Castle Lanes, which was No. 36 on Bowlers Journal International's list of 95 must-see bowling centers, has a cozy Northwoods-Log-Homes-esque interior that invites bowlers of all ages and abilities to relax and perfect their pin-toppling skills. On 24 glossy lanes, bowlers sling new house balls at pins between watching the alley's HDTVs, listening to music with the alley's iPod hook-ups, or surfing the Internet on the alley's free WiFi. Castle Lanes is a smoke-free environment, making it friendly to families and sneezy dwarves. The alley's dedication to an upscale environment filled with top-notch equipment is fostered by owners Phillip Ontko, who is a Racine Bowling Hall of Famer and the Nolan Ryan of bowling strikes, and his wife, who can easily roll a bowling ball up a hill.
Situated in the heart of downtown Racine, RAM is dedicated to the exhibition, education, and collection of contemporary visual art. With more than 5,000 objects in its permanent collection, the 46,000-square-foot space houses one of North America’s largest collections of contemporary crafts in a multitude of mediums such as ceramics and fiber arts. The museum also constantly cycles in new retina-rallying exhibitions such as the current Not So Still Life, examining a range of quirky interpretations of classic still-life subjects such as fruit bowls or avant-garde Jello molds. Visitors can also admire the bold contour lines and expressive mark-making of painter couple Ruth Grotenrath and Schomer Lichtner. Check the exhibitions schedule for a sampling of upcoming shows to fuel future bouts of cognitive calisthenics.
Amur tigers stretch out in the sun, red kangaroos hop leisurely along, and orangutans groom each other in the shade while tree pythons and box turtles roam their tanks, oblivious of each other and everything outside. Nearby, budgies, storks, cormorants, and screech owls roost on perches and soar over the heads of their human visitors. These creatures join a menagerie of more than 250 animals—representing 76 different species—that mingle across 32 acres of natural habitat at the Racine Zoo. Together with their staff counterparts, these animals speak to the zoo’s efforts toward conservation and strengthening the bond between humans and their wild neighbors.
Though they can get up close to animal enclosures, visitors also explore more immersive wildlife education through seasonal and year-round attractions. Giraffe encounters allow guests to participate in the supervised feeding of a masai giraffe, and Animal Chats prompt visitors to ask questions of the caretakers, such as how they feed the zoo's carnivores and which of the herbivores prefer italian dressing. At the Benstead Discovery Center, guests greet reptiles and amphibians and watch fish swim in a 2,000-gallon saltwater tank. In the open-air Norco Aviary, visitors can behave as flocks of Australian budgies, rosellas, or cockatiels. Children, meanwhile, frolic across the two-story climbing structure, slides, and zipline at the PlayZoo Playground, or board a colorful, seasonal miniature express train.
Skatetown proves a smooth floor and a pair of skates are the only things necessary for fun. The skate center hosts roller-skating sessions and games, such as Red Light, Green Light and Limbo. Sessions are limited to kids aged 2?12 so that parents don?t need to worry about older kids going too fast, and special training tools help young children learn to skate.
America's Action Territory encourages family bonding through amusements in session year-round indoors and seasonally outdoors. During warm weather, the park staff operates six outdoor activities, from bumper boats in a 75,000-gallon pool, go-karts on an over 1,000-foot long track, to a water balloon battle with depth-charged orbs. Back inside, kids can enter the smoky, black-lit laser-tag arena to demonstrate who is most deserving of parents' love, or challenge their progenitors to skee-ball at the arcade. Between games, an eatery supplies patrons with refreshments such as sandwiches, chicken strips, and pizzas on crust made without gluten or lasers. For special occasions, Action Territory's team can also arrange birthday parties and organize group packages.
Within the cream-colored brick exterior of a century-old city building, Papa Luigi’s II marries an Italian restaurant with a bowling alley. Amid the wood paneling, wine-red carpet, and chandeliers of the dining room, taste buds can warm up with the house’s favorite appetizer—sicilian eggplant lathered in Papa’s special marinara sauce. Thin-n-crispy pizzas, which Papa Luigi’s II has been perfecting for 23 years, come loaded with canadian bacon or shrimp.
After meals, guests can adjourn to the newly remodeled, smoke-free bowling alley. Here, shining orbs hurtle down 10 lanes whose automatic bumpers forgive shaky aim, and an automatic scoring system lets bowlers tuck their personal mathematicians back into the trunks of their cars. Between rounds, players can refuel at a pub-style bar by tipping back chilled mugs brimming with imported tap beers and gazing at a trio of plasma televisions. Those seeking a new arena for competition can drop by the game room or rent the upstairs gym for shooting hoops.