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.
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.
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.
During BounceU's parties, kids bound through inflatable play structures?and occasionally glow in the dark. In one inflatable system, kids start by climbing a ladder to reach platforms linked only with three inflatable balls. The challenge is to jump, run, or balance on the balls to reach the other side without falling into the massive ball pit below. But don't worry if you fall?the ball pit below is cushioned with Zero-Shock technology.
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.