"The eyes on those marines were something to remember, because they had really been through it. And they were laughing and talking and smiling, but their eyes didn't smile. They were just fierce." These are the words Ceil Dennis—a lieutenant colonel in the Army Air Corps during World War II—used to describe his encounter with off-duty marines when he first landed on Iwo Jima. They wanted to sit in Dennis's P-51 airplane, a welcome sight for the troops spending three days on and three days off fighting for control of the Japanese stronghold. Their eyes told the story of men who, according to Dennis, "earned that island the hard way."
The recorded interview is part of the Veterans History Project, a collaboration between the Warhawk Air Museum and the Library of Congress, that is designed to preserve the voices of the past for future generations. It's just one of several ways that the museum honors the lives and sacrifices of military personnel.
Museum President John Paul and his wife, Sue, cofounded the 40,000-square-foot nonprofit museum at the Nampa Municipal Airport to house the ever-growing collection of planes and war memorabilia, including wartime sweetheart pillows, ration books, and some of Rosie the Riveter's actual elbow grease. Paul's passion for historical aircraft and wartime artifacts began in 1950, when he was 8 years old. He ran from his classroom to see the source of a deafening roar over the school, discovering the blue underbellies of two WWII F4U Navy Corsair fighter planes and the hobby that would become his vocation. Over the years, Paul's love for vintage fighter planes has led him on scavenger hunts and rescue missions, salvaging historic aircraft that would otherwise have been abandoned as scrap metal.
They run the nonprofit organization along with their son, John-Curtiss Paul, who was named after the Curtiss P-40 WWII Warhawk. The family aims to educate visitors about the technology, cultural, and social changes that North America has seen since World War I. Guests can schedule a tour of the museum, visit the gift shop, or even request a sponsorship ride in a restored P-40 aircraft.
Green, yellow, and red. If lined up correctly, those three colors should cause a gasp of excitement from players at Nampa Bowl. During Monte Carlo, colored pins mean big bucks for players who roll a strike?up to $50 at a time. That's just one of the special events that takes place across Nampa Bowl's 24 lanes. Each weekend, cosmic bowling transforms the alley into a party with laser lights and a live DJ, who is secretly a sentient bowling pin dressed up in a suit.
Tournaments take on a more competitive vibe, while other events have a charitable focus, such as fund raisers for the Special Olympics. An arcade, occasional karaoke, and the onsite 11th Frame Lounge keep the fun going long after the final strike.
At The Nampa Rollerdrome, kids and adults speed around a more than 60-year-old wood-floored skating rink flanked by a snack bar, party room, and ample hangout space. Birthday parties fill bellies with pizza in a private room boasting a wall illustration of Mickey Mouse, which mysteriously ages even as revelers remain eternally youthful. Roller-hockey leagues facilitate friendly competition among all age groups, and late-night Friday skate sessions keep in-line wheels in motion till midnight. Gamers can take a break from strenuous rinkmanship in the game room, stocked with air hockey, a crane game, and Ms. Pac-Man, in which players woo an ambitious bachelorette married to her ghost-swallowing career.
Featured on local Fox 12 News, Bounce offers physical activities for families with its bounce houses and obstacle courses. The anti-gravity facility encourages kids and parents to get active, eschewing video games, which render players stationary and more likely to become mothball carriers. Once inside the hyperactive interior, visitors can sample from a variety of springy stunts, including the Velcro wall, slide, and bounce castle. An adult bounce house and kiddie play area keep things organized, but all-out malarkey ensues when parents and kids duke it out with Sumo wrestling suits, cartoon-proportion boxing gloves, and American Gladiator–style jousting. A concessions stand with café seating offers snacks to replenish calories, and free WiFi is available to settle heated debates over the etymology of fracas.
Each Friday and Saturday night in October, thrill-seekers are lured to the fields of The Farmstead to test their fear capacity. Legend has it that the fields are haunted by the ghosts of local prisoners who disappeared inexplicably in 1972, after the release of Donny Osmond's "Puppy Love" sent them reeling into abject confusion. Since that fated year, a series of strange natural disasters, chilling winds, and ominous shadows have ruined all attempts at crop growth and healthy harvest. Stand up to these inconsiderate spirits with an army of friends, or apply a thick coat of glow-in-the-dark body-glitter and strut confidently alone into the Field of Screams. Bob in and out amongst the tall stalks of corn, keeping an eyeball peeled for abandoned farm equipment, sentient chainsaws, and escaped prisoners. If, when you arrive, you realize that you overestimated the contents of your courage knapsack, opt for a scoot down the kid-friendly Scaredy Cat Trail.
At Gameworld, fun materializes in a variety of forms, from bowling to arcade games modeled after sporty endeavors and amusement park rides. Bowlers launch spheres down regulation-size lanes or the abbreviated alleys of a replica of Highway 66, featuring mini lanes striped with a highway median that cater specifically to toddlers, but can entertain competitors of all ages. After lifting bowling balls, gamers can cool down in the arcade, a haven for a veritable timeline of electronic adversaries from yesteryear's Pac-Man to modern Daytona racecars, as well as air hockey and a small climbing wall. The MaxFlight Simulator reigns supreme among its peers, emulating the jolting twists and turns of a rollercoaster ride without the annoyance of picking bugs off of teeth. Players refuel at Perky's Pizza with crispy slices or entire pies made to order, which can also power kids through bowling birthday parties that include bowling, gaming, and goody bags.