Each year during early spring, the frost clinging to Indiana's Calumet region thaws, clearing the way for fresh grass, budding flowers, and smooth go-kart tracks. It's along the banked turns of Zig-E's Funland's Rippin' Raceway that drivers experience the cool breezes of the freshly temperate outdoors while careening over a 1/5-mile track. Zig-E's friendly staff is on hand to point visitors in the direction of the new tactical laser tag, bungee trampoline, or toward the waterfall-flanked greens of the 18-hole mini-golf course that blankets the 3.4-acre property. Inside, a year-round arcade is packed with more than 50 video and redemption games that buzz and blip as players pass virtual levels and amass tokens. Throughout the day, staffers at the snack shop reenergize fun seekers with tasty snacks and drinks and tales of the day humans first came down from the mountain to play Laser Tag.
Entertainment at the Crete Family Fun Center includes a Cannonball Wars arena, in which teams fire foam balls into the opposing crew’s net. Players work up a sweat while dodging focused light in an indoor laser-tag arena or playing classic and modern games in the arcade, and bumper cars provide catharsis for overworked driving instructors. Crete’s onsite restaurant dishes up treats such as pizzas, hot dogs, and burgers.
Go-karts roar across the racetrack, bumper boats collide, and the cracking sound of confined home runs rings out from batting cages. This multisensory symphony fills the landscaped grounds of Fun Time Square, where attraction after attraction beckons visitors of all ages to kiddie train rides, 18 holes of mini golf, and the blinking lights of pinball machines in the onsite arcade. More intense thrills unfold at a paintball field, where abandoned cars, inflated cover, and war-torn art teachers guard players from enemy paint.
Frequented by the Orland Fire Rescue squad, Pro Sports Performance & Fitness helps guests achieve their fitness goals in a sprawling, high-ceilinged facility. The coaches customize workouts for each client, tailoring the moves to help stimulate weight loss or improve sports performance. All the coaches have studied nutrition or exercise science and are athletes themselves.
For nearly two decades, On-Deck Baseball Academy has been prepping ballplayers for life on the diamond with guidance from veteran instructors and training in versatile drill cages. After adjusting to the player's height and preferred pitching speed, Iron Mike pitching machines hurl fastballs down center plate; for a more authentic game-day experience, players can test their skill against a human pitcher in the live cage.
Hitting isn’t the only skill taught at the sprawling baseball complex. Inside the 120-foot toss cage, catchers can practice throwing out base runners stealing second or brushing back batters who get too close to their personal space. In one-on-one instructional sessions, former players devote their undivided attention to students, teaching them fundamentals and correcting their pitching and fielding techniques. These lessons take place in skill-development cages outfitted with movable mounds, pitching targets, and L-screen protection.
Outside, snow falls, wind rattles leaf-less branches, and winter blankets the landscape. Then the crack of the bat rings out. That sound of summer is available all year long at Stella's, which offers heated indoor batting cages in the winter and open-air outdoor cages in the summer. An onsite bats and gloves shop outfits players with stacks of Easton and Wilson A2000 mitts and Louisville Slugger and DeMarini bats.
As the sight of pop flies and line drives keep summer always within reach, so too do the aromas of Vienna hot dogs, bratwursts, and burgers wafting through the air. Stella's restaurant also provides ball players and their families with homemade Italian ice and soft-serve ice cream. To celebrate turning another year older or finally getting zombie Babe Ruth on the team, Stella's offers party packages that include good eats, game tokens, and batting cages.