Bowling is the great social equalizer—a common ground where grizzled undercover clowns, blue-collar English lords, LARPer librarians, big and tall lingerie models, hordes of hive-minded hipsters, and the other two social demographics that comprise America can unite in common cause and topple a gaggle of stuck-up, inanimate wooden pins. Brunswick has been a household name in this egalitarian pastime almost since the beginning, with a company history that dates back to the 19th century, providing classic American good times to all manner of patrons across the country. And with today's Groupon tying the room together, you'll get to play two games (up to a $10.98 value) in its hallowed halls wearing a pair of freshly disinfected bowling shoes (up to a $4.79 value).
A night at Chaparral Entertainment Centers means more than just a few games of bowling—with its up to 48 shining lanes are the main attraction. The alley's lounge hosts live music on Friday and Saturday nights, so bowlers can jam out to a band, karaoke, or a DJ, who might accept requests for "We Are the Champions" after every strike. There's also a big-screen TVs, six pool tables, shuffle board, darts, and an arcade in the lounge. At a full-service snack bar, bowlers can order appetizers to tide them over between frames, and they can choose from up to 44 beers on tap, wine, and liquor.
For more than 15 years, Marshall Canyon Equestrian Center has welcomed horse enthusiasts for riding lessons and gallops across its sylvan expanse. Guided trail rides require no previous horseback experience, leading as many as 10 riders to witness area wildlife, rumble past clear babbling streams, and admire flowers left by spurned centaur lovers. The center’s instructors, Jennifer and Donna, lead lessons in the riding disciplines of Western and English, specializing in teaching new riders proper horsemanship essentials in the well-lit arena. Marshall Canyon also boards horses in fully covered 16’x16’ stalls, where they enjoy daily cleaning and healthy portions of alfalfa.
The 16th century comes booming back to life during The Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire, which has re-created the culture, cuisine, and history of the Elizabethan era for more than five million attendees since its inauguration in 1963. Atop 13 stages sprinkled across 20 acres of festival grounds, live performers don traditional garb to demonstrate Renaissance music, dancing, battle customs, and blogging techniques. The talented actors stay in character throughout the bash, mingling with the crowds to perform alongside artisans purveying leatherware, clothing, and perfumes.
Workshops instruct visitors on how to make period crafts, after which guests can refuel with samplings of traditional Renaissance cuisine, such as hefty turkey legs and shepherd's pies, or more modern fare such as strombolis, coffee, and sweet confections. Rides and games challenge kids to toss javelins, race turtles, and recite Shakespeare's complete works on giant swings, and interactive RenQuest exhibitions hone little ones' sword-fighting skills and trivia knowledge.
In 1976, Joan Barnes—a Californian mom frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time—took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree Play & Music. In the decades since Gymboree’s founding, Joan’s vision of a safe place where youngsters could build confidence and creativity has come to fruition and spread to 30 countries around the globe. Staffed by attentive and expertly trained instructors, each Gymboree outpost adheres to a curriculum of activities designed by experts to foster the development of children’s’ cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play and close readings of Goodnight Moon. The staffers also conduct entertaining classes that cover subjects ranging from music to sports, imparting valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. To further set apart her business, Barnes employed nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beck to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers.
With 36 lanes—all with bumper capabilities—Oak Tree Lanes can accommodate kid and adult parties, groups of friends, and professional bowlers at once. Just steps away from the lanes, the younger crowd finds an arcade flashing with electronic distractions, and for adults a two-story sports bar plays up to five different games at once. Men and women of a certain—that is, 21 and older—can pop the caps off of more than two dozen kinds beer and sample nachos, pizzas, and burgers. During breaks from tossing or petting bowling balls, guests can exercise their hand-eye coordination with rounds of pool and darts, or retreat to the private party area on the second floor.