In the summer of 1980, more than a foot of water flooded CJ's Willow Bowling Center, warping the floors and ruining the equipment. But faced with catastrophe, owners Charlie and Jean Rayburn used the incident as an opportunity to outfit the alley with 16 new lanes and revamped scoring systems. Today, a second generation of the family runs the business with the same resolve that has defined it since 1955. On weekends, bowlers pummel pins amid the fluorescence of cosmic bowling lights, or stop by the snack bar to fuel up with pizza. At the pro shop, patrons can renovate bowling balls with resurfacing, hole drilling, and initial engravings, saving them from the hassle of having to carve their faces into the sides.
Whether sinking a putt or demolishing a high score, Walther's Golf & Fun surrounds visitors with the trappings of the tropics. On the dual miniature golf courses, one indoor and one outdoor, waterfalls and banana trees give the feel of golfing through a vibrant jungle. The laser-tag course is similarly themed, with tangles of neon lights washing over palm trees and weathered ruins. Jungle-print carpet coats the floor of the fully stocked arcade, and golfers practicing on the driving range wait impatiently for one droopy toucan to collect and return their golf balls.
It's easy to get lost in Two Bit Bandit Family Fun Center's massive arcade, and even easier to spend the entire day aiming for the high score on everything from air hockey to Jurassic Park pinball. But do yourself a favor and save a few hours to explore the non-virtual fun zones, which include eight batting cages and four one-on-one basketball courts. The family fun center is a popular place to celebrate a birthday or office MVP award, as two-hour celebrations include a thematically decorated party room.
Hoof Beats Stable brings horses and riders together for hours of enjoyment during lessons, training sessions, and parties. At an indoor arena, riders mount powerful steeds to learn basic skills or sharpen their English- and Western-riding skills. Instructors teach students the techniques they want to learn, whether it's bareback riding or parallel parking. Parties at the stable bring party guests nose-to-muzzle with gentle horses.
Skate World offers a family-friendly venue for active adults and equally restless kids to spend a day swiftly circling a smooth, polished rink. Speedy swivelers can strap on their choice of regular, speed, or inline skates, and take the floor with siblings, friends, or first dates, wondering whether or not to quote Xanadu. Post-skate, tired gliders can rest weary feet and refuel internal engines with a slice of pizza and cold drink from the snack bar. A healthy form of exercise for all ages, roller-skating can help languid loafers get back on their feet and remind them what it feels like to wear shoes again.
Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden has been providing a close-to-home adventure for visitors of all ages for more than 80 years. Situated on 50 acres of rolling hills, the zoo features more than 700 animals from all areas of our spinning communal spaceship. Explore the flora and fauna of the Amazon Rainforest in the new Amazonia exhibit. Like Tarzan or a biologist on stilts, visitors can view swinging monkeys and perched tropical birds socializing in the upper echelons from the suspension bridge. The 45-foot-tall roof allows space for the forest of tall jungle trees, palms, and a roaring waterfall to form a true canopy.