The treats at Control Tower Ice Cream are so tasty that they regularly cause pilots to land their planes near the shop. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Albany International Airport’s north runway is paved a few 100 yards from the creamery’s door. Regardless, from March to September, the staff serves nearly 20 specialty sundaes and more than 40 flavors of ice cream that woo adults and kids alike. More savory foods, such as hot dogs, burgers, and paninis, complement the desserts. After eating, guests can watch the planes land and take off or visit Control Tower’s go-kart track, miniature-golf course, or batting cages.
Putt-putting through a pirate ship might normally result in the putter walking the plank. Not so at FunPlex Fun Park, where on the 18-hole mini-golf course, players navigate ocean-themed greens populated by alligators, a lighthouse, and one grounded speedboat. Thirteen attractions, including a bounce house and bumper boats, promise diversion for kids of almost any age. Go-karts spin around an eighth-mile track at up to 20 miles per hour, and kids aged 3?10 zip around at 6 miles per hour on the mini go-kart track. In Captain Hook's House of Fun, kids clamber inside the tunnels of a multilevel play structure, descending tube slides and diving into a pit filled with plastic balls, more fun than the ones at school that are filled with homework.
Spooky, undead monsters and lively tunes combine to create a jovial atmosphere inside Monster Mini Golf's 10,000-square-foot, glow-in-the-dark course. As players navigate the 18 mind-boggling holes, a DJ spins tunes to awaken tone-deaf monsters, occasionally doling out prizes to golfers for reasons ranging from "craziest hair" to "smoothest celebration after a hole in eight." And after a wacky session of putting, guests can flex their thumb muscles inside a decked-out video arcade lined with both classic and modern games.
Framed by the distant peaks of the Helderberg Mountains, Western Turnpike Golf Course's 27-hole layout blankets 250 acres of scenic terrain stitched by pine trees. Though the three nines connect to form three distinct 18-hole courses, the presence of multiple ponds, streams, and small, well-fortified greens act as a unifying feature across the entire grassy labyrinth. The horticultural haven is also peppered by a relatively sparse population of 37 sand bunkers, their scarcity due to the abundance of water hazards and previous issues with disoriented sunbathers. With three courses offering various levels of difficulty and four tee options on each course, Western Turnpike presents a sound golf challenge for bona fide aces, mid-handicappers, and those trying to play with a croquet mallet.
At Player?s Park Family Fun Plex, gentle hills and dales peppered with greenery surround an 18-hole miniature-golf course, the park?s scaled-down version of the nine-hole par-3 course. The par-3 course, open during the day and into the evening, provides players with short-game practice, just as the mini-golf course provides putt-polishing opportunities for players shorter than a putter. The mini-golf course and par-3 course are lit for evening play.
In addition to hosting rounds of golf, Player?s Park stays true to its name by inviting kids to play on a row of bounce-house inflatables. Families can also visit the ice-cream parlor, where they can play the quiet game as they chow down on Perry's ice cream. The parlor has an air-conditioned interior as well as an outdoor porch for those who prefer Mother Nature?s air conditioner?the flapping wings of a curious butterfly.
Carved through stands of towering trees, Whispering Pines Golf Club's 18-hole, par 55 executive course challenges par-hunting form across 2,315 yards. Each hole ends at undulating greens that make any two-putt a tricky proposition. Most golfers can complete their round in 2 hours and 20 minutes, freeing up time to practice at the club's all-grass driving range or spoon their golf bag in the soft bed of the practice bunker.