PlayNation Party Play and Playsets materializes childhood dreams in a 6,000-square-foot indoor playground popping with monkey bars, rock walls, and playhouses. Inside the weatherproof haven, wooden seesaws jounce younglings, and jumbles of slides, ladders, and ramps give children the space to develop their Chutes and Ladders characters. While children aged 1–9 scramble across colorful apparatuses, parents and their guardians can watch over the frolicking little one from a designated seating area. Open play is available Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday by availability.
Falls Park Golf & Games beckons to putt-putt protégés with an 18-hole mini golf course that runs through the center of its cozy, family-friendly space. With topsy-turvy slopes that make for perplexing breaking putts, the course promotes lively competition between siblings, friends, or rival dentists. A stationary golf cart sits in the middle of the course, surrounded by walls decorated with golf-themed festoons—including a caddyshack facade—that help set the scene. Along with more subtle undulations, the course requires players to putt through a tricky loopty-loop and explain the principles of centripetal force to any toddlers within a five-mile radius. After their round, guests can decompress in one of the space's various booths or tables, enjoy a refreshment, and tune in to the flickering images on a flat-panel TV.
At Golden Park, bowling balls tumble down 32 slick lanes while optional bumpers steer them away from the gutter and automatic scoring tracks every strike and spare. Black lights and a disco atmosphere wash over the lanes during glo bowling, held Friday and Saturday nights until 1 a.m. The skating arena lets visitors relive the carefree days of the '70s, when kids gathered at the rink after school and congressional elections were decided by bouts of roller derby.
A snack bar and tiki lounge restore energy lost during heated games, and flat-screen TVs keep competitive juices flowing with sports broadcasts. Nearby, the game room shelters arcade machines, a foosball table, and four billiards tables that often host APA Pool League matches. Golden Park also boasts the Bowling Connection Pro Shop, which outfits players with new balls, shoes, and bags for forthcoming frames.
Tarheel Lanes Bowling Center celebrates the fine art of pin demolition with sleek, modern alleys set within a smoke-free facility. Arriving visitors are paired with a pair of bowling shoes designed to leave lanes un-scuffed and toes un-stubbed, before claiming a lane for two games’ worth of strikes, spares, and stern lectures to balls residing in the gutter. An automatic scoring system keeps cheating at bay and math skills dormant, and an on-site snack bar and game room encourages players to linger in the family-friendly facility long after the 10th frame. Tarheel Lanes is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday–Thursday and until midnight on Friday and Saturday.
Tropical Gardens Miniature Golf strips away the cartoonish aspects of the game found on many courses, instead situating its 18 putting greens amid a diverse landscape of ponds and blooming floras. As a waterfall trickles nearby, a flamboyance of fake flamingos perches under the shade of a tree, silently observing golfers' mannerisms to use in their upcoming novel. Aside from navigating the miniature fairways, players can swing at baseballs in the batting cages or reunite quarters with their captive brethren in the video arcade.
Flashes of color appear between the mammoth limbs of giraffes and elephants. Shouts ring across emerald inclines and descents. Thriving with the constant, bustling life of a jungle, Adventure Landing fuels good-natured competition with a range of attractions. Putters work their way among the statues of jungle fauna that litter three distinct miniature-golf courses, sending colorful spheres careening through tunnels, sailing over bridges, and bouncing off impressed physicists. Electronic burbling drifts onto the courses from the arcade's 29 games, which stand alongside redemption machines promising lollipops, frisbees, dartboards, and stuffed animals. From there, guests chatter as they wander to seven batting cages, where baseballs and softballs sail toward the eager aluminum of bats at three different speeds to simulate the three pitchers in the major leagues. Between games, players feast on soft pretzels and a chorus of slurped Icees at the snack stand.
High above the Catawba River and surrounding forest, ziplines up to 900 feet long cut a narrow path through the canopy, ferrying riders from treetop to treetop on tours that last up to 3.5 hours. Day and nighttime tours start atop a 70-foot tower that overlooks the 100-year-old oaks and dense foliage. Tours then descend on a series of up to nine separate ziplines, each connected to the other by nature trails suspension bridges.