The game of bowling hasn't changed much since Blue River Bowl opened in 1959, but the building's 16-lane alley certainly has. Rather than manually computing scores, for instance, players can sit back while an automatic system tallies each roll and flashes entertaining animations across its screens. The latest sports flicker to highlight-filled life on 16 televisions and one giant projector screen, while the lanes themselves glows during periodic neon-tinted rounds of cosmic bowling. The smoke-free alley hosts open bowling sessions every day, as well as several leagues for youths, adults, and colonies of ants that want to see if they can collectively lift the ball.
No matter their skill or competition level, bowlers can grab new gear at Blue River's pro shop, which houses shiny new balls and bags ready to report for pinbusting duty. They can also unwind at one of three on-site eateries, where cooks satiate post-game cravings for pizza, subs, and frosty drinks.
First-run movies, including 3-D and family films, light up the screens at Republic Theatre Group, LLC's six locations in Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky. Concession stands attract nostrils and stomachs alike with fragrant popcorn, taste-bud-tickling candy, and canteens of soda.
Players have to find peace and serenity while they're on a golf course. The gentle babbling of the Blue River as it cuts through the Bear Chase Golf Club's par 72 Championship course helps golfers uncloud their minds when setting up for booming drives and precise approaches. But Bear Chase Golf Club is more than a place to play a round of golf. A 1,600-square-foot banquet room with attached outdoor patio overlooks the club's 127 acres of swaying trees from alongside the course's 18th hole, where hosts can invite guests to enjoy the fresh air and try to catch passing tee shots during wedding receptions or other celebrations. An onsite pro shop also helps players prepare for future games by pairing them with gear and apparel from trusted brands.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 6,506 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 70.7 from the back tees * Course slope of 123 from the back tees * Three sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
An all-day pass allows golfers to explore Otter Creek's three nine-hole courses, the North, East, and West; all characterized by narrow fairways, multiple bunkers on almost every hole, and plenty of roughage and foliage to challenge errant shots. The par 5 fifth on the North course, the longest hole at 584 yards, imposes complex obstacles such as a fairway that rises for 200 yards before a slight dogleg right and turkey bone left, leading to dueling bunkers guarding the green with Otter Creek to the right. After piloting the cart to the West course, golfers test their midrange game on the par 3 sixth hole, an uphill iron shot about 200 yards out that leads to an undulated green that moves left to right. Ottter Creek's 27 distinctly different holes allow golfers to practice a variety of shots during a full day of course play, providing enough time for snorkeling in the course's pond to retrieve a hearty supply of golf balls.
The artists at Wine and Canvas awaken their students’ inner Rembrandts and Van Goghs with classes that pair a featured painting with specialty cocktails and wines. The mobile studio’s monthly calendar includes themed classes in which instructors expound on the nuances of painting Parisian street lamps, Japanese flowers, or Venetian cityscapes. The master painters—many of them local artists—provide step-by-step instructions while students mimic each stroke and periodically dip their brushes into glasses filled with crimson cabernet. Each of the studio’s various drink-friendly venues boasts a specialty libation selected to incite creativity or conversations with fellow painters. When the artistic frenzy concludes, students return home with a finished masterpiece large enough to conceal any wall safe or mirror portal.
Catering to the growing minds of toddlers as well as preteens, kidscommons features three floors of interactive exhibits that introduce basic scientific concepts and kindle creativity. The Gateway Bridge Laser Harp, for example, allows visitors to invent a catchy melody using an instrument made without traditional strings. Meanwhile, a human-sized robotic arm lets kids control a mechanical shoulder, elbow, wrist, and fingers while attempting to perform simple tasks. In addition to a 17-foot climbing wall, the museum hosts a small aquarium that mimics the micro-ecosystem of Indiana creeks and waterways, complete with fish, Hoosier mermaids, and other aquatic lifeforms.