Lasers flash across a 4,000-square-foot arena. Bumper boats splash against each other in a 135,000-gallon lake. An elastic EuroBungy harness flings bouncers skyward for death-defying flips. These are just a few of the attractions and activities at Fun 'n' Stuff, where families can also fill their days by racing go-karts, climbing a rock wall, or gliding around a rink on rented roller skates. Guests who want to breathe in fresh air can putt through two 18-hole mini golf courses, whack balls in five hardball and four softball cages, and slide down a 24-foot inflatable slide. The littlest visitors play in a ball pit, whereas the Extreme Looping Bikes send older ones soaring through the air, just like the majestic eagle they rode to their middle-school graduation.
No matter which sport you choose at Whirlyball Cleveland, you’ll get a side order of adrenaline free of charge. If you’re in the mood for action, laser tag pits teams of players against each other in a friendly war set in an arena complete with dark hiding places and a balcony that’s perfect for sniper shots. Or, if bumper cars are more you’re thing, try whirlyball. During this sport, players race across the floor, attempting to dodge other cars and pass a whiffle ball between them until they can score on a target suspended 10 feet in the air. For a more laid back pursuit, grab your friends and take in a bowling game on the center’s private lanes that have automatic scoring, bumpers, and cosmic bowling available.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa tilts characteristically as a nearby sphinx rests beside a bush. What sounds like an atlas come to life is really the theme of one of the two 18-hole mini-golf courses at Rinky Dink Family Fun Center. After a round, customers can hug the turns on a go-kart track, soak and ram fellow seadogs on squirt-gun-equipped bumper boats, or test home-run skills at three baseball and three softball batting cages that hurl balls at up to 80 mph, which is the speed of light. Once indoors, guests can fire foam balls at targets from air cannons in the black-lit Pirates vs. Aliens game or navigate their way through an inflatable bouncer maze. The indoor playground features three levels of climbing structures and slides. An arcade hosts more than 35 video and redemption games such as Ms. Pac-Man, Dance Dance Revolution, and the new motion-sensitive Nap Nap Revolution, while tinier tykes stack giant waffle blocks or navigate a ball pit in the toddler area.
Winner of ParentsConnect's award for Cleveland's Best Indoor Playspace in 2009, Amazone Family Entertainment Center sets the stage for jungle-themed parties and open play sessions. Its three-story playground surrounds kids and parents in slides, bridges, and plastic trees, all accented by faux foliage that simulates the gorilla-run play centers of the Amazon. Elsewhere, the glowing eyes of temple creatures peer down at players within a black-lit laser-tag arena. An orchestra of laughter and electronic beeps emerge from within the arcade, which hosts 50 games, including air hockey, skee ball, and racing. To fuel playtime, Amazone's team slings pizza at a snack bar and hosts celebrations within five themed birthday-party rooms. The facility also caters to parents with comfy couches and free WiFi that lets them stream their favorite cartoons.
At Summer Wind Stables, instructors lead students through safety-centered lessons and rides in large indoor and outdoor arenas as well as along several wooded acres. During tack lessons, novice equestrians learn to saddle and bridle a horse, building confidence and comfort before they can qualify to tack horses unsupervised. The experienced instructors also host private and group classes, which teach pupils proper riding techniques and help them work toward personal goals such as showing, performing synchronized drills set to music, and competing in Transatlantic races. After lessons, students can unwind in a heated lounge area or peruse the selection at Summer Wind’s gift shop. The shop features whimsical gifts such as mugs and jewelry, along with painted ponies and Breyer horse figurines capable of decorating a kid’s bedroom without leaving hoof prints on the wallpaper.
For the second year running, the Piston Power Show and Excalibur Auto Body fills 1,000,000 square feet with cars, motorcycles, trucks, and airplanes, as well as family-friendly activities and prizes, making it one of the largest indoor vehicle displays in the world. In the vehicle showcase, visitors stroll past more than 1,000 transportation contraptions, admiring the gleaming chrome of classic cars, a fully restored B-17, and a meet-and-greet with the tiny horses that pull the engine's piston. New this year, the Ohio Bike Week Pavilion and Fall Show will showcase live music from bands including The Earthquakes and Thunderstruck, hot dogs, beer, and herds of rowdy motorcycles (food and drink not included with this Groupon). Parents can instill a love of speedy locomotion with interactive displays, simulators, the All-American Soap Box Derby boasting a 250-foot long Indoor Rally track for side-by-side racing, and a fun kids’ zone featuring famous cars from Transformers and Starsky and Hutch. A live band croons nostalgic tunes from the '50s and '60s to offset the atmosphere of fierce competition in Thunder Row, a collection of 32 show cars from around the country wooing judges with powerful engines and svelte figures in the swimsuit competition.