At each of Fat Cats' five locations, strikes and spares light up the screens of automatic scoring systems. Bowling balls roll and skip down lanes in normal conditions, against retractable bumpers, or under the fluorescent glow of Thunder Alley, when the facility transforms into a music-filled fusion of a bowling alley and dance club. Each lane's crashing pins echo the softer clacking of putters at the glow-in-the-dark miniature golf course and the ringing lightshow of the arcade. Elsewhere, the scents of pizza and deep-fried bowling balls waft through the fun haven. Each Fat Cats location partners with different restaurants, including The Pizza Factory at its Salt Lake facility and Champzz Bar at the Westminster location.
Shafts of sunlight pierce Tracy Aviary’s dense conifer forest, sending great grey owls into hiding until nightfall, when they emerge to hunt silently above the treetops. The Owl Forest is just one of five diverse ecosystems that dot the aviary’s eight acres. Nearby, at the South American Pavilion, aviary keepers tend to keel-billed toucans as their colorful beaks break through the cereal boxes in which they incubate. And on the Kennecott Wetland, visitors can espy long-billed curlews and American coots roosting in the tall grass.
In addition to providing a diverse habitat in which native and endangered species can thrive, Tracy Aviary’s curators strive to educate visitors about threats to avian species and to encourage stewardship. To that end, the aviary frequently hosts bird encounters, small group talks with avian keepers, and even the opportunity to feed various species.
The Utah Museum of Fine Arts lives in the Marcia & John Price Museum Building, a space that is itself a masterwork of blending volumes and light. Inside, the facility houses a permanent collection of more than 18,000 works of art, ranging from antiquity—such as a sarcophagus from the 26th Dynasty of Egypt—to modern day, including paintings by John Singer Sargent and photographs by Ansel Adams. The museum staff constantly rotates special exhibitions, covering diverse topics such as automobile design, Native American history, and modern art.
With more than 2,000 feet of climate-controlled indoor track, Fastkart Indoor Speedway rouses racers with the power to speed through courses, slide around corners, and compete with friends on their U.S.-made go-karts. Boasting two covered tracks with a slew of configurations, races even offer computerized timing and scoring to easily confirm winners of friendly competitions or the sudden-death settlement of literary-trivia debates. Between adrenaline escapades, racers can settle excited stomachs with a shared scrumptious selection from the snack bar, or take a break from the exhilarations of reality with a galvanizing video game in the arcade. If two 10-minute races aren't enough of a track-tearing session, this Groupon can be upgraded to 15 minutes (an additional $5 per race), a 40-lap race (an additional $10 per race), or a 60-lap race (an additional $20 per race) for uncontrollable cart cravings.
Visitors to the Utah Arts Festival stride across concrete promenades and grassy lawns sprawled out between fountains and modern buildings, which have glass walls that reflect the fest’s vibrant paintings and eclectic sculptures. Since its inception more than 35 years ago, the four-day festival has taken over a multiblock radius to accommodate hundreds of visual artists, musicians, performers, and culinary artists, each celebrating modern art and the local community. Throughout indoor and outdoor exhibitions, visitors explore varied works of visual art represented through special exhibitions and hands-on workshops with featured artists. A marketplace also gives artists a place to sell their paintings, wearable art, and sculptures to help disseminate their crafts and raise enough money for van Gogh’s ghost to move out of their basements.
Musicians score the festival throughout its days with worldwide genres on several outdoor stages, and storytellers and other literary artists tickle ears with eclectic tales and recitations of the UN staff directory. Across the grounds, festival staffers recycle the fete’s discarded plastic, aluminum, and cardboard as well as food scraps and vegetable oil, and promote eco-friendly practices with a protected bicycle lot and bike valet.
Youngsters challenge gravity as they bound across the brightly colored confines of Jump Around Utah. The literal centerpiece of Jump Around's facility is their inflated jumping pillow, a natural 40'x25' pocket of air that construction crews discovered when they broke ground in 2010. Several inflatable structures surround the pillow, including twin slides and obstacle courses. Foam-wrapped scaffolding supports a 20-foot-tall by 30-foot-long network of tunnels and slides that kids can crawl through. While their little ones burn off excess energy, parents keep watch from the sitting area, complete with free WiFi.