The treats at Control Tower Ice Cream are so tasty that they regularly cause pilots to land their planes near the shop. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Albany International Airport’s north runway is paved a few 100 yards from the creamery’s door. Regardless, from March to September, the staff serves nearly 20 specialty sundaes and more than 40 flavors of ice cream that woo adults and kids alike. More savory foods, such as hot dogs, burgers, and paninis, complement the desserts. After eating, guests can watch the planes land and take off or visit Control Tower’s go-kart track, miniature-golf course, or batting cages.
Putt-putting through a pirate ship might normally result in the putter walking the plank. Not so at FunPlex Fun Park, where on the 18-hole mini-golf course, players navigate ocean-themed greens populated by alligators, a lighthouse, and one grounded speedboat. Thirteen attractions, including a bounce house and bumper boats, promise diversion for kids of almost any age. Go-karts spin around an eighth-mile track at up to 20 miles per hour, and kids aged 3?10 zip around at 6 miles per hour on the mini go-kart track. In Captain Hook's House of Fun, kids clamber inside the tunnels of a multilevel play structure, descending tube slides and diving into a pit filled with plastic balls, more fun than the ones at school that are filled with homework.
Along the main stretch at Hilltop Paintball, one recalls the Old West while spying the silhouettes of two cowboys leaning against wooden structures and dangling signs swinging in the wind before a camo-clad anachronism emerges from behind a wagon wheel. The stranger locks and loads a paintball marker before hightailing it to one of seven terrains with scenario games, such as Alien Planet and speedball. In order to win matches, he and his teammates must navigate obstacles, including stacks of logs, hay bales, and clones of Barney Fife. In airsoft matches, they play a paint-free game with similar principles to paintball, and an onsite target range gives them a chance to hone their aim. To shake it up, they can practice putting at an 18-hole mini-golf course, try their hands at Nerf Dart Tag, or refuel at the barbecue and picnic area. The facility also accommodates larger groups for special events such as corporate outings and birthdays with custom packages, and a private party tent is available with advance reservations.
The subject of a recent, aggressive overhaul to improve course conditioning, Hales Mills Country Club challenges golfers with a 6,100, par-71 layout. The course shares the green landscape with an all-grass driving range, where golfers can warm up their swing or test out the efficacy of their new camouflage golf bag. After rounds, golfers can unwind at the on-site restaurant, which serves dinner specials and classic pub fare.
Framed by the distant peaks of the Helderberg Mountains, Western Turnpike Golf Course's 27-hole layout blankets 250 acres of scenic terrain stitched by pine trees. Though the three nines connect to form three distinct 18-hole courses, the presence of multiple ponds, streams, and small, well-fortified greens act as a unifying feature across the entire grassy labyrinth. The horticultural haven is also peppered by a relatively sparse population of 37 sand bunkers, their scarcity due to the abundance of water hazards and previous issues with disoriented sunbathers. With three courses offering various levels of difficulty and four tee options on each course, Western Turnpike presents a sound golf challenge for bona fide aces, mid-handicappers, and those trying to play with a croquet mallet.
At Player?s Park Family Fun Plex, gentle hills and dales peppered with greenery surround an 18-hole miniature-golf course, the park?s scaled-down version of the nine-hole par-3 course. The par-3 course, open during the day and into the evening, provides players with short-game practice, just as the mini-golf course provides putt-polishing opportunities for players shorter than a putter. The mini-golf course and par-3 course are lit for evening play.
In addition to hosting rounds of golf, Player?s Park stays true to its name by inviting kids to play on a row of bounce-house inflatables. Families can also visit the ice-cream parlor, where they can play the quiet game as they chow down on Perry's ice cream. The parlor has an air-conditioned interior as well as an outdoor porch for those who prefer Mother Nature?s air conditioner?the flapping wings of a curious butterfly.