Synergy Paintball aims to be a way of giving back to the community by offering a safe place to have fun and expend pent-up energy. On a given day, lively bands of birthday, bachelor, and bachelorette parties can be found swarming the grounds amid the whispery noise of paintballs cruising through the fresh air. It's here where teams engage in fun competition, regardless of age, size, or skill level. When the park isn't busy entertaining armies of thrill-seekers, they also play host to United States military reserves tactical training, an exercise that fills the park with humvees and transport vehicles before they begin mock Medevac evacuations. To further build on its reputation, Synergy Paintball hosts organizations such as the United Way, American Cancer Society, and St. Judes Children's Research while longtime supporting Local AR.
Happy shouts float across Swings-N-Things Family Fun Park, whipping out of the mouths of captains ricocheting off one another in bumper boats. The satisfying clunk of colorful spheres falling into holes on the mini-golf course perks up ears in the sprawling complex of indoor and outdoor attractions. Patrons frolic across the park?s two outdoor mini-golf courses before practicing their aim in a laser shootout game, and children ages 10 and younger scramble their socked feet over slides and rides inside the Kids Korner indoor play area. Swings-N-Things Family Fun Park is easily accessible from the area's major highways.
Hearing a cacophony of three-shots burst into the air but unable to see where it's coming from, a player decides to force his foes to reveal their positions by waiting patiently in the roots of an uprooted tree. Such natural cover lies throughout the backwoods field at Valley City Paintball, where combatants traverse terrain from wooded hills to a creek bed to stacks of fallen timber. The referees maintain safe conditions for all levels of players, showing guests a safety video and leading a field briefing before supervising games such as Defend the Tree and two-team Card Collector with re-spawn. Overseen by veteran Brian Gunkelman––who served four years in the 82nd Airborne and currently continues service through the Ohio Air National Guard––Valley City's team members allow up to 28 players on the field at a time. They also encourage visitors to take advantage of the natural cover, whether by wearing ghillie suits or painting a watercolor still life during the thick of battle.
Your hands wrap around the grip of a Tippmann marker. Multicolored spheres fly past you, spattering the trees and cutting air inches from your mask. Through the foliage, you can see half a plane buried nose-first in a clearing, one of many obstacles concealing potential foes. At SplatterPark, this good-natured combat sprawls across the adrenaline-soaked turf of 12 outdoor fields and 40 wooded and open acres adjacent to a lake. Warriors battle through capture-the-flag, base-defense, and other scenarios in themed arenas with adventurous names including Fort Buckeye, Snake Pit, and Dark Forest. Each field is suited to at least three types of play, but only the regular type of physics, and shouts of camaraderie echo off paint-flecked cover such as a broken-down school bus and a wooden-slat fort. In preparing for battle, combatants strap on rental or purchased gear under covered staging shelters, happy in the knowledge that their biodegradable paint ammunition will be harmlessly washed away by the elements or bears doing community service. SplatterPark also offer zombie-themed hayride shoots, in which a trailer is custom-fitted with 32 paintball guns, allowing participants to shoot live zombie targets. Prior to the hunt, visitors can test their skills on a target range.
The arena's surreal terrain was featured in the intense combat of Greg Hastings' Tournament Paintball, a video game from Activision, but the real park caters to players of all abilities and ages. At an onsite caf?, hot dogs and energy drinks refuel warriors and allow them to tell if their nemeses are actually target dummies with no appetite, and the pro shop's staff bustles among markers, accessories, and spare parts.
Ducking behind one of the inflatables scattered among the turf outdoor field, the soldier lines up his shot before firing his Tippmann 98 marker at an unsuspecting opponent. Meanwhile, his teammates snake around wooden obstacles erected on the recently completed outdoor speedball field. Like its indoor counterpart, the field accommodates masked marksmen at weekend open-play sessions. Warzone Paintgames reserves weekdays for private contests among birthday party attendees or large groups that can exceed 100 participants. Teams can also face off during projectile-free bouts of laser tag waged from the glow-in-the-dark obstacles filling Warzone's 12,000-square-foot multilevel arena. In between refereed rounds, visitors can restock on equipment at the pro shop, which dispenses markers, tanks, and gear preowned by Leonardo da Vinci.
Splat Shack Paintball's tree-laden battlegrounds camouflage paint-slinging soldiers behind a wooded pine field as they weave in and out of various natural obstacles. Before taking to the warzone, visitors strap themselves with a market and the appropriate safety accouterments, such as masks and '80s parachute pants. Players then unleash themselves on the field, spraying 500 CO2-powered paintballs across two elevated forts and several small bunkers. In addition to natural cover, a realistic airplane fuselage and nosecone cultivate a video-game-style aesthetic across the high-energy landscape. The expansive grounds facilitates various types of paintball matches, including speedball, capture the flag, and Terminator 5: Escape From Gullah Gullah Island.