Happy shouts float across Swings-N-Things Family Fun Park, whipping out of the mouths of drivers racing around go-kart tracks and captains ricocheting off one another in bumper boats. The satisfying clunk of colorful spheres falling into holes on the mini-golf course perks up ears in the sprawling complex of indoor and outdoor attractions. Go-kart drivers whiten their knuckles behind the wheel of 9-horsepower Honda engines, tearing through a quarter mile of twists and turns on the Grand Prix track as if it were a high-school principal’s lawn. Alternatively, patrons frolic across the park’s two outdoor mini-golf courses before practicing their aim in a laser shootout game, and children ages 10 and younger scramble their socked feet over slides and rides inside the Kids Korner indoor play area. Swings-N-Things Family Fun Park is easily accessible from the area's major highways.
Synergy Paintball aims to be a way of giving back to the community by offering a safe place to have fun and expend pent-up energy. As if in agreement, youthful shouts ring out from across the arena's 35 acres, punctuated by the whispery noise of paintballs cutting through the fresh air. The style of play varies across multiple playing fields, which serve as venues for games of capture the flag and speedball. In the jungle area, camouflaged warriors crouch and tumble between towering trees and shimmy among tufts of low brush. Snipers stash themselves atop mounds of dirt or in the beds of dump trucks in another field.
The park has also played host to United States military reserves tactical training, an exercise that filled the park with humvees and transport vehicles before the beginning of a mock Medevac evacuation.
Hearing a cacophony of three-shots burst into the air but unable to see where it's coming from, a player decides to force his foes to reveal their positions by waiting patiently in the roots of an uprooted tree. Such natural cover lies throughout the backwoods field at Valley City Paintball, where combatants traverse terrain from wooded hills to a creek bed to stacks of fallen timber. The referees maintain safe conditions for all levels of players, showing guests a safety video and leading a field briefing before supervising games such as Defend the Tree and two-team Card Collector with re-spawn. Overseen by veteran Brian Gunkelman––who served four years in the 82nd Airborne and currently continues service through the Ohio Air National Guard––Valley City's team members allow up to 28 players on the field at a time. They also encourage visitors to take advantage of the natural cover, whether by wearing ghillie suits or painting a watercolor still life during the thick of battle.
Splat Shack Paintball's tree-laden battlegrounds camouflage paint-slinging soldiers behind a wooded pine field as they weave in and out of various natural obstacles. Before taking to the warzone, visitors strap themselves with a market and the appropriate safety accouterments, such as masks and '80s parachute pants. Players then unleash themselves on the field, spraying 500 CO2-powered paintballs across two elevated forts and several small bunkers. In addition to natural cover, a realistic airplane fuselage and nosecone cultivate a video-game-style aesthetic across the high-energy landscape. The expansive grounds facilitates various types of paintball matches, including speedball, capture the flag, and Terminator 5: Escape From Gullah Gullah Island.
Splat Paintball provides a fun and exciting outdoor environment where brave paintslingers of all skill levels can practice their marksmanship, relieve the stresses of everyday life, and alleviate the guilt of midnight refrigerator raids. With your mask securely in place, your eyes will be safe from blindness and your secret superhero identity protected from inquisitive minds. Sneak stealthily through purple mountain majesties, amber waves of grain, and blue-bespeckled tree trunks as you attempt to capture the enemy’s flag. As you crawl on your belly over rocks and dash between bunkers with the whiz of small paint-filled capsules humming past your ears, open fire while tucking, rolling, and shouting in slow-motion until your enemies, best friends, or coworkers have all been decimated in a splatter of color. The game ends when a flag has been captured, despoiling opponents of the bragging rights guaranteed them by an early, paint-flecked draft of the U.S. Constitution.
Intense Paintball outfits splatter-happy tandems for a day of chromatic noncarnage. Each hue-slinger is outfitted with a paintball gun, mask, CO2, and 250 paint rounds before diving into the industrial ambience of Intense Paintball's indoor playing facility. Belly crawl across the soft woodchip floor, take cover behind air bunkers and barrels, and deftly leapfrog ghosts of matches past as you and your compatriots eliminate challengers one blissful be-spattering at a time. Participants can purchase additional rounds or replace broken crayon bayonets from the fully stocked pro shop. See the site for open play times, and call ahead to reserve your spot.
Your hands wrap around the grip of a Tippmann marker. Multicolored spheres fly past you, spattering the trees and cutting air inches from your mask. Through the foliage, you can see half a plane buried nose-first in a clearing, one of many obstacles concealing potential foes. At SplatterPark, this good-natured combat sprawls across the adrenaline-soaked turf of 12 outdoor fields and 40 wooded and open acres adjacent to a lake. Warriors battle through capture-the-flag, base-defense, and other scenarios in themed arenas with adventurous names including Fort Buckeye, Snake Pit, and Dark Forest. Each field is suited to at least three types of play, but only the regular type of physics, and shouts of camaraderie echo off paint-flecked cover such as a broken-down school bus and a wooden-slat fort. In preparing for battle, combatants strap on rental or purchased gear under covered staging shelters, happy in the knowledge that their biodegradable paint ammunition will be harmlessly washed away by the elements or bears doing community service.The arena's surreal terrain was featured in the intense combat of Greg Hastings' Tournament Paintball, a video game from Activision, but the real park caters to players of all abilities and ages. At an onsite café, hot dogs and burgers refuel warriors and allow them to tell if their nemeses are actually target dummies with no appetite, and the pro shop's staff bustles among markers, accessories, and spare parts.