Shots of all caliber soar above a landscape of well-kept fairways lined with palm trees, cypress trees, and australian pine trees at Magnolia Valley Golf Club’s 18-hole, 6,600-yard course. The par 72 layout challenges golfers and evokes an appreciation for nature with sweeping views and flagsticks that recite transcendentalist poems. Before taking to the course, golfers can warm up swing muscles at the driving range, hone putting strokes at the practice green, or fuel up with food and drinks at the bar and grill. In addition to its championship layout, Magnolia Valley features a par 33 executive course for players looking to squeeze in a round before the sun sets and their golf bag turns back into a pumpkin.
Course at a Glance:
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.
Scores of synthetic lanes span the length of Lane Glo Bowl, hosting open hours and special events for groups and individuals throughout the week. Flat-screen TVs display scores high above each lane, leaving ample room in lounge areas for victory laps. Each Saturday, the alley takes on incandescent hues for cosmic bowling, and the on-site bar hosts a live DJ and karaoke stage. Lane Glo's bar hosts pool tournaments each Wednesday, and its on-site arcade brims with flashing lights from games including skee-ball and air hockey. Bowling clubs and leagues are available for adults, children, and seniors, as are private parties for birthdays or businesses still recovering from the bee-wrangling event at last year's company field day.
At Fish Magnet Fishing Charters, the magnetic force that brings hook and fish together is United States Coast Guard–certified Master Captain Janot B. Vilardell. Aboard his 18-foot fishing boat, he steers anglers into fishing hot spots along the Gulf of Mexico as well as inland waterways such as the Suwannee River. Once anchored, he shares tips and techniques for reeling in the big one: the plug to the ocean's drain. As an added bonus, he supplies all of the tackle and bait.
Sock-footed moppets scamper up springy steps before hurling themselves down a towering slide as crocodiles and lions hover nearby, but these tykes' parents don't blink an eye. Sprawled across Jungle Bounce's 15,000-square-foot space, this playground teems with air-filled amusements for kids to safely bounce and tumble across. Six inflatable edifices in brilliant colors shiver beneath youthful romping, all against a backdrop of cheery giraffes, penguins holding maps upside down, and other typical jungle scenes. Two inflatable arenas thump and squeak as little ones leap into the air, gambol around obstacles, and wander through a maze.
A digital chorus of beeping and whirring drifts from the arcade, where tots and their grownups can whack moles and launch balls to garner tickets to trade for prizes such as plastic trinkets and stuffed mascots. A snack shop refuels young ones with pizza and wings so they can return to open play sessions or try and mediate disputes between imaginary friends wearing the same outfits at hosted birthday parties.