On Friday and Saturday evenings, as party songs thump in the background, lasers beam over a row of 24 lanes—each home to a rack of glowing pins—and reflect off their thin layer of oil into the fog. Of course, Playdrome Devon Lanes hosts regular open-bowling hours throughout the rest of the week, when it echoes with the sound of crashing pins and celebratory sirens from the on-site arcade. Though unseen, heard, or smelled, the signal from complimentary WiFi streams through the air as well, allowing players to post their high scores online or to look up the cheat codes that enable the bowling balls' rocket boosters. Playdrome Devon Lanes also allows customers to bring their own food and beverages.
It all started with a farmer's generosity. In 1924, a civic-minded citizen handed over 16 acres of lush farmland and a small group of critters to the Borough of Norristown. Today, the Elmwood Park Zoo and the Norristown Zoological Society welcomes guests in hopes of creating a future stock of wildlife lovers and conservation advocates. A menagerie of around 300 beasts indigenous to the Americas—including jaguars, howler monkeys, timberwolves, and bald and gold eagles—peer back at visitors. Even though they're from Africa, giraffes get in on the fun too during certain seasons, grazing on foliage and the toupees of particularly tall patrons. Guests can also spy on more than 15 species that are threatened or endangered. All the while, smaller animals mosey around at the petting barn, tots climb aboard gentle ponies, and winged beauties sail through the air at the butterfly preserve.
For more than 50 years, Facenda-Whitaker Lanes has trained Pennsylvanian strike and spare forces with 50 lanes of premier rolling grounds. Up to four companions will take to the bowling center’s polished alleys for two hours of uninterrupted spherical dueling, facing off with a staggering mastery of focus, ball english, and pin targeting. Facenda-Whitaker Lanes keeps its doors open 24 hours a day to entertain sleepwalkers tired of boring strolls around the living room and outfits each lane with optional bumpers for bowlers of all ages.
The sounds of cheery competition float across Grand Slam USA's 30,000-square-foot arena, which teems with athletic challenges, a vibrant bounce houses, and other diversions. A glow-in-the-dark miniature-golf course leads putters through nine holes of ominous pirate-themed obstacles, including a ramp into a skull's jaws, a hole fraught with sharks, and perilous unswabbed decks. Adrenaline-soaked games of laser tag lead beam duelers through mazes, around partitions, and over platforms, where they rack up points for hitting special targets and rivals. At the end of each bout, players receive individual score cards that detail high scores and lines flubbed during MAS*H reenactments.
Beth Kostans achieved her childhood dream of owning a horse farm on the day that she established Plainbrooke Farm. The lifelong rider and equine enthusiast also passed down her passion to her daughter Megan, who today joins her mother to teach lessons on horsemanship and riding to students of all ages. Alongside fellow instructor Katie Homer, the mother-daughter duo commands the farm’s fleet of horses with compassion and finesse, pairing each animal with a student who most closely matches its demeanor and sense of humor.
When founding The Red Buffalo Ranch, retired Montgomery County district attorney Mike Marino selected a prime spot on the edge of 3,500-acre Evansburg State Park, where he could lead trail rides across the expansive, bucolic surroundings. Experienced guides lead groups on horseback over the park’s meadows, creeks, and streams, sticking to trails suitable for the skill level of each rider. During rides, guests can admire the ranch’s well-trained steeds.