During a round of golf in this region, it’s not uncommon for players to see the occasional alligator sunning itself on the banks of a fairway pond. The same, however, cannot be said for miniature-golf courses, unless you’re playing at Congo River Golf, where the civilized sinking of putts coexists with the visceral carnage of live-alligator feedings. More than 25 alligators wait for patrons to feed them morsels of gator food in an exhibit beside the course. Though the course offers no chance for an encounter with the ancient, scaly species, it enchants players with waterfalls, safari-themed artifacts, and towering rock faces. In addition, Congo River Golf encompasses an indoor arcade and a gemstone-mining station, where guests dig through dirt for fossils, arrowheads, and Neanderthal’s kindergarten time capsules.
Pirate's Island and Pirate's Cove plunge putters deep into a thicket of thieving pirates, buried treasure, and stowaways tangled in rigging. Players select an appropriately sized putting club and a golf ball of any color, asserting individuality while creating polychromatic turf art. Putt through two 18-hole courses (one at the Daytona Beach Shores location), skirting shimmering waterfalls that conceal skeletons and spelunking convocations behind translucent veils. The golf course abuts a glorious gift shop, and snacks are available for additional gold.
The family-friendly attractions at Daytona Lagoon are always buzzing, whether it's swimsuit season or windbreaker weather. Visitors zip through wet twists and turns on the waterpark's pirate-themed slides and climb the nets on the Castaway Bay play structure, which unleashes a downpour of water every two minutes. Visitors don tubes and drift down the lazy river before hopping into a 500,000-gallon wave pool. Upper-level bamboo cabanas let sun-soaked visitors unwind in privacy and shade.
The park's water-free attractions include go-carts, 18 holes of mini golf, a 30-foot rock wall, Island Hopper kids bounce ride, an arcade, and a 3,000-square-foot laser-tag arena where Dirty Harry wannabes can invite challengers to "go ahead, scan my barcode." Gilligan's Sports Bar & Grill offers refreshments and friendly games of pool.
Pebbles constantly skip and bounce along the pavement surrounding Speed Park Motorsports, stirred from their inert rest by the constant thrum of engines. Stratos Karts—miniature vehicles capable of speeds up to 45 miles per hour—grapple with sharp turns and lean straightaways on three tracks known as the Sprint Indy Style, the 1,200-foot Grand Prix, and the elliptical Thundermania course. In Nitro Alley, real dragsters with amateur drivers explode from 0 to 75 miles per hour over 200 feet. Inside the venue, the simulated sounds of engines drown out the real thing in the 7,000-square-foot classic arcade. In addition to walk-in fun, the staff also arranges and hosts birthday parties for speed lovers of all ages.
Jump!Zone throws open its doors to the kids of the world, inviting them to frolic on a safe, bouncy play area comprising six themed inflatables. Little ones revel in the shadow of an air-filled Spongebob Squarepants, who watches out for invading car dealership gorillas. After practicing for their sweet 16 on the Scooby Do Mystery Machine, kids can explore the depths of the Atlantis attraction. Foosball, air-hockey tables, and a full arcade also occupy young bodies between leaps and bounds in the bounce castle. The Battle Zone Combat Play arena is a glow-in-the-dark space houses Bazooka Ball, which uses paintball markers that shoot 2 inch foam balls at opponents. During arena play sessions, parents take advantage of free WiFi in the caf? area, which also slings toothsome snacks to zap appetites accrued from hours of play.
Family Fun Town
collects a half-dozen family friendly attractions into one little village of games and activities. The miniature golf course, for one, challenges visitors with realistic sand and water traps, but also rewards them with views of a scenic waterfall. Go-Karts and competitive arcade games give everyone the chance to try to outdo one another, while batting cages and a bungee bounce ride provide more athletic challenges.
The Town's most unique attraction, though, is the Balladium, a colorful arena filled with obstacles, black lights, and thumping music. At each end of the space stands a row of cannons, capable of launching soft foam balls across the room. Teams man these Ball Blasters and fire back and forth at one another, dodging the projectiles that come their way. Yet the arena was primarily built to be safe for everyone who visits: the facility features rounded edges everywhere, lacks tripping hazards, and remains a secret from the out-of-work pirate community.