At Derby Family Entertainment Center, bowlers coast toward high scores atop 24 lanes outfitted with automatic scoring and bumpers for younger guests. On the weekends, cosmic bowling casts a celestial glow across frames. And during karaoke Fridays, competitors exchange balls for a microphone to serenade nearby pins until they fall over or at least pick up the bar tab. Away from the synthetic playing field, a 1,100-square-foot arcade jingles and jangles with games for all ages, and cheers leak out from inside Kegler's Sports Bar and Grill, which often broadcasts WSU or Kansas City Chiefs games on a massive, 60-inch screen.
A purely recreational facility, Frog Holler Paintball accommodates players age 10 and older across 25 acres of outdoor playing fields. The battle zone spans grounds of tall grasses and scrubby trees interspersed with sheltered hiding spots behind particleboard structures, tractor tires, and overgrown marshmallow bushes. Frog Holler Paintball supplies equipment, paint, and CO2 refills, and opens its fields to walk-on players during the weekend and groups of 15 or more on weekdays.
A chain of lakes runs through Hidden Lakes Golf Course, intersecting the land from the southwest to the northwest corner. When surveying the plot ahead of the course's 1958 opening, architect Floyd Farley wanted to capitalize on the chain's natural landscape, and wove the 18 holes around and over the waterways to present a sense of challenge and surprise.
The course name arose organically out of the layout, as did a popularity with golfers that continues to this day. Water is in play on ten holes around the 6,773-yard layout, and trees crowd the fairways on a good deal more. For a better shot at conquering the course or at least posting scores closer to the par of 72, players may need to put some time in at the practice center. Here they can hone accuracy with drivers and irons on the driving range, and build an intimidating aura with forward, backward, and between-the-legs putting strokes on the pair of large practice putting greens.
What do you get when you take the newest gaming consoles, 55-inch televisions, classic games, and load them all up inside a giant truck? That's what Jason and Wendy Brines decided to find out when they founded Mobile GameDen in 2011. Unlike traditional arcades, Mobile GameDen brings the excitement straight to customers' doorsteps. Their gaming truck can fit up to 24 players inside, but the fun doesn't stop there. They can also bring games of laser tag and archery tag (a combination of paintball and archery) to inspire even more competition. They even offer rides in a 10-foot human hamster ball that sends guests spinning.
Now Mobile GameDen has expanded its gaming reach by organizing events that extend beyond the virtual fun zone. In 2013, its inaugural Pumpkin Palooza festival in Sedgwick County Park includes costume contests, pumpkin chunkin and painting, candy stations, and a live DJ.
When award-winning percussionist Paul Peterson isn't showcasing his rhythmic skills live, he trains budding beat keepers at Backbeat Percussion Studios. During private lessons, he focuses not only on more common instruments, such as drum sets and snare drums, but on what he calls total percussion. This encompasses most of an orchestra's percussion section, from the rumbling timpani to the soft patter of two pillows banging against one another. Such well roundness lends Paul's students an advantage as they audition for ensembles such as drum lines or all-state orchestras. Equally useful are Paul's group lessons, where activities like drum circles help pupils adjust to playing with other musicians.
At The Strike Zone, batters of any age can practice their baseball or softball swings against the pitches of fast- and slow-speed machines. Machines' pitching height can also be adjusted to accommodate guests' varying heights or a child's minute-to-minute growth spurts. When the batting cages aren't being used, kids can practice their form with the help of a T-ball stand. Shaved ice in 60 flavors keeps batters cool and refreshed throughout the day.