At Greenacres Bowl's lacquered lane emporium, competitors ranging from pint-size to full-size unleash spherical fury seven days per week. Strikes, spares, and sequential cheers ring through the center late into the evenings on weekends, which features laser bowling on Fridays and Saturdays. Automatic scoring helps cut down on disputes between opposing players or teams of Olympic figure-skating judges. In addition to games between friends, the facility also plays host to pin-punishing birthday parties, as well as leagues designed for all levels and ages. A recently sprouted billiards room lures eyes away from slick lanes and onto felt tables and high-definition televisions, while an on-site pro-shop stocks the latest shoes, gear, and accessories.
It's 1980-something. Glen, a young boy, dons a pair of glasses with one blue lens and one red, excited by this new technology that's supposed to make things on the screen pop out at you. During the next two hours, Glen ducks swooping avians during the revival of Alfred Hitchcock's ¬_The Birds_ in 3-D, terrified, yet thrilled. This is one of Glen Gray's earliest memories about the theater his father built more than 30 years ago. Today, Glen lives out those moments each day as the proprietor of Movies of Delray, where the projectors roll a medley of Hollywood features, and foreign, art-house, and independent films.
Gold walls and burgundy curtains lend to the lobby’s art-deco air, and a large chandelier illuminates more than 60 pencil drawings of movie icons of yore, such as John Wayne, Elvis, and Marilyn Monroe. This old-fashioned lobby disguises the updates within: brand-new bathrooms, granite countertops at the concession stand, and in the theaters themselves, digital surround sound and updated seating. Rows of black leather seats cushion moviegoers with high backs and wide benches so cozy that Glen claims guests have fallen asleep in them, only waking up at the end of the picture or when Bruce Willis turns out to have been a metaphor all along.
In celebration of film, professor Shelly Isaacs graces the theater with screenings of obscure Oscar-winning or Oscar-nominated foreign films. After each screening, he discusses the film with audiences, dissecting and analyzing the cinematography, characters, and plot.
Palm Beach Skate Zone's 75,000-square-foot facility encompasses two ice rinks and a roller rink under its climate-controlled eaves, which host public skate sessions, ice- and roller-hockey teams, figure skating, and parties. The year-round roller skating and ice-skating schedule beckons the public to glide around Skate Zone’s rinks, which are all well tended and never used for ice fishing. A dedicated team of coaches and managers works diligently to maintain the skate center’s award-winning Blackhawks youth ice-hockey teams, a travel hockey program, and the Palm Beach Figure Skating Club, whose skaters are trained to remain perfectly still when in the line of sight of a woolly mammoth.
On most days at Palm Beach Strike Zone, one can see an onslaught of bowling balls traveling down the lanes. On others, it's a helmet-wielding maniac sliding headfirst into the pins. Whatever the method employed, the alley's quality lanes ensure fair play and minimal friction. At the sports bar, visitors practice their bowling biceps by repeatedly lifting mugs of beer and slices of pizza, craning their necks to watch flat-screen televisions. Party rooms give birthday kids the chance to address their friends in private, before retiring to the lanes to take in a light and sound show as they bowl. And poker and cornhole games round out Palm Beach Strike Zone's opportunities for fun.
The aroma of salt and butter fills Alco Capital Theaters in Boynton Beach. Manager Larry Forbes has worked in theaters for three decades, having started out projecting midnight rock flicks at a drive-in in Fort Lauderdale. He therefore balances a sentimental attachment to film with the practical aspects that make it good for business. "If there's a problem and you have a technician—which we do onsite all the time—you can fix it immediately," he points out. Although the majority of work is projected from film, the theater's eight screening rooms are not warehouses for nostalgia. Digital and Dolby 3-D projectors deliver sharp pictures and immersive experiences to stadiums of 1,500 lumbar-supportive seats, as digital speakers and ADA listening devices make eardrums quake.
During the winter, moviegoers prepare for the upcoming awards season with a full slate of Academy Award–nominated films. On some summer days 700–800 kids will flood the theater by 10 a.m. for adventure flicks and romantic comedies, and when things slow down in the fall, Forbes fires off notices of indie premieres and director Q&A sessions to members of the Movi-E Mail Club, who have chatted with director Susan Seidelman and burgeoning stars from The Palm Beach County Film & Television Institute. On federal holidays, the staff host a special matinee for students, and every Tuesday they pile free popcorn into reusable plastic buckets and vacant laps. The theater's dedication to its audience extends to special requests—Forbes remembers slipping a man's wedding-proposal video into the previews one night. Although he doesn't remember the film, Forbes does remember the woman's answer: she said yes.
Two floors of interactive exhibits help the Schoolhouse Children's Museum and Learning Center teach its pint-sized patrons about the history of the South Florida region. Mini milk-chuggers can indulge their lactose leanings at the Dairy Days exhibit, where they can take a turn milking a cow, whereas tractor-crazy tots might head for the Farmhouse, where they can role-play to learn about local agri-history. A 15-foot model of the Jupiter Lighthouse sports an animatronic clone of pioneer Hannibal Pierce that talks to visiting children during museum hours and sings baritone in the after-hours choir.