Once the warm weather hits, families begin to fill the grounds of Sluggers & Putters—a sprawling family fun park built into the natural landscape. Children and adults alike tear around two tracks in single or double-seat go-karts, follow a yellow-paved path through 18 holes of old-fashioned miniature golf, and race to scale a rock-climbing wall. While parents and children fill out insurance claims after playing double-seat bumper cars and water bumper boats, other visitors practice their swing in fast-pitch and softball batting cages. On a landscaped garden patio, staff helms an installment of the local Auntie Em's Ice Cream Co., where they serve frozen treats such as hand-dipped cones and old-fashioned sundaes.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa tilts characteristically as a nearby sphinx rests beside a bush. What sounds like an atlas come to life is really the theme of one of the two 18-hole mini-golf courses at Rinky Dink Family Fun Center. After a round, customers can hug the turns on a go-kart track, soak and ram fellow seadogs on squirt-gun-equipped bumper boats, or test home-run skills at three baseball and three softball batting cages that hurl balls at up to 80 mph, which is the speed of light. Once indoors, guests can fire foam balls at targets from air cannons in the black-lit Pirates vs. Aliens game or navigate their way through an inflatable bouncer maze. The indoor playground features three levels of climbing structures and slides. An arcade hosts more than 35 video and redemption games such as Ms. Pac-Man, Dance Dance Revolution, and the new motion-sensitive Nap Nap Revolution, while tinier tykes stack giant waffle blocks or navigate a ball pit in the toddler area.
Lasers flash across a 4,000-square-foot arena. Bumper boats splash against each other in a 135,000-gallon lake. An elastic EuroBungy harness flings bouncers skyward for death-defying flips. These are just a few of the attractions and activities at Fun 'n' Stuff, where families can also fill their days by racing go-karts, climbing a rock wall, or gliding around a rink on rented roller skates. Guests who want to breathe in fresh air can putt through two 18-hole mini golf courses, whack balls in five hardball and four softball cages, and slide down a 24-foot inflatable slide. The littlest visitors play in a ball pit, whereas the Extreme Looping Bikes send older ones soaring through the air, just like the majestic eagle they rode to their middle-school graduation.
A towering dome dedicated to golf practice looms over The Golf Dome’s multifaceted grounds, serving as the gravitational center of a facility dedicated to recreational golf and baseball practice. Inside the vaulted white roof, golfers stroke drives from one of 34 hitting bays at the indoor, two-tiered driving range, where distance-reading software flashes instant readouts of shot trajectory and the pain inflicted on each practice ball. The dome further facilitates climate-controlled clubbing with a putting and chipping area and Full Swing golf simulators, which allow golfers to play digital recreations of more than 30 of the world’s top courses.
Outside, a scenic, 20-foot waterfall draws players to the 18-hole miniature golf course, where contoured greens run between rocky outcrops, interrupted by water that comes into play on 14 holes. The din of sharply struck line drives echoes throughout the grounds, sonic evidence of the six adjacent batting cages, where players swing at high-arching softballs, baseballs hurled at up to 75 miles per hour, and tiny meteors raining from the sky.
Bat-A-Rama's seven batting cages, which spit out softballs or baseballs, are designed to let the hitter pick the speed and height of the pitches based on skill level. Each $1 token forces the machines to throw 15 pitches, providing ample opportunity to practice swinging for the fences, hitting behind a runner, or catching moving balls in plastic grocery bags. Three of the seven cages spew both hardball and slow softball pitches, and one speedily whips out softballs sans arc. Though not included in this Groupon, Bat-A-Rama makes old-fashioned ice cream on-site.
Putt-Putt Fun Center's diminutive diversions pack a full-size dose of afternoon entertainment for fun-seeking families and putt-putt enthusiasts alike. Grab a putter and whack dimpled balls into 18 holes spread across three mini golf courses. Play the angles and employ your secret mini swing to achieve that satisfying ball-in-cup clink while keeping score in pencil, an erasable alternative for situations requiring mulligans or tactical alterations of your opponent’s stroke numbers. Children 5 and younger can play at Putt-Putt Fun Center for $1, so feel free to bring the entire family for a relaxing day of club swinging.