Tropical Gardens Miniature Golf strips away the cartoonish aspects of the game found on many courses, instead situating its 18 putting greens amid a diverse landscape of ponds and blooming floras. As a waterfall trickles nearby, a flamboyance of fake flamingos perches under the shade of a tree, silently observing golfers' mannerisms to use in their upcoming novel. Aside from navigating the miniature fairways, players can swing at baseballs in the batting cages or reunite quarters with their captive brethren in the video arcade.
Tarheel Lanes Bowling Center celebrates the fine art of pin demolition with sleek, modern alleys set within a smoke-free facility. Arriving visitors are paired with a pair of bowling shoes designed to leave lanes un-scuffed and toes un-stubbed, before claiming a lane for two games’ worth of strikes, spares, and stern lectures to balls residing in the gutter. An automatic scoring system keeps cheating at bay and math skills dormant, and an on-site snack bar and game room encourages players to linger in the family-friendly facility long after the 10th frame. Tarheel Lanes is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday–Thursday and until midnight on Friday and Saturday.
By engineering an indoor, upwards-facing wind tunnel, the brilliant minds behind Flyaway Indoor Skydiving have managed to recreate the adrenalized thrill of freefalling sans the previously required airplane. In the studio’s unique flight room, ersatz divers hover several feet above ground as wind-powered force neutralizes the effects of gravity around them. While a typical outdoor skydive lasts only about a minute, Flyaway delivers a minimum of three straight minutes of simulated freefall, ensuring massive endorphin rushes and flashbacks to past lives spent as a Canadian goose. Before liftoff, the facility’s experienced trainers fill visitors in on everything they need to know about body control, safety procedures, and effective screaming techniques. Classes begin every 30 minutes and operate on a first come, first serve basis. Height and weight restrictions apply.
Piloted by Coast Guard-licensed captains who have gone through comprehensive training, Smoky Mountain Jet Boat Rides glide passengers across the waters of Lake Fontana. Tours begin with a five-minute trip to the Almond boat dock, where water tourists board their barges and drift down the Nantahala River toward Lake Fontana. During 40-minute excursions, eyes are enveloped by a vista of The Great Smoky Mountains, as vessels whiz atop still waters leaving sailboats and out-of-gas speedboats in their wake. A lifelong devotee to the tourism industry, Smokey Mountain president Nick Williams heads a crew that delicately assembles each watercraft used for touring speed-thirsty voyagers. Structures based on the New Zealand Style Jet Boat allow Smoky Mountain's schooners to perform impressive aquatic escapades, such as spinning within their own length and impersonating animatronic sharks. There are no restrictions on age and expeditions must be scheduled in advance.
What sets your business apart?
There is everything you could imagine in an amusement center. We have four different go-kart tracks, eight different kiddie rides, including a 70-foot Ferris wheel, and three thrill rides: the Sling Shot, SkyScraper, and the 700-foot long, 80-foot high zipline. Fun Stop also features a state of the art arcade with the latest games.
What inspired you to start or run this business?
My dad and grandfather have been in the amusement business for over 20 years. Personally, I had always dreamed of making a career in the amusement industry myself. That dream became a reality in November of 2011. I truly do love this business, and what I love most is our great customers from literally all over the world.
What is your most popular offering?
Our most popular rides are the Sling Shot and the SkyScraper. Our go-karts are also popular because they are the fastest in town.
With guidance from the friendly staff at Lazer Port Fun Center, spontaneous family adventures can begin with laps around the three-story go-kart track. Visiting racers and thrill-seeking spools of twine wind around corners, maneuver along helixes, and plunge down a 40-foot hill, before seeking out indoor adventures. 14,000 square feet of laser-tag landscape invite photon-fighting visitors to participate in 30-minute skirmishes, speeding across black-lit terrain and taking refuge behind alien figures while cosmic landscapes flicker in the background. After an engaging battle, visitors can settle into a 30-minute groove through the outer-space-themed mini-golf course. Cratered asteroids throw neon-yellow light on green fairways as they navigate between crashed spacecrafts, maintaining focus despite the heckling of gravity. The mesmerizing haze of LEDs and bells beckons visitors onward toward the arcade for ticket-churning rounds of prize games.
Zorb Smoky Mountains holds the distinction of being the only Zorb site in the country. Born in New Zealand, Zorb globe riding is a sport that involves an inflatable globe and downhill trips, which may cause riders to roll so fast they think they are tearing a hole in the time-space continuum. The hills themselves are specially designed for globe riding and feature both straight and zigzagged trails.