Shrill giggles and the pitter-patter of tiny sock-swathed feet echo off the walls of Pump It Up, where lilliputian guests pinball through a metropolis of inflatable slides and bouncy enclosures. During glow pop-in play sessions, tykes frolic in the radiance of special lights, and in pirate-themed sessions, youngsters don costumes or just feel less self-conscious about the parrot permanently affixed to their shoulder. Small groups of ankle biters tear through the facility during private parties, plummeting down slides, scaling plush ladders, and bounding off of springy floors.
In 2012, Jump America— located next door to Six Flags Great America— debuted more than 16,000 square feet of springy floor space—trampolines cover the floors and walls. A game of dodge ball gets an antigravity twist over two courts and jumpers can use a trampoline as a launching pad into a pit of foam. Guests aged 3 and up watch a safety video before embarking upon hours of bouncy play monitored by attentive staffers. Between cushy crimson borders, the trampolines send visitors flying into the air during open-jump hours or two-hour parties that come with all the traditional trimmings, such as pizza and birthday candles that reignite every time you try to lick them.
All instructional programs at Lance Williamson Stables adhere to a few overarching pursuits. These include commitments to proper technique, lots of practice repetitions, and thorough enjoyment of riding as a sport. Founder Lance and his colleague, Jennifer Crow, open their lessons to riders of all ages and abilities. Conducted in private and semi-private formats, lessons take place inside an outdoor ring or an indoor arena, where a viewing deck invites spectators to watch the rider's improvement and try to teach horses how to start a full arena wave.
Rink Side is part black-lit space terrain, part family game room, and part pizzeria. Buckle into a laser tag vest and prepare to be transported into another dimension—a darkened, 2,000-square-foot, neon-scintillating arena where you’ll blast beams at friend and foe alike in a tense match to see who is the laser prince. Or, if you’d rather putt peaceably amid glowing hues, opt for 18 holes of black-light mini golf. Rink Side’s mini golf is under-the-sea-themed, surrounding players with sharks, turtles, and treasure chests filled with cicada molts. When game time comes, update your away message for three consecutive hours of screen bonding.
Over the past quarter century, Serpent Safari's indoor zoo has amassed a collection of rare reptiles that have appeared in publications such as National Geographic. Animals of impressive age, unusual coloring (such as an albino alligator), and Guinness World Record-holding weight have all called the Safari their home. Originally founded as a reptile adoption and education center, the Safari now runs guided tours and birthday parties that usher children through the world of scaly, cold-blooded creatures known as bankers into the diverse realm of reptiles. Following the tours, patrons can partake in photo opportunities with giant snakes, or take home a friend from the pet store.
Bowling is the great social equalizer—a common ground where grizzled undercover clowns, blue-collar English lords, LARPer librarians, big and tall lingerie models, hordes of hive-minded hipsters, and the other two social demographics that comprise America can unite in common cause and topple a gaggle of stuck-up, inanimate wooden pins. Brunswick has been a household name in this egalitarian pastime almost since the beginning, with a company history that dates back to the 19th century, providing classic American good times to all manner of patrons across the country. And with today's Groupon tying the room together, you'll get to play two games (up to a $10.98 value) in its hallowed halls wearing a pair of freshly disinfected bowling shoes (up to a $4.79 value).