Engines roar across a tire-lined track, where single and double go-karts speed through turns and on toward victory. Alongside a track for junior go-karts, this is only one of the attractions that greets visitors to The Zone. Baseballs soar across the batting cages' mesh big-top tent, and the mini-golf course dots its baize landscape with obstacles such as miniature barns or tiny warehouses filled with smaller replicas of the mini-golf course. Indoors, video games fill an arcade with a symphony of electronic beeps, while party rooms play host to shindigs with themes such as princesses and activities such as crafts.
Hot Shots Family Fun Center enchants guests of all ages with four outdoor attractions. Three streams, six ponds, and a waterfall line the par-40 miniature golf course, cultivating peace of mind as players grapple with creative hazards. Friends can test their fear factor on the 24-foot drop slide, attack one another with a barrage of cushy Nerf balls using Cannonball Air Blasters or enjoy the Hot Shots bounce house. Everyone enjoys the food at the Nineteenth Hole Cafe, where adults can even enjoy a sip while kids wear themselves down.
On the scenic Smith Mountain Lake, run-about motorboats and WaveRunners create arcing, white-capped wakes atop the water. Nearby, slower-moving pontoons host anglers and picnickers. The captains of each of these vessels owe their enjoyable day to the family-owned Hales Ford Marina & Boat Rentals, which loans its equipment to locals and visitors alike. In addition to pairing clients with the right boat, staffers also perform repairs and maintenance, including winterization for a variety of vehicles.
Captain Josh Laferty channels more than two decades of experience fishing the local waters to help people find and reel in striped bass from Smith Mountain Lake. During his chartered trips, up to three fishermen hang out on an Angler center-console boat equipped with refreshments, safety gear, and fishing equipment such as Orvis fly tackle and Outcast planer boards. Since the boat comes stocked with everything needed for a day—or half-day—of fishing, participants only need to bring their Virginia freshwater-fishing license and arrive dressed in season-appropriate apparel and mermaid tails.
While stationed on Long Island to conduct secret war research for the U.S. government during World War II, O. Winston Link started snapping photographs of the Long Island Railroad tracks behind his lab. Eager to capture large-scale railroad pictures at night, he built his own customized flash equipment. After the war, Link harnessed that creative curiosity by spending five years photographing the Norfolk and Western Railway, the last large steam-powered American railroad. From his 20 trips to the railway's tracks in four states, Link collected 2,400 pictures.
His work didn't garner attention until the 1980s, when he published his first collection of railroad photos in the lauded book Steam, Steel & Stars. The West Virginia Historical Society continues to preserve his legacy with the O. Winston Link Museum, which showcases Link's Norfolk and Western project while filling in its historical context. Throughout seven galleries, patrons hear the sounds of bustling locomotive engines, adjust the lighting of an interactive diorama's photograph, and ogle Link's original photographic equipment, including flashbulbs, power boxes, and super power boxes. The museum underscores its edifying galleries with a plentitude of tours, workshops, and ongoing photography programs.
Beyond the Green Indoor Golf & Sportsbar grants players the chance to play a round at a virtual recreation of a famous course with its high-definition golf simulator and refuel with pub-style fare. Playing partners set off without need for a cart and smack real golf balls into a highly realistic image of their chosen course. The screen captures each stroke's distance and spin rate and analyzes the mechanics of the player's swing to identify the causes of any undesired results. The onsite grille's lunch and dinner menus refuel golfers with Chicago–style hot dogs and sourdough sandwiches, which are much more satisfying than their virtual counterpart—bananas stolen from unsuspecting Donkey Kongs.