Since the age of 7, Skip Clinton has been hypnotized by the whirl of roller skates; among his fondest memories are those of boogying on wheels among hundreds of fellow skaters packed into one rink. Translating his love of the sport into a competitive drive, Skip won the 1986 Roller Figure Skating World Championship in Bogotà, Colombia, cementing his spot in the Roller Skating Hall of Fame. Still, none of that success could fully satisfy his dream of polishing skates in his very own rink.
In 1996, Skip connected with the new owners of River Roll Skate Center and helped restore the long-neglected rink to its modern glory, installing new floors, a jamming sound system, and computer-controlled lights. Three years later, decades of hard work paid off as he and his wife—also a competitive skater—took over River Roll Skate Center's operations full-time.
"There's never a day I don't want to go to work," says Skip with a glee normally reserved for children who get to eat pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dessert. He relishes duties such as keeping the floor immaculate—indeed, the polished arena reflects the ceiling's colored lights like a kaleidoscope—which, in his experience, is crucial to the success of any skate center. While Skip acknowledges that roller skating hasn't changed much over the years, skaters' expectations have. To that end, 35,000 songs populate the rink's computer, from '70s and '80s pop music to family-friendly hip-hop, rock, and country-western hits. Throughout the facility, video screens flash names of birthday celebrants, popular music videos such as Michael Jackson's "Thriller," and classic movies such as Footloose.
Elsewhere, the scent of fresh-baked pizza wafts from the concession stand, where rollers refuel with traditional snacks such as hot dogs or nachos, and an arcade dispenses entertainment and prizes with a variety of video games. Once a month, the Dead Girl Derby takes over River Roll Skate Center, captivating audiences with breakneck speed and no-holds-barred competition akin to the days when the ancient Romans strapped chariots to the Titans' ankles.
At Screenland, campy and classic are rarely mutually exclusive terms. The movie theater serves as a cinematic time machine, transporting spectators through the history of Hitchcock's mysteries and straight into the heyday of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Though it also shows current titles, its schedule is often beholden to audience whims—the Crossroads location hosts new independent films that are uniquely screened at this sole location. This dual devotion to cherished and modern flicks helped Screenland earn the 2012 Readers' Choice award for Best Movie Theater from the Pitch.
Even outside the projection room, nostalgia rules. More than 40 games, from Donkey Kong to Missile Command, test dexterity at the Crossroads location's retro arcade, where guests can purchase passes to play indefinitely or until Frogger finally flags down a cab. Photographs taken by former Kansas City mayor Dick Berkley accompany historical trivia in the adjacent gallery, and celebrity handprints mark the outdoor patio. Greeting cinephiles out front is a marquee salvaged from the Isis Theatre, just as it once greeted a young Walt Disney when he shared his early animations there.
Wedding receptions and corporate meetings alike have taken advantage of the theater's capacity for private functions. At both exclusive and public events, however, a full-service bar supplies guests with libations, cracking open bottles of Boulevard Pale Ale and Tallgrass Velvet Rooster.
In 2005, the racehorse known as St. Croix was crowned Ohio's Horse of the Year, completing the season with one third-place, one second-place, and five first-place finishes. None of this would be possible without the tireless efforts of Saddle Creek Stables' trainers, who saved St. Croix from his early vacation plans to horse heaven. After the equine instructors retrained and bonded with him, St. Croix returned the favor with an awe-inspiring racing career. Now enjoying his retirement, St. Croix carries guests on leisurely trail rides across 160 acres of forest trails, outcroppings, cliffs, and flowing streams.
Saddle Creek Stables is a premier racehorse facility operated by trainers dedicated to making their thoroughbreds happy and healthy. The team leads trail rides for all ages and organizes parties with hayrides and bonfires for children. Their forested ranch also provides an excellent venue for hikers, campers, anglers, and deprived houseplants looking to reconnect with their natural habitat.
When her laser makes a successful hit, the speakers in her vest fire with computer-voiced congratulations, while at the other end, her opponent's vest vibrates to ensure he knows he was tagged. Those are just two of the engrossing features of Jaegerz Laser Tag?s Lasertron equipment that help players get into the game. Opponents open fire on one another with a single pop or even a rapid burst of laser fire as they take cover behind black-lit obstacles. Players can find plenty of places to duck and run in the 6,000 square foot arena?s fog-filled room while strobe lights work to disorient players. Guests can also arrange to have birthday parties and private events held at the facility for corporate groups, scout groups, and large birthday parties.
At The Bay Water Park, patrons can go surfing in the Midwest. Or at least, simulate the experience. Dubbed The BayRider, the park's surfing simulator allows park visitors to try their hand at surfing or boogie boarding while standing atop a thin sheet of water, instead of a board. There's only one requirement: they must be 48+ inches tall.
There's plenty of classic water park fun to complement the simulator, too. The park boasts three pools, and one, the Leisure Pool, works like a huge, lazy river, complete with rippling waves. That's where swimsuit-clad visitors zoom down two massive, tube-shaped slides. Alternatively, there's a play pool where visitors can swim or play pick-up water basketball, and a family pool: a watery playground complete with a giant dumping bucket.
Rekindle childhood memories as you walk through the National Toy and Miniature Museum. This 38-room Italianate mansion turned museum holds an impressive toy collection with over 300,000 items. The museum is from the combine collections of lifelong friends and collectors, Barbara Hall Marshall and Mary Harris Francis. As one of the world’s largest private collection of toys and miniatures, this museum welcomes over 25,000 guests each year. Walk into this open mansion and view the world’s largest marble collection or peek into one of the antique miniature doll houses. Explore the other rooms that feature collections of miniature paintings, lovable teddy bears, and much more.