Champion over the intimidating attractions gracing all 18 holes at Monster Mini Golf, which contains enough geometric challenges to make the course interesting for all ages. Navigate your dimpled, glowing orb past gobbling goblins, disgruntled dark trees, impolite specters, sleeping ogres, and frightened businessmen. While playing or standing in awe of the 3-D course, guests can listen for Monster Mini Golf’s own in-house radio station, "W.I.R.D. (Weird Radio)," whose live, on-site DJ doles out prizes to minigolfers based on random criteria such as having multiple noses or the best high five.
“A synthetic turf-covered love letter to Washington.” That’s what Fritz Hahn of the Washington Post had to say about H Street Country Club after visiting the nearly 7,000-square-foot bar at the heart of the Atlas District. Yet Hahn wasn’t talking about the eatery’s decadent food; he was commenting on the space's devilishly tricky indoor golf course. During each nine-hole outing—for adults 21+—putters encounter the Lincoln Theatre, Ben’s Chili Bowl, and the titanic grasping hands of a half-submerged Marion Barry. As if a trip to the links wasn’t enough to work up an appetite, the entire first floor of H Street tempts gamers with skee-ball, shuffleboard, and wall-vs-human staring contests—all within an arm’s reach of margaritas, mojitos, and other specialty drinks.
Upstairs, a glass panel filled with retired golf balls gazes out over artist and contributing decorator Lee T. Wheeler’s talents, which alight upon everything from the sculptures crafted from repurposed birdhouses to the bar’s cushy lounge seating. The design sets the stage for executive chef Pablo Cardoso’s upscale take on classic Mexican food, with tables welcoming grilled skirt steak splayed over "cowboy" beans, a half chicken paired with yuca, and fajitas stuffed with still-sizzling shrimp. For dessert, the chef stuffs crisp empanadas with sweet mangoes, topping the confection with creamy ice cream and a note to get out of gym class for a week.
It’s 1:29 p.m. and the wave pool at Great Waves Waterpark has been calm for nine minutes. The mood on the surface, however, is anything but. An anticipatory energy has been transmitted through the water as sunbathers migrate from the sun deck, giddy youngsters from the various kids’ areas, and thrill seekers from one of the park’s waterslides. The anticipation ends at 1:30 p.m. when three 80-horsepower motors begin to churn the large fans that whip the pool’s 475,000 gallons of water into waves as high as four feet for 10 minutes. This increment of waves—10 minutes on, 10 minutes off—runs like clockwork at the 20-acre facility, which also features dry attractions such as miniature golf, batting cages, and grassy areas for practicing the backstroke.
In addition to offering sun-soaked thrills of simulated waves, the park's Paradise Play boasts 30-foot slides, pogo sticks, rock walls, and a non-aqueous playground area. A faux beach with sand invites revelers to unwind while snacking on a funnel cake purchased from Riptide Café, while a nearby play pool with pint-sized slides lets little riders get into the summertime mix. After a full day of sliding and swimming, guests may purchase souvenirs from the Shark Shack gift shop.
?A lot of players look at the card and think because it?s short that they?re going to play their all-time best round of golf and end up spending a lot of time in the woods,? says head professional Joan Lovelace of the course at Fairway Hills Golf Club. The Ron Pritchard?designed course ?which stays neatly within the bounds of 6,158 yards?doesn?t just get its bite from the woodlands about which Lovelace warns. Water comes into play on 12 of the 18 holes, and the second fairway?s wicked dogleg right and stream-guarded bentgrass green costars with collarless shirts in many golfers? nightmares. The links wind down with a hope-inspiring 18th hole, where golfers with the right mix of skill and luck can make a birdie.
Adjacent to the course?s bermuda-grass fairways, the club?s practice facilities invite players to demolish buckets of balls at a turf range, cleat across a chipping area, or practice whipping a putter out of its holster and twirling it around their thumb. Lessons with the club?s PGA professionals are also available to help hone games.
Course at a Glance:
Though the designers of Columbia SportsPark might have squabbled over how many batting cages to build or whether the mini-golf course should have a waterfall, they unanimously agreed on one factor—the park should be a place for families to spend time together. Today, their collaboration fulfills that mission with a sprawling 15,000-square-foot playground of family-friendly recreational activities. Along the 18-hole mini-golf course, lush plants, gushing waterfalls, and pristine ponds recreate the peaceful feel of a tropical garden or DMV lobby. Skaters pull off stunts at the 15,000-square foot outdoor skate facility with ramps, pipes, and a four-foot spine, while batters slug practice balls in cages equipped with professional fast- and slow-pitching machines. Beyond the daily family outings, Columbia SportsPark regularly hosts camps, skate lessons, and community gatherings throughout the year.
At the Columbia Association, visitors find not only a place to work out, swim, or enjoy the great outdoors, but a place to connect with the local community and get to know their neighbors. Families take in live music by the lakefront during summer festivals, or glide across the ice at the public rink. Meanwhile, aspiring athletes build muscle, flexibility, and form with practice at indoor and outdoor tennis courts, or regular trips to the high-tech Columbia Gym. Columbia Association also helps its members maintain a healthy lifestyle with a wide variety of facilities, including nearby golf courses, 23 swimming pools, and even an attached horse center, where humans can learn to ride and horses can get in shape for swimsuit season.