Sculpted in the lush scenery of George T. Bagby State Park by golf architect Willard Byrd, Meadow Links’ 18-hole, 7,007-yard course unfurls a tapestry of emerald fairways, golden-brown rough, and cerulean waters. Club-toting twosomes can loosen up for the round with a stint at the driving range, where a stash of obedient practice spheres launch themselves into the stratosphere and withhold judgment of players clashing argyle with plaid. The course’s bucolic hills crest behind the tenth green, where players can recapitulate their conquest of the 402-yard par-4 hole in the shade of two pecan trees, a pear tree, and a bush that blooms with divot-repair tools. The relatively difficult links-style course challenges golfers with an omnipresent array of round sand traps and water hazards in play on five holes, though four generous tee options make the course surmountable for duffers of all abilities.
Pirate’s Island Adventure Golf welcomes land-loving children, adults, and seniors for a high-seas putting adventure. Pirate ships, dungeons, caves, and waterfalls adorn the two 18-hole courses of challenging angles and tricky terrain. Play all 36 holes with this all-day pass for multiple chances to win the ultimate hidden treasure—mini-golf bragging rights to lord over your family, colleagues, or date. Experienced club swingers can practice their short game while novice putters can strive for that elusive hole-in-one or the zen-meditation exercise of the hole-in-none.
Although true time travel is still a thing of science fiction, Teddy and Jenny Meeks have captured a similar sensation at Pier Park. In 2009, the couple purchased the 1964 Allan Herschell Carousel that had been an iconic attraction at the now-closed Miracle Strip Amusement Park. The 30 horses and two chariots were immediately swarmed with giddy riders—some children, and some adults who fondly remembered feeding the horses wooden apples at the carousel's former home. The spinning steeds so charmed the locals that Teddy and Jenny began a more comprehensive revival. They bought Miracle Strip's 1985 Balloon Race and 1952 Red Baron rides, and when they couldn't find the park's original 1975 Ferris wheel, they hunted for one of the same make and model.
The Big Eli wheel now awards its guests views over the Gulf of Mexico and several other classic rides, including a Tilt-a-Whirl and train cars that kids crank by hand. Flowers cloak hanging baskets, and topiaries mimicking animal figures accent sandy paths, adding to the venue's picturesque nostalgia. Teddy and Jenny have also installed a butterfly pavilion, about which Bay Life magazine reports that visitors can glimpse 700 flying specimens, hatching cocoons, and caterpillars drawing up blueprints for wings.
Xtreme Skydivers yokes each leapster to an experienced instructor who guides them through the ups and downs of tandem sky-scaling, and ensures that parachutes deploy at the right time for safe landings. Thrill seekers don jump suits, tie their teachers to their backs, and hop aboard an 18-person Grand Caravan airplane that shuttles them 14,500 feet into the sky. When conditions permit, the teacher-student tandem tumbles through cloud caves, screams hello to beachgoers, and adds emoticons to skywriting before landing delicately on a soft bed of sand.
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