It’s 1:29 p.m. and the wave pool at Great Waves Waterpark has been calm for nine minutes. The mood on the surface, however, is anything but. An anticipatory energy has been transmitted through the water as sunbathers migrate from the sun deck, giddy youngsters from the various kids’ areas, and thrill seekers from one of the park’s waterslides. The anticipation ends at 1:30 p.m. when three 80-horsepower motors begin to churn the large fans that whip the pool’s 475,000 gallons of water into waves as high as four feet for 10 minutes. This increment of waves—10 minutes on, 10 minutes off—runs like clockwork at the 20-acre facility, which also features dry attractions such as miniature golf, batting cages, and grassy areas for practicing the backstroke.
In addition to offering sun-soaked thrills of simulated waves, the park's Paradise Play boasts 30-foot slides, pogo sticks, rock walls, and a non-aqueous playground area. A faux beach with sand invites revelers to unwind while snacking on a funnel cake purchased from Riptide Café, while a nearby play pool with pint-sized slides lets little riders get into the summertime mix. After a full day of sliding and swimming, guests may purchase souvenirs from the Shark Shack gift shop.
“A synthetic turf-covered love letter to Washington.” That’s what Fritz Hahn of the Washington Post had to say about H Street Country Club after visiting the nearly 7,000-square-foot bar at the heart of the Atlas District. Yet Hahn wasn’t talking about the eatery’s decadent food; he was commenting on the space's devilishly tricky indoor golf course. During each nine-hole outing—for adults 21+—putters encounter the Lincoln Theatre, Ben’s Chili Bowl, and the titanic grasping hands of a half-submerged Marion Barry. As if a trip to the links wasn’t enough to work up an appetite, the entire first floor of H Street tempts gamers with skee-ball, shuffleboard, and wall-vs-human staring contests—all within an arm’s reach of margaritas, mojitos, and other specialty drinks.
Upstairs, a glass panel filled with retired golf balls gazes out over artist and contributing decorator Lee T. Wheeler’s talents, which alight upon everything from the sculptures crafted from repurposed birdhouses to the bar’s cushy lounge seating. The design sets the stage for executive chef Pablo Cardoso’s upscale take on classic Mexican food, with tables welcoming grilled skirt steak splayed over "cowboy" beans, a half chicken paired with yuca, and fajitas stuffed with still-sizzling shrimp. For dessert, the chef stuffs crisp empanadas with sweet mangoes, topping the confection with creamy ice cream and a note to get out of gym class for a week.
The Severna Park Golf Center houses a variety of activities that let families fill an afternoon with belting balls. Adults ($7.25) and children (12 and under, $5.75) can precisely putt their way through the Lilliputian links winding around an eight-foot waterfall on the 18-hole mini-golf course. A par 27 nine-hole course gives full-sized chippers an opportunity to practice short game situations during abbreviated rounds ($12 on weekends, $10 Mon.—Thurs.). Dust off dormant drivers by launching buckets of dimpled orbs ($6 for 50 balls, $12 for 150) from the fresh hitting mats on the driving range. Fifteen of the 44 stations are covered and heated so that golfers can practice their backswing no matter how low the temperatures limbo this winter. The expansive fields also house ballpark-style batting for claustrophobic sluggers unable to find their swing in cramped cages or abandoned mine shafts. This variation of batting practice ($5.00 for 35 pitches, $12 for 105) mimics actual baseball, so hitters can call their shots and rush the mound if the pitching machine tries to hit them.
Replete with rolling fairways and picturesque wooded hills, the course at Bay Hills provides a fun challenge for ball-based beginners and putting-pros alike. The 18-hole, par 70 links feature a wide expanse of water challenges, placing a large emphasis on strategy. With a two-month membership, a bundle of benefits emerge, including waived twilight-hours greens fees (twilight hours begin at 1 p.m. until March 1 and at 2 p.m. thereafter), unlimited range balls, and merchandise discounts. Although not included with today's deal, each cart fee (usually about $17) includes two draft beers or fountain drinks for staying hydrated through gritty sand traps. Additionally, each membership comes with one anytime round of golf with both cart fee and drinks included, ensuring at least one spectacular day of wearing heavily starched knickerbockers, which historically keep the feral golf gnomes at bay.