Nine-acre park with two mini-golf courses, bumper boats, and arcade with more than 200 games
$5 for Amusements at Scandia Family Center
Scandia Family Center
Golfland debuted its first putt-putt green in 1953 and has since expanded to seven locations across California and Arizona. Each location features one to three 18-hole courses, replete with colorful castles, windmills, and fountains. After navigating the obstacle-filled fairways, guests can try their hands at an array of arcade games, whether felling foes in fighting games, stocking up on tickets to win prizes, or following the spellbinding plotline of a pinball game. At the San Jose location, visitors can cool off in the warmer months with a trip down parallel outdoor waterslides.
Pump It Up's indoor inflatable arenas launch socked striplings into the air with a plethora of kid-friendly bounce pads. Staffers supervise fun-filled visits, during which adult counterparts leap around with their kids through gargantuan bounce houses, skip down air-filled slides, and slither like snakes covered in bacon grease through an inflated obstacle course.
The colorful venue also hosts custom birthday parties and private team parties, each themed to please the partygoers in question. These soirees immerse children in a schedule of interactive activities befitting a pirate or a superhero while melting off youthful energy faster than ice cubes thrown into a running DVD player. The birthday boy or girl even gets to blow out the candles on their cake seated in their blow-up throne. Occasionally, the staffers switch off the lights, arming the roomful of players with glow sticks and bracelets as they navigate the air-cushioned obstaclescape. Relying on the staffers' vigilant, watchful eyes, guardians can rest assured that their charges will stay safe, and each piece of the inflatable playground is held to the floor and ceiling by a complex series of anchors installed according to strict safety standards.
Lead-footed motorists can experience unlimited access to Redwood City Malibu's high-performance rides and attractions. Go-karts zip around hairpin turns, pick up speed on straightaways, and fly across banked curves with a passenger in tow aboard Redwood's safe and speedy four-wheeled chariots. After an afternoon of speed, slow down with the thoughtful zen-like meditation that is miniature golf on the park’s whimsically appointed links, or calmly crash into someone else's vessel on the bumper-boat battlefield. Speed demons can contemplate déjà vu on the circular grand prix course while leaving opponents as confused and defeated as the English after UFOs helped America achieve independence.
At Boomers! Livermore, thrill-seeking families and fun-enabling friends can attack any of five available attractions. Recreationists can wile away the hours at the helm of purring go-karts, scaled-down kiddie go-karts, and bumper boats or explore the vehicle-free joys housed inside the laser-tag arena, game room, and the game room's prize-redemption center. Unlimited-pass holders can also putt the golf course, which like all the best horses, marshmallows, and spy equipment, is miniature.
Umigo Racing sends adrenaline-seekers careening through its indoor track atop high-performance carts that hit speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. Umigo's sleek black roadsters whiz effortlessly through hairpin turns, speedy straightaways, and electrifying highway tolls, kindling excitement whether in competition with racing companions or tearing by on a solo session. Upon arrival, drivers suit-up in a freshly laundered race suit and neck brace, swathing craniums in a brand-new head sock. Racers fly through up to 20 laps in a single session on the innovative course design, which transforms into one of 20 different configurations every two to three weeks to keep rubber-burners on their toes.
The Sylvester family had bartending in its blood. Whether it was Uncle Mickey holding court with 40 years' worth of regulars or Tony Sr. mixing one of his signature Skip and Go Nakeds, they exemplified the easy grace and no-nonsense craftsmanship found in a true barman's barman. That dedication to well-poured drinks carried over to Tony Jr., who has spent the last 35 years training mixologists nationwide through the curriculum of his ABC Bartending Schools. Taught behind fully functional bars, his courses educate students in topics ranging from drink recipes and equipment setup to flair moves and alcohol awareness. His schools also emphasize employment; after graduation, students can take advantage of a nationwide job placement service to land gigs in Miami nightclubs, Las Vegas casinos, or the bar cars of Chicago's El trains.
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From Dance Dance Revolution Extreme and Mario Kart to skeeball, the more than 100 video and redemption games housed at Nickel City only cost one nickel per play. Additionally, more 30 arcade classics are playable for free—such as Pac-Man, Mortal Kombat, and Street Fighter—during which gamers battle evildoers trying to prevent them from repaving the road. Once players accrue enough tickets, they can swap their stubs at the redemption counter for prizes such as army men, stuffed animals, and electronics. In between the virtual action, guests can reenergize with a bite from the snack bar or join friends for celebrations in the party room.
