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.
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.
The Omaha Health Expo encourages visitors to lead an active lifestyle—not just in the future but during the expo itself. It hosts a 5K run, multiple bike rides, and a biathlon, which combines biking and running into a single challenging event. In addition to trying your hand at the races or cheering on participants, you can also visit the weekend expo's eclectic group of exhibitors and speakers, who range from NFL players to psychics who can help guests predict the color of their next pair of running shoes.
Though its name implies a focus on inflatable attractions, the all-ages indoor playground at Pump It Up of Omaha also gets kids active on an 18-foot rock-climbing wall and building with huge imagination blocks. These attractions stand among a sea of air-filled slides and climbing structures, some designed by members of the management team. The bounce castles propel jumpers into the air; and the Chaos obstacle course lets racers run side-by-side or practice shaking hands while walking. The playground also holds special programs such as day camps for young and medium-young children, private birthday parties, and field trips. Many of Pump It Up's staffers are university students working toward education degrees; they often organize contests and games, and supervise visitors while playing on the same level as their smaller guests.
At SkateDaze, kids and parents spend hours amid nearly a dozen attractions including a miniature roller coaster, an indoor play-place, and an arcade. Visitors can marvel at the marquee-lighting glittering above the skating rink, grooving to catchy music from the high-tech sound system and gliding across a polished maple hardwood floor. In the maze-like laser tag arena, laser-wielding warriors defend home bases and raid enemy positions, while a bumper-car pen pits speedy electric cars against each other in a non-destructive derby. For a virtual driving experience, visitors can strap into the Typhoon Motion Simulator for muscle car rides across salt flats.