"It's like throwing a party every day," Byron Severance, who co-owns The Jumpy Place along with his wife, Cathy, told the Hays Free Press. "It's the most fun I've ever had in a job." Byron and Cathy's indoor playground—kept immaculate with a strict socks-only policy, daily disinfectant washes, and an unbudging ban on trashcan-dwelling Grouches—relieves the endemic of excess energy common to youths aged 10 and younger. As children bounce in and slide down air-filled fortresses, adults entertain themselves with complimentary coffee, WiFi, and cartoon-free television. Both locations are open every day except Tuesday, and each admission grants all-day access that allows families to come and go as they please.
The quiet hanging over 20 acres of white kentucky fence-lined prairie is broken with the opening chords of a power ballad. Lori Ragland is in a light-rock kind of mood today, and has chosen the soundtrack for the afternoon’s riding lessons accordingly. Finding this balance between the serenity of nature and ebullience of horseback riding is key to Lori’s approach to providing a controlled yet supportive learning environment for all of her pupils. A seasoned equestrienne who started her riding career at the tender age of 5, she strongly believes that a rider should possess a solid knowledge of riding safety and horse anatomy before stepping into the stirrups, which is why much time is spent with beginners reviewing these basics. Lori and her equally passionate crew of instructors pride themselves on their almost preternatural ability to pair up riders with their perfect steeds. They carefully analyze each rider’s disposition, comfort level, and fluency in colloquial neighing before matching them with a well-tempered mount from their fleet of 32 predominantly arabian horses.
Sunset Bowling Lanes opened in 1959 with 24 solid-wood lanes and a stockpile of miniature pencils to keep track of spares and strikes. The alley has since upgraded to computerized scoring systems while also maintaining the charm of classic tenpin entertainment. In addition to its open bowling and league opportunities, Sunset Bowling Lanes hosts events such as college nights—which provide students with discounts so they can save up for books or exam mulligans—and keeps its patrons fueled for the eternal turkey hunt with burgers and drinks from the snack bar.
If not for a lawn mower, Jennifer Krou may never have discovered her love for horses. When Jennifer was 6, her grandmother surprised her with a ticket to the county fair. As it turned out, the ticket held the winning raffle number, and Jennifer's grandmother was forced to choose between the two grand prizes: a brand-new, state-of-the-art lawn mower … or a pony. She chose the pony, of course, and gave it to her granddaughter, sparking Jennifer's lifelong love for horses and freeing the mower to graze on an overgrown pasture.
Today, Jennifer passes that passion on to riders of all experience levels during private and semiprivate lessons. Students cover the full spectrum of horsemanship, learn to groom and tack a horse as well as how to handle the reins from the saddle. Fostering a safe and easygoing atmosphere, the instructors encourage pupils to learn both Western and English styles, giving them the freedom to ride on both the right and left sides of a trail.
Wazoo's 15,000-square-foot facility invites kids 13 and younger to let their imaginations loose while playing on eight inflatable attractions. The sound of laughter emanates from the bouncy castles, fills obstacle courses, and silences the pleas of candy-filled animals in the piñata zone. Towering over the facility, a 24-foot slide harnesses the power of gravity to create kid-friendly thrills. Elsewhere, the aptly named Toddler Town boasts age-appropriate toys and inflatables that let younger ones in on the fun. Wazoo's other features include a concession stand and big-screen TVs that keep parents up to date on the political climate of nearby bouncy castles.
Locomotion Inflatable Play disguises healthy servings of exercise with hours of fun and games at its colorful, indoor activity center. Inside, socked adventurers are set free to explore or count each of the facility's 12,000 square feet, which are covered in bouncy inflatables and themed play areas. Playrooms for toddlers keep younger guests separate from older kids, and a miniature town encourages its visitors to cook up their own scenarios at a theater, grocery store, and 1950s-style diner. In addition to open-play sessions, Locomotion hosts birthday parties, and also features a Stuffin' Station, where kids build their own stuffed lions, bears, and dinosaurs to play with when their imaginary friends are busy.