Controlling your hands when putting a golf ball can be a challenge in and of itself. Try to sink a testy putt after scaling a 24-foot wall, and that challenge takes it to another level. Boulder Creek Amusement Park offers the opportunity to try each. The outdoor fun center boasts an 18-hole mini golf course lined by waterfalls, streams, and greenery. On the same grounds, guests grasp holds as they ascend the climbing wall. For additional tests of hand-eye coordination, an 8-stall batting cage challenges batters with both baseball and slow- and fast-pitch softball deliveries.
During BounceU's parties, kids bound through inflatable play structures—and occasionally glow in the dark. At the center's Cosmic bounce parties, the main lights are replaced by special-effects lighting, which coaxes light from glow-in-the-dark accessories. The center's new location, in operation since May 2013, complements its shindigs with open-play sessions and more structured classes, appropriate for kids aged 2 and older.
Laser tagging is a pastime enjoyed by children and adult children alike, mixing the elements of strategy, accuracy, and inevitable fits of fun. In the multilevel neon arena, taggers slink into the shadowy mist to surprise their opponents, or take a Zeus-eye view, zapping bolts of lasers from above. As a warning, some strobe-light effects will be used to intensify the battle's excitement and celebratory break dancing.
On a sweltering day with the air abuzz with mosquitos, Eddie Reznicek stood on a miniature golf course marveling at how many people were outside putting. Determined to create a more comfortable mini golfing space, he opened The Family Fun Center XL in Omaha in 1982, where guests could play indoor golf and nearly 100 video games in the arcade. These days, a new facility shelters a black-lit 18-hole course themed around video-game heroes, heroines, and the windmills who loved them, and the arcade enthralls gamers with classics such as air hockey, skeeball, and four-player Mario Kart on 27-inch flat-screen TVs.
At the Lazer Maze, participants channel their inner spy while swiftly snaking through alarm-system lasers. This spy theme also is evident in the three-level laser-tag arena, where players dodge enemy fire amid flashing lights to soundtracks from James Bond movies. Elsewhere, a 2,500-square-foot arena littered with bunkers, crumbling brick walls, and sniper towers accommodates 7-minute paintball games or bazooka-ball battles.
At Defy Gravity, jumpers of all ages bounce, flip, and pirouette atop a massive 6,000 square-foot trampoline designed with NASA-developed rebound material and a laser-cut steel frame to support as many as 66 people. Though the trampoline’s most traditional uses include simple jumping or amateur gymnastics, Defy Gravity also uses it to introduce vertical feints to dodge-ball and volleyball matches and add a gently forgiving floor to fitness classes that burn as many as 1,000 calories in an hour. A flexible support system reduces the impact of jumps on delicate joints and flawless high ponytails, while angled walls alleviate worries of falling off the sides. Trained court monitors stay ever-vigilant, making sure jumpers stay safe with complimentary helmets and ankle-support shoes and size-specific jumping zones.
When visitors call a ceasefire with gravity, they can check out a laser maze. Inspired by Mission: Impossible, the maze challenges participants to climb, duck, crawl, and shimmy through a 3D web of laser lights. If they fail, a buzzer sounds and, somewhere, Tom Cruise begins to smile but doesn’t know why.
Automatic scoring systems keep tabs on every strike and spare inside Mockingbird Lanes, where balls tumble toward 32 clusters of pins. Along with rounds of open bowling, the alley hosts seasonal leagues for men, women, youngsters, and senior citizens alike. During cosmic bowling every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening, the lanes glow with black lights and club-style lighting while DJs play upbeat tunes.
Beyond the bowling alley, Mockingbird Lanes houses its own pro shop, where technicians fastidiously repair malfunctioning gear or customized new equipment. After final frames, visitors can reenergize inside Laneslide Diner, whose cooks specialize in American classics such as philly cheesesteaks. Over in the Bird's Nest Lounge, meanwhile, bartenders decant libations amid six big-screen TVs, a billiards table, and an internet jukebox that plays hit songs in between recordings of dial-up modems.