At Gameworld, fun materializes in a variety of forms, from bowling to arcade games modeled after sporty endeavors and amusement park rides. Bowlers launch spheres down regulation-size lanes or the abbreviated alleys of a replica of Highway 66, featuring mini lanes striped with a highway median that cater specifically to toddlers, but can entertain competitors of all ages. After lifting bowling balls, gamers can cool down in the arcade, a haven for a veritable timeline of electronic adversaries from yesteryear's Pac-Man to modern Daytona racecars, as well as air hockey and a small climbing wall. The MaxFlight Simulator reigns supreme among its peers, emulating the jolting twists and turns of a rollercoaster ride without the annoyance of picking bugs off of teeth. Players refuel at Perky's Pizza with crispy slices or entire pies made to order, which can also power kids through bowling birthday parties that include bowling, gaming, and goody bags.
The mission of the Idaho Botanical Garden has remained the same since its founding more than 25 years ago: to foster community appreciation and understanding of horticulture and natural conservation. Nestled in the Boise foothills, the facility's 33 acres house more than 14 themed gardens. Some feature carnivorous plants, native flora, or colorful and aromatic herbs, whereas others focus on rose varieties, succulents, peonies, and water-conserving plants. Garden staff use adjacent foothills for nature hikes and environmental education.
A day at the gardens may also include a snack at the Tea House or a trip to admire plantings on the roof of the Gathering Place gazebo. Pathways lined with Table Rock sandstone wander through the four quadrants of the green Celtic labyrinth, each representing one of the four seasons. In a separate Children's Adventure Garden, smaller visitors frolic in a colorful tree house and watch the ripple of fins at a koi pond. For self-guided family tours, the staff provide backpacks containing suggestions for things to see and do, as well as scavenger-hunt items, a magnifying lens, and binoculars so children can check whether that's really a Bubo virginianus slinking through the trees.
Bowlers step up, drop, and roll balls down 20th Century Lanes' 24 modern lanes, ending in an eruption of clanking pins, hoots, and hollers. As the scattered pins are reset, the bowling alley's automatic system calculates the score while visitors lounge in plush purple chairs. Between frames, bowlers can fuel up on barbecue-beef sandwiches or pizza from the caf?, grab a cocktail from the Gaslight Lounge, or stroll into the pro shop to purchase a new bowling bag that matches their Sunday's best bowling gown. 20th Century Lanes also hosts events such as bowling tournaments and league play, and resident coaches lead private, couples, and team lessons.
Wings Center caters to cartwheeling kids of all ages and experience levels, gracefully catapulting them through the air with team-building cheerleading classes or agility-cultivating gymnastics. Children bound through the nearly 10,000-square-foot facility with an array of gymnastics sessions, tailored to the budding somersaulter’s age and skill level. Newly walking toddlers are guided through Protons lessons by their parents who, taking cues from the instructors, teach them motor-development and spatial-awareness exercises. From ages 2–5, mini funambulists take age-specific classes during which they tumble on soft mats, leap through obstacle courses, bounce on trampolines, and challenge live kangaroos to games of hopscotch. Girls ages 5–18 foster their disparagement of gravity as they master the balance beams and uneven bars. Boys' Sic ‘n Twisted classes give pliable males ages 5–18 space to flip without worrying about getting footprints on the ceiling.
Amid the standard clattering of pins and crunching of nachos found in any bowling alley, Emerald Lanes packs a variety of entertainment to suit the entire family's interests. At the arcade, an assortment of video games churns out tickets that, like America's earliest paper currency, can only be exchanged for prizes such as plush animals and soccer balls. Pool sharks stalk their spherical prey at one of seven billiards tables as they wait for a fresh-made pizza or slake their thirst with a drink from the bar, where three 50-inch flat-screen TVs display live sports games. Of course, bowling remains the main attraction, replete with automatic scoring and optional bumpers to keep balls out of the gutter, much like shoulder angels do for people's minds.
At Fast Lane Indoor Kart Racing, low-riding Sodi go-karts, careen around the winding track at 40 miles per hour, powered by Honda GX270 engines. These karts suspend drivers inches from the ground, which?according to staff?gives them the sensation of 80-mile-per-hour speeds without the hassle of putting a saddle on a cheetah. After a driving-and-safety briefing, riders don full-face helmets before starting the 10-minute race. Spectators can keep an eye on lap times on the electronic scoreboard and on monitors scattered throughout the facility, each measuring times to the thousandth of a second.