Owner Darlene Olson holds court over Merle Hay Lanes’ sleek bowling lanes, where the sounds of laughter and pins crashing fills the air. An Olson family heirloom since 1993, Merle Hay caters to amateurs and pin-toppling veterans alike with open bowling and league play for a variety of age and skill levels. Bowlers quench competition-induced thirsts at Bowlwinkles Lounge with a formidable lineup of drink specials. The bowling alley also plays host to a variety of special events including birthday parties and corporate outings, preventing coworkers from having to bowl in the alley behind the office.
For more than 10 years, The Heart of Darkness has elicited scares from nearly 10,000 visitors every Halloween season with one of the largest haunts in Iowa. People from across the country and ghosts studying abroad brave nine separately themed areas on the terror-infested grounds, from a haunted playground to a maniacal-clown asylum. Each section crawls with grotesque creatures. A living scarecrow swipes at guests with a rusted sickle, causing them to flee right into the padded cell of Crispy, a demented arsonist whose victims gave him a taste of his own medicine by scorching his skin.
So committed to their duty to terrify, owners Kevin and Dolly Schults are affectionately known as The Halloween Family, as detailed on a 2009 episode of ABC's Wife Swap. Outside their spooky corridors, the Schults reward survivors with concession stands, a live DJ, and a photo booth that snapped the pictures Crispy uses for his online-dating profile.
Keeping shots straight is the key to scoring low at Eagle Grove Golf Course. The nine-hole layout features straightaway holes lined by many trees to knock down errant shots, making things easier on golfers who specialize in bouncing shots off of tree trunks. If players can manage to keep their approaches on the short stuff, they give themselves the best shot of beating the par of 35?a tricky test even with the 2,959-yard overall length.
Celebrating their 25th anniversary, Boston Brass enthralls audiences with stylized performances of eclectic musical arrangements. Like sailors to the Sirens, assorted audiences are drawn to the group's diverse horn-blowing backgrounds, including classical compositions and contemporary jazz numbers. No strangers to the limelight, Boston Brass has performed in 49 states and 21 countries, been featured on The CBS Early Show, NPR's Performance Today, and The Great American Brass Band Festival, and recorded several albums.
Inside the historic, renovated Waverly Palace Theatre, first-run releases splash across three screens as guests gobble snacks from the concession stand. Seats equipped with lumbar support prop up weary backs as the sounds of screeching tires, exploding fortresses, and wisecracking babies escape from the speakers of a Dolby Surround Sound EX system. As guests exit, they can take in the brick exterior of the theater, which maintains its classic, glowing marquee and art-deco façade.
Sportations connects amateur adrenaline jockeys to certified professional adventurers, drawing from a nationwide network of aeronauts and speed demons to introduce habitual pedestrians to the wonders of skydiving, ballooning, hang gliding, and stock-car racing. Thrill seekers can zipline across a forest canopy, hollering like Tarzan or taunting nearby birds until they agree to race. Helicopter tours ferry patrons skyward over landmarks and cityscapes, whereas paragliding adventures get up close and personal with blue skies and clouds. For most sports, Sportations accommodates groups of any size, from physics classes empirically proving gravity's existence to solo ballooning supervillains declaring dominion over all they see.