A hardwood maple skating rink shines beneath the glow of neon lights at Funtime Skate Center. In the middle of the rink, a checkered zone invites beginners to get a feel for their wheels as experienced skaters make laps around the rink's outer edge. The rink also does double duty on select days, hosting the Tragic City Rollers as they slingshot and skate their way toward victory and the pride that comes with never wearing shoes. In addition to skating and snacking at the on-site Funtime Café, the center houses four party rooms primed for birthday parties large or small. And, on Friday and Saturday nights, cosmic lighting and sound effects transform the facility into a world of wonderment and gossip-worthy handholding.
Though giant gorillas aren't indigenous to Alabama, there is a place where you can spot one: Adventure Park at Grants Mill. Zip-lines send riders soaring past a towering sculpture of the aforementioned ape as it clutches a helpless victim in one over-sized hand. Other parts of the complex are brimming with their own treasures: a restored train engine and train car planted in the parking lot house a sports bar and casual restaurant. Visitors can also bounce between an elevated ropes course, remote-control race car track, bungee dome, water wheel, and miniature golf course.
Walking into Off the Wall, parents and kids probably notice very different things. The grown-up eye of an adult, for instance, might immediately spot the facility's lounge, complete with plush recliners, massage chairs, and a huge TV. Children, on the other hand, perceive a seemingly endless space?12,000 square feet, to be exact?in which to explore and play. While parents gravitate toward the lounge, youngsters set loose across Off the Wall's colorful landscape, which includes tunnels, slides, ball pits, bounce houses, and even an arcade.
Brunswick Zone has been a trusted name in recreational pin pulverizing for more than a century, providing good times to patrons across the country. Friends and families season afternoons with a pleasant peppering of strikes, spares, and easygoing gutter balls under classic bowling conditions, or take the next bold step in ball-hurling evolution and engage in a round of cosmic bowling, where dancing lights, thumping tunes, and black-lit gear light up the full sensorium. At XL locations, game rooms beckon with nimble joystick workouts on classic and modern arcade games.
Sips n Strokes gifts paintbrush-wielding neophytes the tools and confidence to create, with a mélange of masterpiece-making tutorials and a bring-your-own-beverage policy. Artists can elect a class from the shop's calendar to hone the painting style that best complements their home, office, or neighbor's windshield, including picks of imagery from Parisian scenes to funky roosters. Each course, led by an instructor well versed in the trade, pairs well with the liquid inspiration of each student's choosing. Silence-seeking artists or easily corruptible mimes may opt for an afternoon or weeknight session, as the weekends generally garner 20 to 50 rowdy rookies.
MaFIAoZA's is based after a 1920's New York pizzeria and neighborhood pub and pays homage to the robust simplicity of Italian cooking by crafting fresh, seasonal dishes for lunch and dinner. Un-cage creativity and build your own pie ($2.75/slice, $9.75/12", $13.75/18"), or try a specialty pizza such as the Last Request ($19/$26), a colorful medley of black olives, pepperoni, salami, Italian sausage, Portobello mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, garlic, crumpled pages of romance novels, green peppers, red onion and jalapeños. The Consigliere ($12) is a hearty helping of meat lasagna sure to quench a rumbling appetite, and the caprese salad ($7 for small, $11 for regular) is an affable mountain of homemade mozzarella, tomatoes, and a chiffonnade of basil drizzled in a balsamic reduction. The welcoming eatery also often features live music to placate ears that are jealous of the stomach’s bliss.