Groves of oaks and georgia pines reflect off the glassy surface of strategically placed water hazards at Southbridge Golf Club?s 18-hole course, the grassy brainchild of renowned course architect Rees Jones. Soaring above the 6,922-yard layout, wayward golf balls may carom off of the dense population of timbers, nestle into the pillowy sands of deep bunkers, or sink into the abyss of ponds, streams, and lava pits that come into play on nearly every hole. Large greens await at the end of each hole, eager to befuddle golfers with breaking putts and a fast, well-maintained surface. An onsite driving range nurtures golfers relationships with their clubs, and a menu of fresh meat, seafood, and salad at the genteel diner of Vickery?s at Southbridge curbs hunger that may sap strength from drives or preempt post-round putter-jousting competitions.
Course at a Glance:
Designed by Rees Jones
18-hole, par 72 course
Length of 6,992 yards from the farthest tees
Course rating of 74.1 from the farthest tees
Slope rating of 134 from the farthest tees
Four tee options
The turrets of Star Castle climb high above Mall Boulevard, its drawbridge lowered to lead visitors into to a grand hall filled with treasure and adventure. Inside the 28,000-square-foot entertainment stronghold, children glide across a solid-wood skating surface, rolling around to top-40 hits and classic tunes spun by a resident DJ. Coats of arms and archways surround the rink and lead to other fun-filled chambers, including a video arcade where guests can test their skills on games both nostalgic and new and redeem tickets for prizes or sew them into giant ticket sweaters. As if that wasn't enough, the castle also contains a 4,000-square-foot laser-tag arena, where future knights engage in simulated battles beset by black lights and fog, all under the supervision of an arena attendant and any friends or family members who wish to watch from the spectator room.
Island Miniature Golf and Games' family-friendly activities can't be contained, sprawling across both indoor and outdoor facilities. The 18-hole mini-golf course undulates across a landscaped yard complete with all the rock hazards, streams, ponds, and shirt-cannon-toting mascots of a full-scale game of golf. Visitors practice their swings at the three-station softball and baseball batting cages, blast bad guys in the arcade, and test out their car-chasing skills on the bumper-car court. Birthday-party packages occupy young revelers with fun-stuffed amenities such as an inflatable moonwalk bounce house and a private party room.
The motion-picture gurus at Mom and Pop's Westside Cinemas have been relaying Hollywood's latest films for eager cinephiles for more than a decade. Artifacts salvaged from 1985, the theater's old-school 33-millimeter projectors cast images onto three screens as crisp Dolby surround sound heightens movies' audio, allowing viewers to hear the cameraman's knees buckle in the presence of Clint Eastwood's glare. Films soon to grace the silver screen include the Justin Timberlake sci-fi thriller In Time, the comedic feature Tower Heist with Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller, and Puss in Boots, featuring a swashbuckling feline voiced by Antonio Banderas. After sliding into their seats for matinee or evening showtimes, visitors devour a mountainous washtub of popcorn that doubles as a toboggan when emptied. Though not included with today's Groupon, Mom and Pop's Westside Cinemas dispenses a variety of additional concessions, such as 44 oz. sodas ($4.75) and juicy franks from Nathan's Hot Dogs, and adorns its lobby with seven arcade games, including Ms. Pac Man.
For six years, the passionate outdoorsfolk and oarmongers at PaddleFish have connected nature-starved families to the lush beauty of the southeastern United States. PaddleFish's sunset kayak tour takes water-cutters of all levels on a roughly two-hour tour through the scenic tidal creeks and antebellum beauty of downtown Charleston. Friendly marsh explorers will tutor eager aquanauts on the basic techniques of kayaking and safety procedures before guiding them toward Bull River's wildlife-rich tributaries, which can yield a potential highlight reel of bottlenose dolphins, ospreys, bald eagles, fiddler crabs, and sousaphone shrimp. En route, learned guides regale boaters with local lore, tales of Civil War battles, and the ups and downs of the region's traditional shrimp fleets, giving imaginations free reign to conjure the fertile frontiers of old and discover why hope floats. The eco-minded staff also proudly donates services and a portion of sales to environmental groups that preserve the scenic beauty of the landscape they adore.