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
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.
BounceSpot's pint-sized citizens romp through a colorful panorama of inflatable entertainment. With feet clad in socks or stuffed into willing sock puppets, kids can frolic through a labyrinth of inflatable moonwalks, slides, and obstacle courses. At the end of each day, the BounceSpot staff sanitizes every inch of the inflatable obstacle courses and ticket-arcade machines that span the 11,000-square-foot play space. These meticulous scrub-downs are part of BounceSpot’s policy to foster a safe, cheerful environment. Staffers also supervise bounce houses to ensure kids play gently and haven’t smuggled in performance-enhancing pogo sticks.
As kids clamber across colorful inflatables, parents can lounge at nearby tables and cruise complimentary WiFi or stop by the concession stand for pizza and ice cream.
In his formative years, Alan Stockman was into chess and competitive cycling. He had tried martial arts but it never stuck. But while living in Brazil in 1997, he had a revelation studying Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Luiz Filho. He found that the martial art combined the strategy and mental discipline of chess with the physical discipline of cycling, a combination that has had him hooked ever since.
Now a black belt, Stockman brings his passion for martial arts to Carlson Gracie Indianapolis Jiu Jitsu. An affiliate of the Carlson Gracie Team—the originators of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu—the center teaches adults and kids ages 4 and older the grappling and ground-fighting techniques integral to the art. Whether exploring the fundamentals or more advanced tactics, practitioners learn to use Jiu-Jitsu as self-defense, in MMA competition, or to restrain a jaywalker from breaking the law.
Valle Vista Golf Club's 18-hole, par 70 course spans 6,306 yards, incorporating wide fairways and immaculate greens draped over the countryside. Ponds come into play on eight different holes, including the signature 17th hole, a 147-yard par 3 that plays into a sloped green wreathed by a front-right pond and bunkers dug into the left and back sides. Golfers in need of new apparel or clubs to replace the ones lost in a sword-swallowing interpretation gone awry can peruse the club's pro shop, which carries equipment from Titleist, Callaway, and other top industry brands.
Course at a Glance: