It’s not uncommon to stumble upon fake alligators as you make your way around a mini-golf course. But at Smugglers Cove's locations, live American alligators snap their jaws in exhibits nestled amid the miniature fairways. With an old-fashioned bamboo pole players can dangle a treat above 20–50 of the predatory alligators, which leap from the water to snatch their treat. Between feeding frenzies, games take place on Smugglers Cove’s 18-hole outdoor courses, where balls roll past rushing waterfalls, into caves, over mountainous terrain, and into a hole in a pirate ship.
Castle Golf plunges putters into lush tropical foliage to hunt holes in one. Majestically counterbalancing the jungle atmosphere created by colorful native flowers, plants, and trees, medieval-themed touches dot the 18-hole course, including knights, gargoyles, and rope-lined bridges. Challenge three friends to a game in the bright Florida sunshine, convene a pack of werewolves for a moonlit stroll among twinkling lights that bounce off pools and waterfalls, or keep all four admissions for yourself on solo outings. Players can also watch the local wildlife that wanders over from nearby Lakes Park, including ducks, birds, fish, and nature-documentary filmmakers dressed as gorillas.
Owned by and named after the former Red Sox outfielder, Mike Greenwell's Bat-A-Ball & Family Fun Park entertains activity-deprived clans with a fully loaded complex of outdoor amusement for all ages. The synthetic green lawn of his mini-golf course snakes along a chain of 19 holes shaded by a canopy of palm trees and emerald markers. Children younger than 10 can expel energy that they held back while focusing on putts on the red, wooden jungle gym, while cars wait patiently in free parking spaces. Though not included in today's Groupon, the park also staffs eight batting cages, a paintball field, go-karts, a fish-feeding dock, an arcade, and a snack bar to further flesh out afternoons.
Within the castle at King Richard’s Family Fun Park, the monarch has decreed one simple rule for all his subjects: have as much fun as possible. And he’s made it easy by packing his kingdom with rides and attractions that include laser tag, bumper boats, roller coasters, and rock climbing. While traveling from ride to ride, guests may wander inside the enclosed arcade and café, where a menu of sizzling-hot burgers, nachos, hot dogs, and chicken wings mingles with the constant chatter of video games. Throughout the park, medieval-themed statues and palm trees mark the very spot where King Richard himself discovered the state of Florida and told nobody. The grounds also house an alligator pit chock-full of the aquatic reptiles on display.
A windswept canopy of palm trees and tiki huts cast shadows over Golf Safari’s 18-hole mini-golf course, where putters explore a safari-themed pastiche of life-sized lion statues, jungly gardens, and misting waterfalls. Built upon a foundation of rocky outcrops, the emerald passageways swerve among the hooves of zebra sculptures, pretend giraffes, and real-life goat-human hybrids. Sprightly flowers and ponds dotted with lily pads greet putt-putt posses along the way, providing a tranquil contrast to pressure-packed putts. With each hole in one, players gain a lifetime of bragging rights against their competitors, as well as the eternal friendship of George T. Gorilla, the course’s primate mascot.
During a round of golf in this region, it’s not uncommon for players to see the occasional alligator sunning itself on the banks of a fairway pond. The same, however, cannot be said for miniature-golf courses, unless you’re playing at Congo River Golf, where the civilized sinking of putts coexists with the visceral carnage of live-alligator feedings. More than 25 alligators wait for patrons to feed them morsels of gator food in an exhibit beside the course. Though the course offers no chance for an encounter with the ancient, scaly species, it enchants players with waterfalls, safari-themed artifacts, and towering rock faces. In addition, Congo River Golf encompasses an indoor arcade and a gemstone-mining station, where guests dig through dirt for fossils, arrowheads, and Neanderthal’s kindergarten time capsules.