Visitors enter a gleeful realm of recreation and friendly competition amid the indoor and outdoor attractions of Putt-Putt Golf & Games. The emerald corridors of 54 mini golf holes meander throughout the playscape, forming three 18-hole courses that gradually escalate in both difficulty and the territorial aggression of their native windmills. The thunderous clap of bat barrels smacking line-drives resonates from the baseball and softball cages, where mechanical hurlers sling baseballs at four different speeds and softballs at fast- and slow-pitch standards. More than 50 arcade and ticket-redemption games hungrily devour tokens in the game room, and guests can sate their appetites with pizza ($9 for a large), hot dogs ($1.50), and scoops of Blue Bunny ice cream ($2 for one scoop).
"Tread softly," say players on Insane Paintball’s outdoor forts course. No matter how careful you are on the ground, opponents likely lurk atop the field’s 14 one- and two-story buildings, waiting to strike on the unsuspecting players below. More buildings tower above the wooded field, where teams can take cover behind mounds and old, paint-splattered cars. On the facility’s regulation field, meanwhile, only inflatables stand between you and incoming pellets.
Those pellets fire from Insane Paintball’s semi-automatic rental guns, part of gear packages that include face masks and compressed-air bottles. Snacks await players after long stretches of recreational, scenario, or tournament games, as do shopping sprees inside an on-site 3,500-square-foot retail store. Besides stocking new gear, the store hosts certified technicians, who repair malfunctioning equipment such as guns that only let players load crayon nubs.
Over the course of Winners Circle’s 12 years of entertaining those young and old, families have raced around go-kart tracks, practiced putts on mini-golf greens, and zapped each other with lasers. They’ve also been able to race against each other, the clock, and Christopher Lloyd in running shorts in the Time Freak obstacle race, and more recently, have been able to perfect their swings in indoor and outdoor batting cages. For birthday parties, families can take advantage of a party room, arcade tokens, and pizza from Papa John’s.
Back in 1995, fresh out of college, Shannon Skidmore and his fiancée, Shannan, leased a small 20'x20' building, an old Chevrolet van, and 50 tubes, and took over Smoky Mountain River Rat from its previous owner. Over the next five years, the “Shannons” gradually made the business their own by buying their own property, with Shannon using his contractor license and expertise to erect a new, larger building in just six weeks. Smoky Mountain River Rat has expanded to 500 tubes, two vans, and 20 kayaks, and the business now also offers whitewater rafting on the nearby Pigeon River. Meanwhile, its shuttles transport families up and down the Little River for unlimited daily rides, with customers as young as 2 years old floating down 1.5 miles of tubing-friendly, meandering waters as they trade off verses of old sea chanteys.
Adventures Unlimited lies just past the official boundary of the Blackwater River State Forest and takes advantage of its position by dedicating itself to outdoor excursions. In the five-hour Ultimate Zip Adventure conducted by Zip Adventures, groups of up to eight soar 40 feet above Coldwater Creek's sugar-white sandbars and surrounding forest. Along the way, 14 observation platforms provide access to up to 900-foot ziplines that overlook the rugged terrain. The trip culminates in a climb up a massive spiral staircase to the final launching pad, from which one can see Coldwater Creek meander through the entire forest, forming oxbow lakes and flawless cursive zs. As they glide through the canopies, zipliners might catch a glimpse of the many canoes and kayaks that journey through Coldwater Creek. After arming themselves with a paddle and mounting their floating steed, kayakers impart on 4-, 7-, or 11-mile treks down the river.Between outdoor adventures, many guests at Adventures Unlimited might venture to nearby Milton to eat or gather supplies. Fishing is allowed in Coldwater Creek—home to large-mouth bass, catfish, and pickerel—for those with valid Florida fishing licenses. At night, Adventures Unlimited converts its game field into a planetarium, and stars and constellations shine undisturbed in the rural sky.
The noble squires at Sir Goony's Family Fun Center engineer amusement with a sprawling facility dedicated to outdoor recreation. Towering, inflatable slides draw guests' eyes upward at the splash zone, where voyagers shatter the sound barrier in a near-vertical plunge before braking softly in a pool of water mixed with the joyful tears of Isaac Newton's supporters. An enclave of absurd obstacles—including a professorial owl and an irate tree—await to disrupt putts at the Center's two 18-hole miniature-golf courses, which runs alongside scenic water features and other cheerful decor. At Sir Goony's 800-foot go-kart track, racers hug the tire-cushioned rails, weaving in and out of fellow drivers in single or tandem karts. Guests can soothe itchy trigger fingers and don their favorite pair of sequined protective goggles at the paintball course, which promotes fast-paced action with a relatively open field populated by inflatable obstacles that supply minimal cover.