Royal Pin?s four bowling centers boast a total of 270 gleaming lanes, but their widely varied facilities offer far more than games of tenpins. At all four locations, cosmic-bowling nights create a psychedelic atmosphere with fog, music, and black lights.
The Woodland location, though, was voted Best Bowling in Indianapolis 2012 by CityVoter and ups the ante with flat screens above the lanes and cushy couches where players recline while waiting their turn to take a ride through the pinsetter. Its adjacent outdoor mini-golf course, Pirates? Cove, sends putters on a salty adventure with 18 Lilliputian fairways populated by streams, waterfalls, and a pirate ship. In addition, the location recently received a makeover, with a new midway, lounge, bar and restaurant. In that same center, there's also the two-story Pirate's Quest laser tag, which combines the excitement of laser tag and swashbuckling.
At the Expo location, the theme relates to another exciting frontier: space. In Laser Storm tag, players battle for rights to moon territories. Besides their alleys, Royal Pin also manages the 5-acre Greatimes Family Fun Park, where kids zip around a go-cart track, bounce through a multilevel playland, or pilot bumper boats equipped with blaster squirt guns and highly sensitive grownup detectors.
At Bluff Creek Golf Course, the club's eponymous creek chuckles quietly across 171 acres of relatively open emerald sweeps and 6,525 yards of fairways and greens. Though much of the course roams across flat terrain, certain holes feature sudden elevation changes, including the par 3 10th, where the green rests at the bottom of a 70-foot drop-off that visually obscures the target from golfers. Forgiving fairways, fast bent-grass greens, and thick heather grasses to ensnare poor shots create the feeling of a classic links-style course. Players must take confident swings to evade the water hazards formed by the creek and nine retention ponds, which come into play on the final eight holes and every screaming match with a catfish.
After rounds, a parade of players leads past startlingly colorful redbud trees to the hilltop clubhouse, which sits at one of the highest points in Johnson County. Frosty glasses sing together, the sound drifting off toward the distant Indianapolis skyline. Bluff Creek Golf Course also peddles a variety of clubs and apparel from other top brands in a pro shop, where guests can schedule lessons with a certified instructor to fix a recurring slice or tendency to yell their social-security number mid swing.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Length of 6,525 yards from the farthest tees * Course rating of 70.8 from the farthest tees * Slope rating of 120 from the farthest tees * Three tee options
Prodded by their irish setter, Rusty, Robert and Stephanie Morrison parlayed more than 10 years of experience caring for animals into opening U Dirty Dawg, a full-service dog center. The approximately 4,000-square-foot facility offers a one-stop canine shop, where owners can give dogs a bath, put them through obedience training, or drop them off for daycare and boarding. Additionally, Center Grove Animal Clinic is just next door, and Dr. Jennifer Finnegan can care for pets should they fall ill.
During doggy daycare, canines romp around indoors or catch some rays in the 2,500-square-foot outdoor area, complete with kiddie pools, jungle gyms, and soap boxes for impromptu speeches. Pups bunking overnight enjoy plenty of fresh water and a cozy blanket in their private 6?x4? runs, with designated indoor and outdoor play areas for smaller dogs.
Fur in need of refurbishing can benefit from the sudsy ministrations of owners or professionals. A self-serve dog wash accommodates any size breed in stainless-steel tubs, and includes shampoo, brushes, and dryers. During professional services, groomers de-scraggle coats and add touches of nail trims and ear cleaning that go a long way toward scoring dogs a prom date.
The story of Mallow Run Winery reads like a Steinbeck novel with a happy ending—a tale of romance, music, and farm life. John Richardson grew up on the 600-acre plot where Mallow Run now resides, but left for 35 years to become a teacher. During this time, he raised his son, Bill, whose dream of following the pastoral path of his ancestors led him to pursue a degree in Agriculture at Purdue University. After he graduated and his father retired, they both returned to John’s stomping ground with the intent of growing grapes for various Indiana wineries. Bill would meet his wife, Laura, while playing music locally in the Carmel Symphony—the former on French horn and the latter on clarinet—and thus, the triumvirate behind Mallow Run Winery was born.
Between the bushels of corn and soybeans that spring from the verdant fields, eight acres of grapevines produce the plump fruit that goes into bottles of Chardonel, Traminette, Seyval Blanc, and other varietals, and the tailpipes of any double-parked cars on the estate. The winery has become a destination to listen to live music in addition to sipping wine with friends and family, as the winery’s spacious lawn is often used for concerts from local artists.
Otte Golf and Family Fun Center is a perennial fixture in Golf Range Magazine’s list of the country’s Top 100 Golf Ranges. Its 300-yard driving range houses more than 50 stalls—guests can choose between grass and mat hitting surfaces—set under high-powered lights that keep the target greens illuminated at night. The range provides a venue for independent practice or preparation for rounds on the center's 18-hole executive course, a circuit of par-threes and fours that takes a convenient 2.5 hours to complete, which gives golfers more time to trick out the vintage golf carts in their garages.
A lighthouse stands sentry over the 18-hole miniature golf course, where guests advance through flowerbeds, willow trees, and tidy rows of shrubs and hedges. Those interested in striking balls that aren't placed on tees or the noses of their best friends can visit one of nine batting cages, where pitching machines dispense a steady stream of baseballs and softballs at various speeds.
An arcade game stands in the corner of this practice's reception room. While its vivid lights might initially seem out of place next to the stone fireplace and warm, sandy walls, the invitation to play puts the finishing touch on an atmosphere focused first and foremost on a positive patient experience. Here, a skilled staff practices family, cosmetic, and orthodontic dentistry under a mission statement that works to ensure those opening wide are happy, calm, and prone to whistling.
Dr. Stacy Johnson keeps visits comfortable with what he calls on his website "home town flair," but he's still attached to the advanced dental technology that makes effective, pain-free visits possible. Though he hails from rural Indiana, he now spends his days caring for underserved patients in Haiti, Brazil, Ecuador, and El Salvador. Those in need of a cosmetic mouth-lift may turn to associate dentist, Dr. Randy Young, who specializes in oral makeovers using veneers and porcelain crowns.