Painted Earth makes it simple for amateur artisans and ceramic virtuosos to produce colorful pottery pieces using a variety of stencils, stamps, and patterns. Start by choosing your desired vessel from a vast selection of more than 500 ceramic pieces ($6–$70), including coffee mugs ($10–$17), dinner plates ($14–$20), and miniature figurines ($8–$30) to festoon with the likeness of a pet or distant relative. Pick a design from the store's volumes of idea books, select from more than 100 colors, and then create a design for an earthenware masterpiece. For artists suffering from painter's block, Painted Earth hosts an online inspiration gallery, and friendly staff members stand ready to assist with the pigmenting process. Glazing, firing, and vibrantly hued paints are included in the flat studio fee ($6 per person per visit), and polished objects are ready one week later.
Boy-band juggernaut and Nickelodeon sensation Big Time Rush shines like the sun’s sons as its hotly anticipated Big Time Summer Tour enraptures flocks of fans with pop bliss. The fab foursome, known as BTR to fans and preteen stenographers, first snatched the hearts of millions with its eponymous TV show, which is the most-watched live-action series in Nickelodeon’s history. On the group's choreographed carnival of a tour, expert hoofer and crooner Kendall Schmidt leads the affable cast of personalities, which includes James (the ladies' man), Carlos (the joker), and Logan (the smarty warty), through hits from its gold debut, BTR. Chart-topping sophomore album, Elevate, also sees its anthemic tunes represented, such as “Music Sounds Better With U” and “All Over Again.” Expect elastic dance moves from the dapper quadratic and possible numbers from the just-released Big Time Movie, in which BTR covers tunes by obscure boy band The Beatles. Australian wunderkind Cody Simpson starts the show with peppy rallies and aural morality plays about how love can be tough and why stealing your dad’s head to sneak into R-rated movies isn’t cool.
Fiesta Village provides fun-seeking families with a multifaceted recreational destination. Unlike 100-yard dashes, the winding Fiesta Raceway gives lead-footed youngsters the chance to put their metallic extremities to good use, and a pair of mini-golf courses provides an all-you-can-putt birdie buffet. Head for the roller rink for a leisurely leg cruise, or hit the ride park for attractions such as the tilt-a-whirl, Bogey's Bounce House, and Slugger's Super Slide, which shows kids that gravity does more than just keep us from bumping into clouds. A 2,400-square-foot laser tag arena allows children to wield future weapons with mock-deadly cunning. Fiesta Village offers a concentrated dose of entertainment that surpasses the diluted offerings of much bigger recreational municipalities, such as Funky Towns and Paradise Cities.
At Fast Lap, the shouts of competitive camaraderie drift above buzzing gas-powered engines as riders whiz through traffic and maneuver around a track designed by former racers of the International Kart Federation and driven on by the likes of Kyle Busch and Ricky Carmichael. Pedals scoot toward metal during trips around the 1,200-foot-long, 20-foot-wide speedway, and knuckles whiten in the cockpit of a Honda-powered go-kart that reaches speeds up to 50 miles per hour. For the uninitiated, Fast Lap hosts classes that teach riders how to hug turns and get a second date afterward.
Scandia Amusement Park adds a Nordic theme to classic amusement-park rides. Towering over the park, the signature Scandia Screamer Coaster sends riders through more high-speed drops, twists, and turns than that time they tried to cartwheel down the stairs. Shrieks of excitement echo at Cliff Jumper, a 100-foot-drop tower, and the Viking Ship, which swings like a giant pendulum through the air. A kiddie section treats young visitors to less-intense rides, including a carousel and the aptly named Little Dipper Coaster.
Back on the ground, more than 12,000 vibrant flowers line two Scandavian-themed putt-putt courses. Waterfalls and trickling streams calm players as they putt golf balls through challenging obstacles such as a stone castle. The competition continues at batting cages, which hurl baseballs and scoops of ice cream at speeds of up to 70 miles per hour. Aside from these everyday attractions, Scandia Amusement Park lures in visitors with birthday-party packages and a seasonal haunted house.