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.
Each year, Native American Days draws crowds of 10,000–15,000 visitors to celebrate North America’s ancient cultures on the site of a former Mississippian settlement. After parking a car or roller-skating horse on-site, attendees can head to a performance area at the center of the grounds to take in traditional dancing, storytelling, and music, including performances by Estun-Bah, a musical group led by world-champion hoop dancer Tony Duncan. For an additional fee, a variety of workshops teach patrons time-tested skills such as archery, beadwork, and how to construct a drum out of a laptop case. Native American Days kicks off at 9 a.m. each day and lasts until 2 p.m. on September 23 and until 5 p.m. on September 24 and 25.
A quintessential example of Second Empire architecture, the Victorian–era Reitz House enchants guests with a glimpse of bygone American culture. Built in 1871 as the home to lumber baron John Augustus Reitz, the immaculately maintained manor lures guests with antique luxuries including period furniture, hand-painted ceilings, and steam-powered Nintendos. French gilt chandeliers illuminate hand-laid wood parquet floors and marble fireplaces, and stained-glass windows cast multihued mosaics on the ground in the afternoon. The old carriage house holds the museum's gift shop and visitors' center, where themed mementos await visitors commemorating first visits or last Jane Austen dissertations. Scholars also lead one-hour group tours starting at the visitors' center, guiding guests into the least known nooks of Reitz history.