Working at the 1996 Summer Olympics and the 1994 World Cup are a few of the sporting events on camp director Shelly Watkins's resumé, which she draws on to run a summer camp for kids of all ages. A mother herself, she believes in giving each child individual attention, recognition, and respect, rewarding campers with high-fives and compliments for jobs well done. Together with assistant camp director Cortney Spiegel, she runs fun-packed day camps focused on arts, sports, field trips, and specialty programs. Professional counselors work with pintsize Pacinos in the Lights, Camera, Action class to make short films; kick off Nerf-themed sports events in the Nerf Extravaganza class; or venture out to bowling, movies, rollerblading, and laser tag during the Mega Adventure Field Trip. Shelly and her friendly crew also lead precamp and aftercamp activities for early-morning and evening supervision, and junior camp for campers aged 4¬–7 or 10-year-olds having their pre-preteen life crisis.
Happy shouts float across Swings-N-Things Family Fun Park, whipping out of the mouths of drivers racing around go-kart tracks and captains ricocheting off one another in bumper boats. The satisfying clunk of colorful spheres falling into holes on the mini-golf course perks up ears in the sprawling complex of indoor and outdoor attractions. Go-kart drivers whiten their knuckles behind the wheel of 9-horsepower Honda engines, tearing through a quarter mile of twists and turns on the Grand Prix track as if it were a high-school principal’s lawn. Alternatively, patrons frolic across the park’s two outdoor mini-golf courses before practicing their aim in a laser shootout game, and children ages 10 and younger scramble their socked feet over slides and rides inside the Kids Korner indoor play area. Swings-N-Things Family Fun Park is easily accessible from the area's major highways.
Putt N Glow Recreation Center illuminates group entertainment under an assemblage of black lights and glow-in-the-dark fixtures. The 18-hole indoor mini-golf course sets putting foursomes on a par-threatening voyage through scores of neon obstacles scattered about pitch-black greens, such as a rotating ferris wheel and a troposphere-slicing airplane propeller. Warm up club-toting biceps with a 30-minute session of either air hockey or ping-pong. Like on the mini-golf course, dimly lit fluorescence accompanies paddlers as they deflect disks and ping-pong balls back-and-forth like a hot potato or a room-temperature porcupine.
For just a moment, visitors to Colasanti's Tropical Gardens might believe they've been whisked away to Madagascar: the call of ring-tailed lemurs and the squawk of parrots echoes around acres of exotic plants. And yet this tropical locale is nestled much closer to home—just outside of Kingsville. The 35-acre family farm keeps visitors entertained year-round with 15 temperature-controlled greenhouses filled with flowering equatorial plants and cacti, a petting farm that brings kids face-to-face with foreign animals without having to go through an ambassador, and carnival attractions.
Who They Are
In 1924, at the age of 22, Italian-born Aleutario Colasanti followed his dreams of a better life to Kingsville. Facing anti-immigrant sentiments and financial trouble, Alex only worked harder to eke out a living as a farmer. On a fateful trip to Detroit in 1932, he met—and fell in love with—Emma Colagiavanni. Despite her parents' protests, they eloped and started a family, and in 1941, they settled on what would soon become the Colasanti farm. Beginning with just one greenhouse and a small fruit stand, the family's operation grew over the next 30 years to host vegetables, exotic fruit trees, and a conspicuous lack of albatrosses. Though Alex and Emma have since passed, their legacy lives on through their grandchildren and the expansive Colasanti's Tropical Gardens.
Tucked into a curve of the Huron River, Wesburn Golf & Country Club traces its roots back to 1910 and its layout to course architect Wesson Seyburn. Extensive renovations have launched the bluegrass fairways into the modern age, enabling contemporary golfers to putt on sculpted greens that have existed for over a century. Before teeing off, players can warm up at one of the driving range’s 20 hitting stations, and after penciling in their final score, they can head toward the stately brick clubhouse. Here, plaid carpeting and a fireplace paint a comforting atmosphere, and the dining room’s overhead beams provide a place for athletes to do pull-ups until they can bend their clubs into pretzels.
Course at a Glance:
The lost city of Atlantis is rumored to contain vast treasures, though glow-in-the-dark mini golf isn't one of them. But at Play Atlantis, a nine-hole indoor course unfolds among Atlantis-themed murals and 3-D props depicting underwater figures, such as Poseidon and sharks. The course winds though an atmosphere of black lights and upbeat background music, which also surround the fun center's multilevel laser tag arena. There, inside labyrinthine corridors, laser fire and neon lights pierce through thick clouds of fog imported from London.
Natural lighting replaces black lights at Play Atlantis's other attractions. The inflatable area's custom bounce houses, slides, and obstacle courses give kids space to hop around, crawl, and explore among the inflatable castles and coliseums. Outside, families can zip around the go-kart track or participate in some friendly competition on Play Atlantis's 18-hole mini-golf course.