Colorful balls glide smoothly down the well-oiled boards at La Ru Lanes. Players can leave their grandma's telescoping grabber arm at home thanks to the bowling alley's automatic Brunswick GS-X pinsetters. And automatic scorers, also by Brunswick, keep track of every spare, strike, and gutter ball. Bruised bowling balls and tired arms take a rest at the Wildcat Den, the alley's lounge, where players can relax as sports flicker on five big screens. Guests can also celebrate birthdays with party packages, and ensure themselves some regular play by joining one of the adult and youth leagues.
At Laser Rage, clad in vests covered in responsive laser sensors, frenemies attempt to hit the opposition with the phosphorescent ammunition of their phaser as they move through a black-lit arena populated by swiveling partitions and plumes of smoke. The nautical venue lets guests imagine themselves as futuristic pirates, mobsters in a riverboat shootout, or fishermen daydreaming about laser-shooting sharks.
Members of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, the Black-n-Bluegrass Rollergirls celebrate the independent spirit of women by hunting as a pack. During high-energy bouts, the team circles around a short track, pushing and shoving as the jammer attempts to score points by skating past the throng. Founded in 2006, the Rollergirls spent one and a half years recruiting and training before completing their first full season, today siccing two competitive teams on other leagues throughout the Midwest’s flat hardwood plains. Though the Rollergirls offer no mercy in the rink, they dedicate their time outside it to helping others within the community. The squad regularly volunteers for activities and events throughout northern Kentucky and help raise funds for local charities. To raise awareness for the sport, the team was also the focus of a 2009 documentary titled Black-n-Bluegrass, which chronicled the players’ regular lives and addressed misconceptions surrounding their beloved pastime.
BB Riverboats began with a deceptive motto and a fleet of zero. In 1977, Ben Bernstein opened a restaurant in a converted steamboat, whose motto was “The Romance of Riverboat Dining.” Intended as tongue-in-cheek, the motto instead confused customers, who arrived hoping for a scenic cruise down the Ohio River. To placate his clientele, Ben Bernstein went into business with riverboat industry veteran Betty Blake, and BB Riverboats—named for their shared initials—was born.
Now run by Bernstein’s son, BB Riverboats has increased its fleet to three vessels, including the Belle of Cincinnati, a riverboat outfitted with Victorian details and two climate-controlled decks. On daily cruises down the Ohio, historical narration complements the scenery, while passengers play swashbuckling games and learn to read treasure maps on family-friendly pirate cruises. On the company’s dining cruises, visitors drink in the scenery while noshing on a Hawaiian buffet spread or sampling award-winning wines from StoneBrook Winery. Additionally, holiday cruises honor occasions from Valentine’s Day to Thanksgiving.