Arnold's Family Fun Center's 200,000-square foot facility buzzes with flashing lights, bright colors, and adrenaline-fueled activities suitable for all ages. Guests use softball-sized bowling balls to bust birds masquerading as pins during rounds of duckpin bowling, and black-light mini golf plunges putters into the depths of an ocean reef as they fight radiant octopi and pirates. More than 75 go-karts speed around two racetracks, and bumper cars let drivers explore the safer side of road rage. Inside one of the largest arcades in the area, guests try their luck at more than 200 arcade games, including favorites such as Deal or No Deal, Big Buck Hunter Safari, and Guitar Hero. A bounce area keeps young feet busy, and a pizza and salad buffet refuel energy reserves before rigorous games of laser tag.
On January 25 and 26 at the Meadow Event Park, the Virginia Home & Garden Show treats homeowners to countless home-improvement tips, remodeling ideas, and projects for all parts of the household and yard. Expos from more than 140 different companies demonstrate ideas for saving money with solar panels and energy-efficient windows, renovating kitchens with marble and granite countertops, or turning backyards into playgrounds with swimming pools and new decks.
The sounds of cheery competition float across Grand Slam USA's 30,000-square-foot arena, which teems with athletic challenges, a vibrant bounce houses, and other diversions. A glow-in-the-dark miniature-golf course leads putters through nine holes of ominous pirate-themed obstacles, including a ramp into a skull's jaws, a hole fraught with sharks, and perilous unswabbed decks. Adrenaline-soaked games of laser tag lead beam duelers through mazes, around partitions, and over platforms, where they rack up points for hitting special targets and rivals. At the end of each bout, players receive individual score cards that detail high scores and lines flubbed during MAS*H reenactments.
Just a short walk from the colonial-era fieldstone barn, a sea of green sprouts up around a small pond. Inside this self-sustained ecosystem, turtles leisurely perch on fallen tree limbs that float atop the cool water. Scenes like this are common at Great Valley Nature Center, which stretches 10.5 verdant acres across streams, ponds, wetlands, fields, and woodland habitats. The center fosters an awareness of the land through educational programs for all ages, including kayaking trips, geocaching adventures, or Owl Prowl dinner expeditions. Along with enjoying access to 500 partner museums and gardens throughout the world, members can tour a replica Native American Lenape village, or visit raptors on the mend at the Bird of Prey center. The center’s wildflower garden blooms yellow and white in the spring, and its maple-sugar house preserves the artisanal technique of boiling down flannel shirts from sweet-smelling lumberjacks.
Beth Kostans achieved her childhood dream of owning a horse farm on the day that she established Plainbrooke Farm. The lifelong rider and equine enthusiast also passed down her passion to her daughter Megan, who today joins her mother to teach lessons on horsemanship and riding to students of all ages. Alongside fellow instructor Katie Homer, the mother-daughter duo commands the farm’s fleet of horses with compassion and finesse, pairing each animal with a student who most closely matches its demeanor and sense of humor.
When founding The Red Buffalo Ranch, retired Montgomery County district attorney Mike Marino selected a prime spot on the edge of 3,500-acre Evansburg State Park, where he could lead trail rides across the expansive, bucolic surroundings. Experienced guides lead groups on horseback over the park’s meadows, creeks, and streams, sticking to trails suitable for the skill level of each rider. During rides, guests can admire the ranch’s well-trained steeds.