Seven acres of mini golf, bumper cars, paddleboats, and other attractions enthrall the young and young-at-heart at Adventure Kingdom. The park's Renaissance theme pervades 18 holes of mini golf, where colorful plaster knights joust, and a period stockade locks up players deemed criminally over par by a jury of their opponents. Fueled by gas, the bumper cars swivel and smack, and paddleboats shaped like swans gracefully float along tranquil waters. Hot days make Water Wars a must-see, as visitors hurl water balloons toward targets that trigger an onslaught of noise, splashing, and spontaneous melting.
Nearby, a log cabin built in 1932 hosts the opening scenes of birthday parties and field trips. As the birthday child tears into gifts atop a throne bordered by rich hardwood paneling, a rough-hewn wooden table sports guests' goblets and supplied tiaras. Field trippers enjoy a history lesson about Texan frontier life or about the Renaissance before racing toward free volleyball courts and horseshoes or picnic tables and tents perfect for outdoor feasts or meetings about new recess-line etiquette.
In 1998, the clack of billiards balls met the clink of cold beers at the first Fast Eddie’s Sports Tavern and Social Clubs in Amarillo. Since then, 17 more Fast Eddie's locations have sprung up across Texas and Louisiana, each letting guests sink corner shots at 8- and 9-foot Olhausen pool tables while sharing a few drinks and snacks such as deep-fried hot dogs. Beyond the felt, home runs and touchdowns play out on multiple big-screen TVs as darts fly into targets and foosball tables re-create the exciting theatrics of gymnasts struggling to play soccer.
Water streams from wooden aqueducts and cascades down rock formations as families putt through Colorado Canyon's two 18-hole mini-golf courses. After rounds, guests can visit the arcade to play skee ball, build their own stuffed animals, or mine for gemstones and fossils, then hit the snack bar for some Noble Roman's pizza.
Since forming in the 1920s, the Harlem Globetrotters have continued to entertain millions of parents, children, and general basketball admirers with a trademark blend of athletic precision and razzle-dazzle showmanship. For the team's 2014 tour, a rotating roster of Globetrotter favorites—including three female players—takes to the hardwood each game. Spectators might spot veteran guard TNT sharing a behind-the-back pass with dunker Quake, whose high jump once cleared 7 feet, cruelly dashing his dreams of working in a ceiling-fan store. The Globetrotters might also present a study in contrasts with 5-foot-2 Too Tall and 7-foot-4 Stretch, the team’s tallest member.
During each Globetrotters game, youngsters laugh along and witness the jovial jocks performing classic routines of unconventional passing and sudden transmutations of water into confetti. To infuse their visits with an extra shot of unpredictability, the Globetrotters also let fans in each city vote on special rules for every game; past rules have included the use of a four-point shot and the installation of a penalty box. Over the years, similar antics have followed the Globetrotters around the world, including to 122 countries and territories and all six continents on which basketballs grow naturally. The Globetrotters’ extensive travels haven’t gone unnoticed: they’re one of the few teams to earn a spot in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as ambassadors of the sport.
Brentwood Country Club is a case study in effective land reclamation. A spot that was once fallow fields and rice paddies now houses a stunning golf course ringed with palm trees and native plants, where players of all skill levels master the challenges of the landscape’s shifting winds and winding creeks. PGA professionals help visitors select perfectly matched clubs and gear in the pro shop, outfitting golfers with footwear, bags, and casual attire from brands such as Callaway, Polo, Titleist, and Ping. The clubhouse also welcomes players for postround unwinding, inviting them to share stories of their exploits or select from shelves of leatherbound Arnold Palmer fan fiction in a lounge lit by a crackling fireplace. In addition to spotless fairways, the 140-acre facility boasts an extensive tennis and pool complex and a rustic, wood-raftered restaurant ready for weddings and banquets.