Jak's Warehouse's bright green, off-kilter sign hints at the fun to be had behind its weathered-brick entryway. Within the industrial-themed indoor playground, children dodge beams of light in a laser maze, collide in a bumper-cars arena, and navigate tunnels and launch volleys of foam balls in a Ballocity climbing structure. Under the glow of black lights, they compete in games of laser tag and play through a nine-hole, city street-themed mini-golf course. The four-story Sky Trail climbing structure’s elevated platforms and swinging ropes let small visitors nearly touch the ceiling of the expansive space, while on the ground, nearly 100 modern arcade games fill the Warehouse floor with lights and Morse-code messages from Pac Man to his wife. Though Jak’s Warehouse doesn't permit outside food or drink, casual café fare is available at the on-site Forklift Restaurant, including sandwiches, hot dogs, and pizzas.
The sounds of hockey sticks slapping pucks, ice skates carving figure eights, and trampoline springs squeaking fill Midwest Training and Ice Center. Adding to the soundscape, experienced staff members shout words of encouragement during adult and youth activities that unfold throughout the 34,000-square-foot gymnastics training facility and the Olympic-sized ice arena.
To help visitors grab an edge on their competition, personal trainers stage workouts in the fitness center, which includes strength and cardio equipment, group classes, and locker rooms equipped with a sauna?one of the best ways to relax post workout, and the second best way to cook a turkey. Though the facility focuses on competitive-training programs, its doors also open for public skates, open gyms, youth summer camps, and birthday parties.
Stardust Bowl's two locations welcome everyone from casual groups to diehard competitors, keeping lanes open as late as 11 p.m. in Merrillville and as late as 12 a.m. in Dyer. In between frames, patrons can refuel with a quick bite or drink from the snack bar, try their hand at the Merrillville location's billiard tables, or visit the Dyer alley's arcade. The Dyer location ramps up the energy on select evenings with starlight bowling, showering all 48 lanes with laser lights and cranking up the sound system's playlist of spirited mayoral debates.
Though you may see humanoid, purple dinosaurs and mouses wearing tuxedos roam amid the slides and obstacle courses at Jump N’ Jam Playland, it's no reason to call the doctor. In fact, it's a completely regular occurrence. Inside this inflatable playground––filled with bounce castles, jungle gyms, and basketball courts––characters from a variety of children’s shows appear to mingle with kiddies during Party! Party! Party! birthday celebrations. At open-play sessions, groups of kids to bounce and climb alongside friends for hours.
Castaways Bowl caters to its clients with 32 lanes, a full-service eatery, billiards, and other games while retaining the same family-run charm it’s had since 1950. They host competitive bowling tournaments as well as bowling programs that teach the game to children as young as 2, before they can develop the ability to feel empathy for maltreated pins. To fuel further pin-pummeling exploits, Windy City Pizza—an on-site eatery—cooks up a hefty menu of chicken, pasta, and pizza for famished bowlers.
While watching the 2005 film Roll Bounce, moviegoers were probably too busy staring at roller-skating stars Nick Cannon and Bow Wow as they busted high-flying, acrobatic moves on the rink. With so much action on screen, audiences may not have had the chance to notice something slightly subtler—that the film was actually shot at Lynwood Roller Rink. Take one step inside the old-school facility, though, and the location scout’s pick seems almost too obvious: the rink's dedication to classic decor, such as bright-red neon lights and multiple disco balls, give it the feel of an untouched time capsule. But don’t let the vintage vibes fool you entirely—the rink also hosts new-school events, including Latin-inspired Zumba sessions on select weekday evenings.