Nestled within Empire Mall, Xcite Family Fun Center enraptures youngsters with inflatables, video games, and tasty treats. Sock-clad kids bound across the center’s ever-changing selection of inflatables—which frequently includes Batman- and Disney princess-themed bouncers—navigate obstacle courses, and race down slides. The arcade entices players with games such as air hockey, skee-ball, and Star Wars Racer, and the enclosed toddler zone pairs wee ones with age-appropriate inflatables, slides, and coloring-book versions of the tax code.
In between rounds of bouncing and gaming, kids can reenergize with grilled-cheese sandwiches, pretzels, or pizza at the snack bar. Open-play sessions run until 9 p.m. Monday–Saturday, and parents or grandparents can accompany their children for free.
Summer carnivals arrive once a year to brighten up a dull parking lot and transform it into a seven-day wonderland. But when the week is over, they take away the flashing lights and excitement and leave behind nothing but vagrant scraps of litter and shattered milk jugs. To combat that feeling of emptiness, each of the four Thunder Road Family Fun Parks features family entertainment the whole year through.
At their Sioux Falls location, families and groups gathering for a work outing or birthday party eternally zip around oval go-kart tracks that are slick and polished to recreate cinematic stunt driving on a small scale. An 18-hole mini-golf course offers a glimpse of what the world would be like if the Vikings had invented golf instead of coercing the Scottish into inventing it. Euro bungee jumping, meanwhile, combines straps and trampolines to induce a weightless sensation and enable flips and jumps dripping with adrenaline. Classic family activities such as batting cages and bumper boats flank a Thunder Road original attraction: Human Foosball. Recent upgrades have included the addition of a Tilt-a-Whirl and laser maze, where players are challenged to navigate their way through a field of laser beams without tripping the alarm.
Landshark Scuba is one of South Dakota's only Professional Association of Diving Instructors–certified centers; the facility has been educating landlocked locals in the diving arts since 2005. With the Discover Scuba class ($35), novice divers will be introduced to scuba diving within the safe and relatively shark-free confines of Landshark's pool (a $5.35 pool fee is included with this deal). Diving basics will be covered by Landshark's staff of friendly and experienced masters of maritime mobility. Should you choose to pursue further diving instruction at Landshark, credit from this beginner's class will count towards your PADI Open Water certification.
Sioux Empire Community Theatre's volunteer-driven productions showcase acclaimed dramatic works for adults and kid-friendly plays for families. During the 2011–2012 SECT season, Driving Miss Daisy (February 17–March 4) spans a quarter century in America's Deep South as Miss Daisy Werthan learns to overcome her racial prejudice while adjusting to a chauffeur who isn't Morgan Freeman. The titular barber of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd (May 4–20) shaves and sings his way through London, and the Bratter newlyweds adjust to the tribulations of marriage and Manhattan in Neil Simon's comic hit Barefoot in the Park (October 28–November 13). Parents can chuckle alongside two tots as Jeremy Jacob sets sail with Captain Braid Beard in How I Became a Pirate (March 15–25), the Stage Adventures Club’s high-seas romp of buried treasure, infectious musical numbers, and insightful PowerPoint presentations on drift-net fishing laws in international waters. Pre-K to eighth-grade theater enthusiasts can also hone different aspects of the dramatic craft in workshops hosted by the Stage Adventures Club. During different sessions, preadolescents discover techniques of musical production, the secrets of acting for the camera, or the art of demanding beds made out of Lunchables for their dressing rooms.
Originally created to distract and befuddle delicious animals until early hunters finished inventing firearms, ballet has since evolved into one of humanity's most transcendent art forms. For $20, today's Groupon gets you one Level A orchestra ticket (a $34 value) to see the Trey McIntyre Project perform on Saturday, April 17, at 8 p.m. at the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science. Or, for $15, get Level B mezzanine seating to the same performance (a $26 value). The performance will take place in the great hall of the Husby Performing Arts Center, an acoustically and optically superior place to witness the scintillations and undulations of the contemporary ballet troupe. Tiered seating in the sweeping, wood-paneled environment ensures visible views for all, while this Groupon's mezzanine seating ensures both sound sight and insightful sound.
Swiss army knives are famed for the many vital tools hidden in the nooks and crannies of their surprisingly small exterior; Star Performance Complex takes a similar approach to educating kids in fitness. Their instructors offer swimming, gymnastics, tae kwon do, and dance lessons to tykes who enjoy competitive athleticism. They also provide day and night care that combines structured activity with open play in their fun gyms, which feature not only gymnastics equipment but inflatable play houses. Other teachers focus on team sports, training kids to work together in softball, soccer, and cheer. All of this – excepting the swim lessons – takes place in their single, colorful facility full of squeaky hardwood, soft mats, and all the equipment a kids needs to build a strong body.