Volcano Falls Adventure Park's unlimited pass gives merriment-seekers a temporarily infinite supply of go-carting, laser tag, and miniature golf. The Lazer Zone allows young ones to grab light-shooting blasters and set out against their peers in futuristic battles or reenact the numerous laser skirmishes of Genghis Khan. A slick, bridge-laden go-cart track affords rubber-burners a six-minute spin around its lanes, and a kiddie track lets tykes join in on the zippy fun. Volcano Falls boasts two waterfall-flanked mini golf courses, including the 18-hole Palm course, which transplants putt-putt players to a tropical island setting surrounded by faux flora and fauna, as well as numerous marooned Tom Hanks wax figures.
The sun and the stars serve as constant companions at Hillcrest Event Center, where a 9-hole golf course, a swimming pool, and camping grounds entertain visitors day and night. A breezy par 30, the executive course caters to all experience levels, inviting beginners to take on its short holes while letting seasoned golfers hone their approach shots. After navigating the water hazards, guests can purposely head to the Olympic-sized swimming pool, which ripples at the center of a 3,000-square-foot sundeck where waiters serve poolside food and drinks. Or, dine at The BBQ Pit, home of the Illinois BBQ Fest.
As the sun sets, the crackling glow of fires peppers the campgrounds, illuminating the nylon sides of tents or canvas hulls of mobile RVs. Tent sites include access to the resort's hot showers and restrooms, while the RV facilities' hookups pump water and electricity into mobile homes so residents can bathe in private and use electric carving knives for whittling. When the sun rises, residents can begin their day with a hike on the resort's nature trails.
With iridescent miniature golf courses in malls throughout North America, Glowgolf adds elements of phosphorescent fun to shopping sessions. Courses contain sights such as light-defying blush corals, incandescent animals, and lush foliage reminiscent of the glowing trees on Neptune. Each pass is good for three 18-hole games, giving golfers ample opportunity to get familiar with each hole's obstacles. Equipment is available on the spot, so players won't have to carry around personal clubs or seek out a bioluminescent caddie.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that Chestnut Mountain seems made for skiing?technically it is. The minds behind this resort transformed 220 rolling acres of snow into 19 trails, which crisscross a combined 475-foot vertical drop. Because the routes range from novice to Black Diamond, skiers of all skill levels can participate.
Another thing that makes the resort accessible to everyone: The Village Ski Center, which equips visitors with all the gear they need to conquer the mountain and all the Three's Company trivia they need to pass by its ice trolls. Here, 50 guides and instructors train students in skiing and snowboarding. During this training they often make use of the resort's Farside Terrain Park, where more than 25 rails let boarders practice tricks.
The resort even encompasses a few things that have nothing to do with snow, including three onsite restaurants and a handful of summer activities, namely mini golf and scenic cruises of the Mississippi River.
Patchy forest to the north and 265th Street to the south border Cedar Valley Golf Course, separating the grassy haven from miles of Iowa farmland on the other side. Within the oasis lie ponds that enter play on all but five of the holes, including hole 13, where the green juts out into a large water hazard that regularly swallows up overly-forceful approaches. Players will find themselves facing other risk-reward scenarios throughout their bout with the course, such as on hole 5, where they must either lay up or go for the green, and on hole 16, where they must decide between hitting a 210-yard shot that carries the water or just picking the ball up and carrying it to the hole.
Course at a Glance:
18-hole, par 71 course
Total length of 6,497 yards from the back tees
Course rating of 71.2 from the back tees
Course slope of 129 from the back tees
Three sets of tees per hole
The Golf Shack Super Driving Range provides golf-ball-wallopers with a place to practice swings year-round, featuring 40 stalls, 20 grass tees, and a bentgrass putting green. Twenty covered stalls stand staunchly next to 20 uncovered stalls, allowing drivers to choose their preferred ambience. Upon entry, visitors receive a basket containing 80 balls, offering golfers a chance to perfect their power drive, take a couple of reps with their new set of irons, or test their experimental rocket-propelled hover-putter. Ambitious Groupon holders also have the option of using all three buckets in one trip.