Multiple rows of pinball machines manufactured from the early 1960s through today shelter plungers and flippers as they fling the silver spheres toward illumined targets. Entertaining guests between bouts of pinball, air hockey, and abundant arcade classics—such as Centipede, Ms. Pac-Man, and Asteroids —await with flashing lights infused with friendly competition. Klassic Arcade celebrates its impressive stock of more than 100 different varieties of glass-bottled soda pop during its annual Midwest Soda Pop Festival, which combines pop tastings and judging with live music and games. The arcade also spearheads the annual Pinball at the 'Zoo festival, at which attendees can play more than 100 arcade and pinball games for free in between tournaments, auctions, and seminars with the original 8-bit Mario and Luigi. Completing the lineup of exciting diversions is the outdoor M-40 Raceway track, which hosts off-road RC racers.
Echo Valley brings together tobogganing, tubing, and ice skating into one snowy spot for wintertime revelry. At the tobogganing hill, quarter-mile runs accelerate sledders to speeds as fast as 60 MPH before bringing them to a safe halt at the bottom, where the staff then sends the toboggan back to the top via an overhead lift. Ice skaters find ample space for gliding and pirouetting on the 43,000 square-foot rink. After tubing to their heart’s content or taste-testing snowflake appetizers, visitors can warm themselves around the lodge’s circular fireplace or observe fellow snow-goers from the expansive observation deck while sipping on hot chocolate or nibbling on snacks.
Pinz Kalamazoo celebrates classic tenpin competition throughout the week with open hours, league opportunities, and cosmic bowling sessions. On top of all 36 synthetic bowling surfaces, bowlers can await upcoming frames while relaxing on luxury couches or peering deep into flat-screen television sets. On Friday and Saturday evenings, the lanes take on glowing hues that emulate the experience of bowling under the Northern Lights without the inconvenience of getting frostbite. At the onsite bar and grill, guests can snack on hearty pub selections including burgers, wraps, corn dogs, and barbecue nachos. Pinz Kalamazoo?s game room is equipped with pool tables and dartboards.
Stacy Hess—owner and operator of Hillcrest Stables, LLC—brings more than two decades’ worth of experience to her year-round saddleseat riding lessons. As a trainer, she specializes in American Saddlebred, Hackney Pony, and Saddleseat Friesian; however, all 21 of her steeds can be ridden in shows and lessons. Beginners through advanced riders can learn how to show inside a heated facility as friends and family cheer and make bets as to the horse’s shoe size in the facility’s comfortable viewing room.
Kalamazoo Nature Center's 14-mile expanse of trails weaves around 1,100 acres of ponds, prairies, and forests, giving nature lovers of all ages an ample arena to hike, learn, and explore one of the first nature centers in the country. Membership allows unlimited free admission to the preserve so that visitors can soak up a diverse array of wild flowers, birds, and majestic park benches in natural habitat. Kalamazoo hosts a slew of family and children activities on select Saturdays, such as "Story Corner at the Barn," during which a storyteller corrals tykes aged 8 and younger for visits with sheep, goats, and barnyard residents before and after reading them pastoral tales. Additionally, Kalamazoo Nature Center members receive a 10% discount at Expedition Gift Shop, a bimonthly newsletter subscription, and discounts on youth camps for ages 3–17.
A Kalamazoo Gazette readers' choice nominee for best bowling locale, Holiday Lanes leads spheres toward strike salvation via 32 shiny waxed pathways. Bring a trio of ball-tossers with you for a one-hour pin-smashing soiree ($3.50 per game per person), staying fueled with a one-topping pizza ($9) and a pitcher of beer ($7.25) or soda ($4.25). Before charging lane teeth with nine pounds of compounded plastic, each sanctimonious split-thrower can step into a snug pair of rented shoes ($2.75 per person), engineered to help bowlers stay focused by shielding their feet from feather dusters. Keep tabs on cheating friends and girlfriends with Holiday Lanes' easy-to-use Brunswick scoring system, which crowns only the evening's true kingpins.