A menagerie of feathered and furry guests greet visitors at Nichols-Boyd Pumpkin Patch, including Gretel the Swan, Tom the Turkey, and April the Zedonk (a cross between a zebra and a donkey). Guests nestle into the hay-lined beds of Big Red or Big Green for a tractor ride through the farm’s pumpkin-filled fields before stopping off for a sweet Dixie cup full of secret pumpkin juice. The pumpkin patch also offers face painting, a ride on Nick the Train, and a gift store with homemade pumpkin bread, peanut brittle, and Mississippi honey. Farm visitors can conclude their trip with an Odyssian amble through the corn maze, traveling in the daytime or moving at night armed with glow sticks and wood chips to feed to teething scarecrows.
Surrounded by the works of classes past, pupils at Easely Amused create their own pieces of art under the tutelage of experienced instructors. Provided brushes whisper against canvas while students follow their teacher to create a painting that matches the evening’s template. Like driving directions from a poet, the works often include seasonal scenes, abstract swirls of color, and bright flowers. Painters bring their own beverages to enjoy during classes, the clicking glasses of wine and beer helping provide inspiration for art.
The Cages' four indoor batting chambers house baseball and softball players ages 11 and up as they hone their swings on pitches from tireless mechanical arms. Multiple batters may share the 30-minute cage-rental session and afterward crack maple against an additional 60 fastballs served by the adjustable Iron Mike machines. The automated bicep slings orbs between 45 and 80 miles per hour in a customizable strike zone, inviting bunts, line drives, and soaring fruit salads. The Cages provide baseballs and softballs, but sluggers caddy their own lumber, helmets, and batting gloves to practice.
Keg and Barrel’s grub gurus sizzle up a selection of hearty pub fare, and its tap masters furnish chalices with sudsy selections from onsite Southern Prohibition Brewery and from hop-houses around the country, earning the drink haven a spot as one of Draft Magazine ’s top beer bars in America for 2010 and 2011. While perusing the list brimming with 55 on-tap beers and more than 40 bottled brews, nosh on an order of fried green tomatoes ($7) or chips and homemade salsa ($5). Then move on to more substantial spreads, such as the traditional fish ‘n’ chips ($8) or a selection from the bevy of burgers, seafood, and salads. John Neal’s chicken and waffles, much like a Pop Tart–flavored Hot Pocket, fuses the tastes of breakfast and dinner for a distinctive dining experience ($7), and the Sweet and Smokey sandwich lassos together turkey breast, provolone, and granny-smith apples between cinnamon-raisin bread for a highly inventive take on a traditional deli staple ($8). The knowledgeable staffers provide suggestions for beer pairings, helping patrons to find the perfect complement for any meal, from the wasabi-crusted tuna ($15) to a bag of smuggled-in fruit snacks.
Long the home of the Mississippi Choctaw Indians, Dancing Rabbit Golf Club derives its name from the waterway that snakes across its grounds, which the Choctaw referred to as "the creek where rabbits dance." The club's name is not the only thing that hearkens back to a bygone era: towering, mature pines and hardwoods cast their shadows across the 700-acre plot, which hosts two handsome, challenging 18-hole layouts designed by course architect Tom Fazio and former PGA star Jerry Pate. Opened in 1997, the Azaleas course connects Bermuda fairways and bentgrass greens in a 7,128-yard layout that takes full advantage of the surrounding water. The zoysia fairways and Bermuda greens of the Oaks course, meanwhile, offer a slightly different feel, though the two courses are similar in length, difficulty, and topography.
Regardless of which course they play, golfers will have to keep their wits about them until the very last shot, as both feature 18th greens guarded by water hazards. Before hitting the course, guests can warm up at a practice facility that includes a driving range with seven target greens and three contoured putting greens, as well as a bunker where they can practice sand shots or dig for ancient divot tools.
Azaleas Course at a Glance:
Oaks Course at a Glance:
Sprawling across an indoor arena, Pump It Up's giant inflatables beckon kids to slide and bounce during private parties and open play. Technicolor bouncy castles send their inhabitants soaring, obstacle courses foster good-spirited competition, and ceiling-to-floor slides let sock-clad kiddies pretend they're escaping a giant gumball machine. Occasionally, Pump it Up's staff dims the lights and turns up the music to transform their facility into a glow-in-the-dark party catered to tweens and teens.
Pump It Up's staff supervises the arena during parties, giving parents time to relax and play patty cake uninterrupted. They can also help customers design personalized parties inside a private room with options such as pizza, drinks, goodie bags, balloons, and ice cream.