According to an interview with mLive, Placid Wake Park's owner Scott Ferwerda can easily pinpoint the crown jewel of his wakeboarding park: a Sesitec System 2.0 cable that spans a 700-foot manmade lake.
"When you hit a rail and fall," Scott explains, the boat "has to come back and get you." Not so with cables. "With this, the operator sees you fall, stops the cable immediately, you swim 5 feet over to get a rope, and 10 seconds later, you are back up hitting the same things you just tried."
Riddled with optional obstacles, such as a pyramid playfully named the Ninja Turtle and a hydraulic rail on which to hide from creepy dragonflies, the cable lake is only one of Placid's two aquatic bodies. The boating lake branches out into three prongs, where wakeboarders, surfers, and waterskiers have the option to conquer currents the old-fashioned way—pulled by a boat and whistling the song from Steamboat Willie.
The park welcomes athletes of all ages and abilities, offering rental equipment and lessons with pro wakeboarders to individuals as well as families. On the shore, spectators can lounge on at picnic tables shaded by umbrellas or snag a front seat to the action atop an observation deck, and landlubbers can stay active by digging for seashells at the sand volleyball court.
From its beginnings as a plain dirt track in 1950, the Berlin Raceway has transformed in the intervening decades into one of the country’s most challenging and esteemed short tracks. A 7/16-mile paved oval, with 13-degree banking in the turns and 9-degree banking on the straightaways, the track regularly hosts races for various types of autos, ranging from four-cylinder vehicles to super and outlaw late models to Big Wheels with rocket engines attached. Drivers follow in the tire marks of renowned racers, including Tim Steele and Jack Sprague, some of who are chronicled in the track’s hall of fame.
The 39 holes at Loeschner's Village Green Family-Style Miniature Golf lead putt-putters on a serpentine path through verdant landscaping framed by charming white picket fences. The challenging course zigzags past gnarled trees and around thick shrubs, even burrowing through rocky outcroppings that resemble scaled-down versions of the tunnels common to mountainous regions. In addition to upkeeping the sprawling course, the staff encourages guests to keep the competition going at the on-site arcade or by instigating a soft-drink-chugging contest at the snack bar.
An indoor family-entertainment center, The Lost City invites fun seekers young and old to enjoy a wide range of gaming venues, including a sprawling laser-tag arena, an indoor mini-golf course, an arcade, and a 10-pin bowling alley. Lasers fly through fog and atmospheric lighting within a multilevel laser-tag arena that spans 5,000 square feet. Participants wear vests and wield phasers as they rack up scores that are then recorded on their individual scorecards. The Lost City’s nine-hole mini-golf course has a Gobi Desert theme, complete with palm trees, pyramids, and camels. To continue a competitive night with friends, head to the 10-pin bowling lanes, which switch between classic woodgrain and a black-lit road theme, or guests can challenge their hand-eye coordination at an arcade with air hockey and redemption games.
The revs of go-kart engines, the delighted shrieks of putt-putters, and the cracks of batting-cage chops have banded together in joyous harmony for more than 20 years at AJ's Family Fun Center. Each of the three locations caters to the entire family with a wide range of exciting attractions. Though activities differ slightly at each outpost, thrill seekers of all ages can participate in age-appropriate activities, such as Sprint Karts for ages 16 and up, mini golf for adults and kids, and arcade games for those old enough to have received the value of a token lecture from a wise elder.
At the Blast Factory, inflatables cushion the tumbles of sock-clad youngsters as parents and trained supervisors look on. Kids climb up and glide down multicolored slides or crawl through the mouth of a tall inflatable dragon in search of cavities. Along with open play, The Blast Factory hosts two-hour private parties, during which up to 25 kids can enjoy 90 minutes of private inflatable fun and 30 minutes in a private celebration room. Each party also can include add-ons such as pizza, popcorn, cotton candy, and soda.
In 1910, Frederick Nelis sent his 17-year-old son Harry from the Netherlands to America in search of land so that the family of 14 could later join him across the pond. After a tough couple of years, the clan discovered a settlement in Holland, Michigan, whose rich soils proved ideal for growing tulips.
Over the course of the next eight decades, the Nelis’ 80-acre tulip farm blossomed into the theme park it is today. Still family operated and brought to life by the Netherlands’ signature blooms, the park is now home to myriad attractions for all ages. Traditional Dutch dancers don wooden shoes and lead lessons for visitors, and artisans hand carve candles into intricate masterpieces or slightly smaller candles. As guests stroll to the Dutch swing, petting zoo, or carousel, the notes from an Amsterdam street organ float through winding canals and over the looming windmills that, at a glance, may momentarily transport guests to the Netherlands as Harry Nelis last saw it in 1910.