Happy shouts float across Swings-N-Things Family Fun Park, whipping out of the mouths of drivers racing around go-kart tracks and captains ricocheting off one another in bumper boats. The satisfying clunk of colorful spheres falling into holes on the mini-golf course perks up ears in the sprawling complex of indoor and outdoor attractions. Go-kart drivers whiten their knuckles behind the wheel of 9-horsepower Honda engines, tearing through a quarter mile of twists and turns on the Grand Prix track as if it were a high-school principal’s lawn. Alternatively, patrons frolic across the park’s two outdoor mini-golf courses before practicing their aim in a laser shootout game, and children ages 10 and younger scramble their socked feet over slides and rides inside the Kids Korner indoor play area. Swings-N-Things Family Fun Park is easily accessible from the area's major highways.
Synergy Paintball aims to be a way of giving back to the community by offering a safe place to have fun and expend pent-up energy. On a given day, lively bands of birthday, bachelor, and bachelorette parties can be found swarming the grounds amid the whispery noise of paintballs cruising through the fresh air. It's here where teams engage in fun competition, regardless of age, size, or skill level. When the park isn't busy entertaining armies of thrill-seekers, they also play host to United States military reserves tactical training, an exercise that fills the park with humvees and transport vehicles before they begin mock Medevac evacuations. To further build on its reputation, Synergy Paintball hosts organizations such as the United Way, American Cancer Society, and St. Judes Children's Research while longtime supporting Local AR.
Hearing a cacophony of three-shots burst into the air but unable to see where it's coming from, a player decides to force his foes to reveal their positions by waiting patiently in the roots of an uprooted tree. Such natural cover lies throughout the backwoods field at Valley City Paintball, where combatants traverse terrain from wooded hills to a creek bed to stacks of fallen timber. The referees maintain safe conditions for all levels of players, showing guests a safety video and leading a field briefing before supervising games such as Defend the Tree and two-team Card Collector with re-spawn. Overseen by veteran Brian Gunkelman––who served four years in the 82nd Airborne and currently continues service through the Ohio Air National Guard––Valley City's team members allow up to 28 players on the field at a time. They also encourage visitors to take advantage of the natural cover, whether by wearing ghillie suits or painting a watercolor still life during the thick of battle.
Intense Paintball lives up to its moniker with two distinct battlegrounds?one indoor and one outdoor. The indoor field emulates a long-abandoned warehouse, consisting of an open floor cluttered by formations of barrels and inflatable blocks. Outdoors, trigger fingers get a workout among a 125' x 200' field populated by similar obstacles. To arm its players, Intense Paintball rents out Tippmann markers, paint, and accessories.
At TPA Paintball And Airsoft, warriors battle across three different fields, mapping out winning strategies and flanking maneuvers as they fire paintballs. At the Attack and Defend field, players employ teamwork to conquer up to four different bases, while Hyperball arenas host fast-paced bouts. The history- and video game-inspired matches include themes of zombie apocalypse, search and destroy, demolition, and team death match. Gamers can play on one of the newer courses including, the Last Hope which has an L-shaped village with more than 10 buildings or they can opt for the Tombstone's smaller course which includes a 6 building street with flag stations situated in a back alley. The courses can also be combined together for one large game of airsoft.
Your hands wrap around the grip of a Tippmann marker. Multicolored spheres fly past you, spattering the trees and cutting air inches from your mask. Through the foliage, you can see half a plane buried nose-first in a clearing, one of many obstacles concealing potential foes. At SplatterPark, this good-natured combat sprawls across the adrenaline-soaked turf of 12 outdoor fields and 40 wooded and open acres adjacent to a lake. Warriors battle through capture-the-flag, base-defense, and other scenarios in themed arenas with adventurous names including Fort Buckeye, Snake Pit, and Dark Forest. Each field is suited to at least three types of play, but only the regular type of physics, and shouts of camaraderie echo off paint-flecked cover such as a broken-down school bus and a wooden-slat fort. In preparing for battle, combatants strap on rental or purchased gear under covered staging shelters, happy in the knowledge that their biodegradable paint ammunition will be harmlessly washed away by the elements or bears doing community service. SplatterPark also offer zombie-themed hayride shoots, in which a trailer is custom-fitted with 32 paintball guns, allowing participants to shoot live zombie targets. Prior to the hunt, visitors can test their skills on a target range.
The arena's surreal terrain was featured in the intense combat of Greg Hastings' Tournament Paintball, a video game from Activision, but the real park caters to players of all abilities and ages. At an onsite caf?, hot dogs and energy drinks refuel warriors and allow them to tell if their nemeses are actually target dummies with no appetite, and the pro shop's staff bustles among markers, accessories, and spare parts.