal points such as the 174-yard hole 13, complete with a central, rough-rounded pond, and the notorious 18th, which combines a severely sloped green with a tricky back right pin. No matter how the dimpled spheres fall, pendulum players of all skill levels can soak in the open-air surroundings, hear the wind blow through the beautiful old trees, and refuse to grant frenemies a single mulligan or sarcastic golf-clap. Stroke through two rounds with a corporeal friend or one round with an imaginary friend anytime—Bakker Crossing Championship Golf Course is currently open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to dark through September.
Since the invention of cars and online dating, humans have needed extra motivation to marshal muscles into shape. During a four-week fitness boot-camp regimen, She's Shapin' Up's friendly instructors make motivation manifest. Participants can attend two sessions per week for the camp duration. Classes focus on overall body composition; they tone and sculpt muscles while burning calories and ditching body fat. Weekly weigh-in and measurement appointments are available for all participants, so it's easy to keep track of weight shed and inches vanished. She's Shapin' Up's fitness regimen is designed to push people to the limits of their personal maps so that they'll go on to discover hourglass-shaped islands lost to time or muscle-bound North Poles.
With its sights set on community health, Avera McKennan Fitness Center hosts an array of workout classes and houses a mélange of exercise space and equipment for all conditioning capacities. Teamworkers delight in the center's daily fettle-finessing sessions, such as yoga, Zumba, and boot camp, which take place beneath the aerobic room's vaulted ceilings and atmospherically oriented windows. Further phalanx forming takes place in the atrium, complete with basketball hoops for pickup games or aerial canine-agility competitions.