The designers of Playland Fun Center wanted to create attractions that engaged the entire family. So they ensured that their 18-hole mini-golf course enthralled both tiny putters and adults by including a looming T-Rex, oversized penguin in a top hat, and large pink bunny rabbit that resembles mature weatherman Willard Scott. Pink and green speed mobiles zip drivers around a curvy course bordered by wind-swept grass and a streaming creek, while indoors the arcade glows in the light of video games and air-hockey tables. A team of cooks mans Bonkers Pizzeria, serving families large slices and pitchers of pop before sending them off to troll the terrifying halls of the on-site haunted house.
Soft surfaces are everywhere inside Castaway Play Cafe. This makes for an ideal play area for kids?and their parents for that matter. Tykes, along with their accompanying grown-ups, can conquer bounce houses before continuing the fun on one of the slides, atop a suspension bridge, or inside a special toddler area. Nearby, the lights dim inside a laser tag arena, where neon surfaces glow and friends and family duke it out with beams of light. On special occasions, the facility hosts all-night lock-ins, during which youngsters can sing karaoke, play arcade games, or debate the merits of agrarian social structures until their parents come and pick them up in the morning.
Castaway Play Cafe earns the last word in its name by housing a full-service restaurant in its facility. Here, cooks bake pizzas and bread sticks, assemble chicken wraps, and pile bacon and cheese atop burgers.
At Glow Golfin', there are no light fixtures. This isn't because the company has a long-standing beef with the estate of Thomas Alva Edison either. Rather, it's because its 18-hole indoor golf course is illuminated by glow-in-the-dark murals. Each piece of neon art depicts a picturesque woodland scene or classic underwater tableau, such as a school of fish or an undulating patch of seaweed. Given its uniquely festive environment, it's no wonder that Glow Golfin' also specializes in throwing parties for all sorts of occasions, including birthdays for kids and leisurely hangouts for adults.
When you step into Mirror Maze Frankenmuth, make sure it's a good-hair day?you're going to be seeing a lot of yourself. Inside, thousands of mirrors line seemingly never-ending hallways, bouncing infinite reflections from one arched passageway to the next. The dizzying path sends families and friends around unseen corners, turns them in circles, and leads them into dead-ends, effectively creating a different experience every time through. Much like a hairstylist who loves pranks, a few of the mirrors also play games with explorers' appearances.
At Whirlyball Novi, teams in motorized cars call whirlybugs spin and bump their way through one-hour bouts of a competitive wiffle-ball game that combines aspects of basketball, hockey, and jai alai. Bright red and yellow whirlybugs, powered by electricity and the tears of the defeated, race across a 4,000-square-foot court as their drivers toss balls to each other with plastic scoops. Referees keep track of each team's score as friends look on from the comfortable leather couches of the lounge. After matches, teams sip on drinks from the bar, feast on one of several meal packages, or continue calling each other "liver-licking kumkwats" over games of pool.
Voted No. 4 in the Top 10 Birthday Chains for Kid Birthday Parties in 2010 by Parents magazine, Pump It Up pulses with inflatable play sets and actually encourages kids to bounce off the walls. Within the indoor playground, a stalwart staff oversees the neighborhood of bounce houses and air-filled playthings, such as a classic bounce castle and slick inflatable slide that cushions children's heartfelt reenactments of Cool Runnings. Throughout the week, families can pop in for open play, or tote along their own mini entourage for birthday-party packages complete with private rooms and complimentary invites. Parties come as straightforward packages or as themed events that place the birthday child in structured story adventures where they take on the role of a mighty and clever superhero or pirate captain that drank too much saltwater.