Inside Line Racing gives RC enthusiasts a venue to pit their mechanical monsters against radio-controlled rivals in tests of speed and skill. A large, winding foam track provides the arena upon which glory will be won and reputations will be shattered as motor-powered autos careen toward the finish line. Rentals are fully able to hold their own, even against home-brewed speed machines, ensuring a fun and fair hour of competition for beginners and Mario Andrettis alike.
GoKart Racer safely curbs the need for speed with its fleet of Sodi RX 7 European racing karts, which come equipped with hydraulic brakes, a four-point racing harness, and a 9-horsepower Honda engine that can reach up to 35 miles per hour. The speedsters weave through each facility's indoor European-style road courses, including the 3/8-mile SuperTrack, which has more than 20 turns, an elevation change, and the occasional hotshot, road-jumping frog.
Before the green flag waves, the staff members equip racers with a racing suit, a helmet, and a brief rundown of the kart's abilities and dietary regulations. They tailor races to different age groups by offering kids? karts, a driving school for minors, and racing leagues for experienced drivers, and they augment traditional racing with a laser maze. The facility also welcomely opens its doors for birthday parties and other events.
Wind Over Water Kiteboarding founder Jeff Kafka tamed both wave and wind as a professional kite boarder and big-wave surfer before starting his own kite-boarding instruction school. During a two-hour beach lesson, beginners soak up kiting basics—including equipment setup, safety systems, wind theory, kite mechanics, and more—from a trained instructor while staying on dry land. Customers also perfect self-rescue, a vital skill for kite-board crashes or pickup lines gone awry. With no more than three people and one ocean in each lesson, there is plenty of individual instruction from Jeff's handpicked instructors, who get wind-whisperers in shape for the next level of instruction by the end of the two hours.
Dart Ops creates a safe indoor battlefield where players vie for victory using toy dart guns loaded with foam ammo propelled by short blasts of air. Neon-colored screens, walls made of mesh netting, and hanging targets pepper the arena space, which transforms into a monsoon of flying foam at the start of each friendly battle. As games progress, players can curl their trigger fingers around more advanced weaponry, including velcro-tipped darts that adhere to targets or the weak spots of enemy sock puppets. A marshall ensures fair play and organizes different types of game play, such as Free for All, Capture the Flag, and Protect the President. Aside from open play, Dart Ops' staff also host birthdays in a party booth and organize monthly Tour of Duty tournaments.
What started as a creative way to pay a debt led to the founding of Lemos Farm. Owner Bob Lemos' grandfather was repaid with a cow, so he bought land for the cow and her new calf in 1942, and over the years, the property morphed into a dairy farm, an alien robot, back into a dairy farm, and then a space for horses. Eventually Bob and his father, Arnold, peppered the land with Christmas trees, pumpkins, pony rides, and haunted houses, beckoning families to the sprawling grounds.
Visitors escape urban drudgery and revel in the decidedly country ambience, whether aboard hayrides or visiting the petting zoo for an introductory course in farm-animal massage therapy. During the holiday season, families wander the aromatic rows of the Christmas tree farm, where Douglas fir, incense cedar, and other pines await.
Blanketed in wall-to-wall trampolines, Sky High Sports delights barefoot fun seekers with springy terrain and an exclusive court for jumpers aged 8 and younger. Guests can hone front flips, backflips, and belly flops during intense free-bounce sessions. Each trampoline comes equipped with a specially designed spring-loaded frame and thick 2-inch safety pads that grant patrons a landing cushier than a corner office at a marshmallow factory. Stuffed with blocks of spongy, body-molding material, a foam pit dares treasure seekers to fling themselves in or scour its depths for the lost contents of bygone pockets. Pintsize aerialist posses can safely practice their synchronized salchows on 360 degrees of trampoline walls while court supervisors watch from the sidelines and award hard-earned praise with oversize scorecards. Sky High also offers AIRobics fitness classes to help jumpers explore the outermost stratospheres of trampoline possibilities.
"I will honor Christmas in my heart," vows Ebenezer Scrooge near the end of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, "and try to keep it all the year." For five weekends around Thanksgiving through Christmas, the 750-plus costumed performers at The Great Dickens Christmas Fair honor this declaration.
Lauded as "charmingly over-the-top" by the San Francisco Chronicle and "dazzling" by the San Francisco Examiner, the fest comprises more than three acres of exhibition halls. Inside, the fair's creative team recreates Dickens' Victorian-era London, complete with labyrinthine lanes, scone-scented bakeries, quaint pubs, and a rowdy dockside. In the streets and on seven stages, carolers entertain crowds alongside notable guests, including Queen Victoria and Scrooge himself. yelling that famous catchphrase, "Bah! An icky humbug! Somebody squish it!"