Across nearly three-fourths of the United States, AMF Bowling Co. reverberates year-round as families, friends, and competitors send bowling balls in search of upright pins careening down slick lanes. The company first established itself as an industry leader in 1946, the same year the sport introduced automated pinspotters.
Today, more than 20 million bowlers annually make AMF their battleground for wars against pins. As the largest owner and and operator of bowling centers in the US, AMF locations offer high-tech scoring technology, a classic design, and a menu stocked with American-inspired classics such as wings, pizzas, burgers, and beer.
Jump Around Parties & Playdates boasts a sprawling indoor gymnasium of inflatable bounce houses, obstacle courses, and interactive games designed to give kids' energetic limbs and imaginative minds a place to explore. During open-jump sessions, staff members supervise children while they take on winding obstacle courses, break free from gravity in the moon bounce, and sharpen their jump shot during bounce-enhanced basketball games. The facility's two private party rooms host birthday celebrations that dazzle kids with pizzas, Cold Stone Creamery cake, and balloons in between their romps inside the climate-controlled gym. The center's invitation-creation center makes up quality invites so parents can use their time party planning instead of mastering calligraphy.
When Malcolm and Mandy Sim welcomed two children into the world, the veterans of both the animation and theme-park industries visited numerous indoor play centers in Los Angeles, hoping to find the one that best suited their kids. Nothing quite clicked, however, which inspired the parents to call upon their entertainment backgrounds and develop their own indoor facility. Since relocating to the Boston area, the Sims have opened Jam Time, where youngsters ages 3 months to 6 years can surmount climbing structures, leap about in a bounce house, or shop in a pretend grocery market before whipping up faux soufflés in the playhouse kitchen. Classroom sessions further engage tykes with art projects, science classes, and princess-etiquette lessons, where young ladies learn to detect whether evil witches have booby-trapped their science projects. Soft play toys engage visiting toddlers and infants, while adults surf free WiFi, sip gourmet coffee, or enjoy a treat from the organic snack bar.
With three haunted houses, a spooky hayride, and a bustling carnival, Witch’s Woods is a Halloween theme park that rises from the mist for only one month a year. Ferried along by a sputtering tractor, Haunted Hayride passengers cower for 20 grueling minutes as they are assailed from all sides by zombies, werewolves, ghouls, and cows trying to nibble the hay. At the end of the ride, three paths lead to additional attractions, including Castle Morbid, in which medieval spirits chase interlopers through the halls and into the depths of the keep, where it becomes increasingly apparent that the weapons that once kept intruders out are now employed to keep them in. Nightmare Mansion is inhabited by a cursed family whose eternal life has left them as withered husks driven insane with rage at visitors who still possess the ability to die. The final path leads to the 3-D Keeper’s Crypt, where the undead shamble and scream as they pursue their prey, and where the walls themselves seem to be closing in.
A creepy carnival awaits survivors with rides, games, and more attractions. The Horror wood Chamber of Chills puts favorite Halloween and horror-movie characters on display, including such icons as Frankenstein, Freddy Krueger, and Mary Shelley’s original version of Shrek. Meanwhile, the Jack O’ Lantern Jamboree displays rows upon rows of professional carved pumpkins, eerily glowing at self-guided passersby.
At Mulligan's Island Golf & Entertainment, 60 covered hitting stalls look out onto 11 acres of target areas, a sprawling configuration that helped earn the facility a spot on Golf Range Magazine's 2011 list of top 100 ranges. Golfers can use the driving range's 20 heated stalls to practice during off-season months without worrying about cooler temperatures stiffening their swings, or they can invest in lessons that use digital teaching methods such as computerized swing analysis to lower handicaps. A USGA-rated course tests participants with nine holes of regulation-size golf, while an 18-hole pitch-and-putt short course and two mini-golf courses help golfers calibrate aspects of their short game. The practice mecca also tests swings at 10 batting cages that feed baseballs and softballs at adjustable speeds to suit both little leaguers and professionals fishing for compliments.
In 1945, Dr. Anthony Venditti—known as the godfather of New England auto racing—broke ground for the Seekonk Speedway. Today, his wife, son, and grandson carry on his legacy by managing the oval, 1/3-mile track with its 7-foot banking and 420-foot straightaway lengths. They also oversee the track’s concessions, but spectators can tote along their own six-pack coolers of frosty libations in the wheelbarrow full of gold bars they plan to wager during the races.