In 1958, Ryan Family Amusements founder James A. Ryan opened a simple, eight-lane bowling alley, planting the foundation for a slew of entertainment centers throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island. At 10 locations, visitors enjoy a variety of arcade and skill games in addition to traditional candlepin, tenpin, or duckpin bowling. Every Friday and Saturday evening from 9 p.m. until midnight, bowling lanes take on an incandescent glow, allowing bowlers to experience futuristic entertainment without the inconvenience of rising jetpack-fuel prices. Bumper bowling is available for younger players, and an onsite concession stand refreshes responsible adults with glasses of beer and wine (though not available at Cape Cod Mall, Newport, or Oak Bluffs locations).
In 1946, Ellis D. Atwood began to build a sanctuary for one of America's most magnificent beasts: the railway train, which was then on the brink of extinction. He rescued equipment from short lines in Maine and laid tracks around his cranberry bogs, where they would cart his harvests and carry visitors on scenic tours. These daytrips became such a draw that Ellis decided to augment his plantation with carnival attractions and holiday light displays. The park borrowed his initials to form its name, Edaville, and today, more than 65 years since Ellis purchased the first of his rails, the park continues to welcome families who flock there for the classic rides, outings aboard the train, and panoramas of growing cranberries.
A looming Ferris wheel rewards guests of all ages with a view of Edaville's layout. From the Tilt-a-Whirl and Red Baron plane rides to the old carousel and souvenir general store, the surroundings comprise a whimsical escape designed with young children and their parents in mind. To complement the 1,300-acre cranberry plantation, the Cranberry World exhibit provides a glimpse of antique cars and cranberry-harvesting gear, enlightening visitors with historical narratives about the fruit. Ellis's Playhouse contains a ball pit, maze, and train tables, which enable youngsters to see what subways looked like before they got shy and burrowed into the earth. Fall and winter seasons transform the park into a sparkling venue for Christmas lights and visits with Santa, with select dates offering magical rides aboard a train designed after the Polar Express.
Most physical confrontations involve a level of personal risk, but at Cartland of Cape Cod, fun-loving competitors let robotic Boxerjocks do the swinging. Safely tucked away in a cage of steel, operators trigger sidesteps with the thrust of a joystick and jabs with the punch of a button. The unusual attraction is just a taste of what the epicenter of family fun has to offer, from vintage Indy-style go-karts to colorful bumper boats and water-balloon slingshots. Visitors who want to keep dry can head to the 20-hole mini-golf course and batting cages, and can sate their hunger with chili, barbecue pork, and other meals, or a scoop of ice cream rather than laboring to befriend an iceberg.
My Gym Children's Fitness Center divides its classes into seven age groups, each based in the process of natural childhood development. Staff and instructors draw from current physiological, psychological, and sociological studies, as well as hands-on childcare experience, to design age-appropriate workouts that hone each age group's most vital skills. Classes accommodate children aged 6 weeks–8 years, focusing on skill sets ranging from visual and spatial exploration to gross-motor-skill development to structured games and gymnastics fundamentals. Eventually, this instruction leads up to full cardio and sports-focused classes for children up to 13 years of age, which keep kids fit enough to track and capture their own stuffed animals.
As neon obstacles glow under a series of black lights, teams move through two levels of mazes and catwalks as they avoid the photon blasts of opposing players' and the pitfalls of the 7,500 sq. ft. arena. While sprinting up ramps and seeking cover, players must avoid strategically placed laser mines that flash and beep before tagging anyone within reach, which effectively deactivates their equipment and James Bond trivia knowledge for 12 seconds. Players can earn points by blasting the mines first, while bases and targets offer chances to earn even more tally marks.
After futuristic battles conclude, guests can putt through an 18-hole mini golf course surrounded by alien planets and dinosaurs. Off the course, visitors can also sling skee balls and pop tokens into games in the arcade to win tickets redeemable for prizes. With a laser maze where players navigate beams of light and four party rooms added to the mix, Lazer Gate becomes the ideal spot for birthday parties or training camps for lethargic clones.
A New World Laser Tag and Underworld Gaming serves up family-friendly entertainment in an environment styled with an eye for the futuristic. Similar to zero-gravity dominos, the special effects in the 7,000-square-foot laser tag arena put an unconventional twist on the traditional game. The mysterious space is filled with drifting fog and atmospheric music, eerily illuminated by black lights. Technological advancements, including a competitive scoring system, multiple calibers of laser ammunition, and temporary shields, add an extra layer of progressive excitement to any campaign. Likewise, because New World's lightweight vests are fit for kids ages 3 and older, the whole family or naptime club can come play along, assuming their trigger fingers are ready.