Although Sapora Playworld's mascot Rocky the polar bear lives miles from the South Pole, he's rarely seen without his signature scarf. He doles out free hugs to birthday-party guests, then points them to the indoor playground. Soft surfaces cushion kids as they clamber up ramps and shuttle down slides. The main playground is safe for kids aged 5 to 12. Tots aged 4 and younger enjoy a separate area, where they can plot ways to steal the last piece of pizza.
Featuring a menagerie of handcrafted fantasy animals, Coral Ridge’s turn-of-the-century reproduction carousel glitters at the heart of this shopping, dining, and entertainment destination. A team of mall-housed elves put 100 hours into hand finishing each animal, chariot, and paddy wagon atop the rotating platform. Ride mammal-saddle aboard a racing cheetah, stately horse, or friendly elephant. A charming light show emanates from the ride’s mirrored panels and hundreds of pinpoint ceiling lights, and a lighted ribbon rests atop the carousel’s crown, acting as a beacon to hordes of children and friendly manticores. Nestled among department stores, an edible food court, the Iowa Children’s Museum, and much more, the 10-ride carousel punch card stands ready to punctuate days of happy diversion.
Despite being a relatively young organization, the RoughRiders have done an impressive job of filling up their trophy case. The team officially moved from Mason City to Cedar Rapids in 1999, leaving behind their Huskies moniker in the process. It’s been one accomplishment after another ever since. In 2005, the RoughRiders claimed their first Clark Cup as champions of the USHL. That same season, they brought home the Anderson Cup, too, for posting the league’s best record during the regular season—a feat they repeated in 2011. RoughRiders fans have witnessed much of this success at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena. Known affectionately as The Stable for its rowdy, but family friendly atmosphere, the arena echoes with clanging cowbells on game days to celebrate goals and drive away feral Zambonis lurking outside the building.
Aside from hosting the Oregon youth hockey program, the nonprofit Oregon Community Sports Arena welcomes ice dancers to its multifunctional indoor rink for open skate, family skate, open hockey, and speed skating. Hockey and broomball teams occupy the icy terrain throughout the week, and expert instructors oversee regular skating schools and athletic camps on the frosty floors. An onsite shop supplies skaters with apparel and used sporting goods, and a large community room hosts regular open martial-arts classes and can accommodate birthday parties of up to 150 guests or 500 Lilliputians.