At any of the 15 Great Life Golf and Fitness locations, guests are encouraged to invent their own triathlon of gusto, switching from swimming in the pool to getting a total body workout to playing a round of golf. Great Life has facilities scattered throughout Kansas and Missouri, including golf courses such as the National Audubon Society–certified River Oaks and the links at The Oaks, which were designed by Tom Bendelow and opened in the 1920s. Golfers looking for quick rounds can drop by the nine-hole courses at Maple Creek, Abilene, and CedarBrook. Gyms such as the 14,000-square-foot fitness center at Berkshire allow members or guests to pump iron or run on treadmills when they aren’t helping their golf balls safely reach the greens by paying golf carts to drink all of the water hazards dry. Although amenities vary at each club, all of Great Life Golf and Fitness’s venues boast a pro shop, and the courses at Berkshire and Prairie View maintain driving ranges where golfers can make golf balls practice flying without their parachutes.
Starplex Cinemas adds a little extra shine to every screening with modern technology and screening rooms. Viewers are thrust right into the action of the film by 3D projectors. Plush chairs envelope audience members in comfort while also providing them with the unobstructed sightline required to see every production assistant’s name in the credits. Other welcome amenities include digital surround sound and projectors, and a concession stand.
Though they may sound like the titles of Hardy Boys escapades, Buccaneer's Booty, Redbeard's Riches, and Russian Treasure hold different surprises in store, as they?re just a few of the 800 slot machines at Grand Lake Casino. Open 24 hours a day, the 45,000-square-foot floor also hosts games of blackjack, three-card poker, and Texas hold'em, and its casual onsite eatery, The EndZone Restaurant & Bar, provides a place for high rollers to replenish their stacks of potato chips.
Located 2 miles from the casino?just a free shuttle ride away?Grand Lake Casino Lodge accommodates guests with simply appointed rooms furnished with soft Serta mattresses. There, visitors can break from the energy of the gaming floor by watching a movie on the flat-screen TV or get even rowdier by playing shuffleboard on the hardwood floor.
Founded by Joe Estes as a nonprofit operation, Safari Joe's Reptile World provides a 200-acre sanctuary for more than 250 exotic animals—including lions, leopards, alligators, pythons, and large tortoises—that were unwanted, abused, or neglected. Each week, five to six new animals are donated or abandoned at the facility. Though these animals cannot return to the wild, they receive nurturing care from a cadre of more than 30 volunteers.
While newly abandoned animals remain hidden from view within the sanctuary, the park also boasts exhibit such as Reptile World. This educational, hands-on environment encourages visitors to interact with a slew of exotic animals while learning about protecting each species and their natural habitats.
The Swim School of Joplin provides certification-level scuba lessons, diving vacations, and rental gear to help students to gain their underwater legs. Originally founded in Memphis in 1961, The Swim School of Joplin has since expanded aquatic operations to four states in the South and Midwest and runs scuba programs at both the University of Mississippi and the University of Memphis. Instructional programs include everything from introductory swimming and snorkeling lessons to specialty courses in night diving, search-and-rescue diving, and diving while learning to play the guitar.
Seizing an opening, a boy manning a motorized boat slams into the boat in front of him. Before the other driver has time to retaliate, he turns the wheel 90 degrees and high-tails it to the other side of the bumper-boat pool. Safe, for the moment. Nearby, similarly minded motorists intent on reckless cruising race laps around a go-kart track, bounding off the track’s walls and off fellow drivers trying to practice their parallel-parking skills. High-pitched screams in the distance indicate that the Tiger Terror rollercoaster has begun its decent, and the swift crack of a baseball bat indicates the batting cage has met its match.
As the sun sets on another day at Route 66 Carousel Park, park-goers take in the twinkling lights of a towering ferris wheel and the smells of sweet and savory park confections wafting through the summer air. Whether at the park on a whim or celebrating a birthday, corporate event, or puppy’s first words, guests can keep the revelry going late into the evening.