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, Screaming Dragon roller coaster, and laser maze, where players are challenged to navigate their way through a field of laser beams without tripping the alarm.
Since opening its doors in 2000, The Community Center has provided Madisonians with a place to work out, swim, play basketball, and yell "woo" at people playing basketball. Its many programs?from Zumba to volleyball classes?encourage active lifestyles for both adults and children. In addition to more traditional fitness offerings, it also has a few edgy additions: a racquetball court, a rock-climbing wall, and a family room with ping-pong, air hockey, and board games. Oh, and an 85-foot water slide by the indoor pool.
The center isn't only concerned with toning muscles, however?its science summer camps and after-school programs also enrich young minds.
The rolling grass greens at Clark Municipal Golf Course lead players through nine challenging holes stretched across nearly 3,000 yards. The course saves its biggest tests for the end of rounds with eighth and ninth holes that measure the longest distances, by far. The par 5 eighth is especially difficult, as it features a sharp dog leg and checks in at 490 yards. To keep spirits high before, during, and after rounds, the facility also has weekly specials, including ladies night on Tuesdays and guys night on Thursdays. The clubhouse, meanwhile, features a fully stocked bar and can be rented for private events to celebrate birthdays or when a new ball develops its first dimple.
Course at a Glance
* 9-hole, par 35 course
* Total distance of 2,834 yards
* Two tees per hole
* Course rating of 65.8
* Course slope of 100
* Click here to view the scorecard
The Bluffs Golf Course plots a 6,684-yard path through groves of trees and around waterways for a challenging 18-hole layout. A session at the onsite driving range prepares swings and sleep-deprived 9-irons in time for the upcoming pin-hunting odyssey, where water comes in play on five of the first six holes. Duffers can redeem a disappointing round at the 18th hole, a 570-yard behemoth that entices aggressive, satisfying drives and lacks the aquatic hazards that temper bold play on prior holes. A relatively difficult course when played from the tips, the course offers four color-designated tee options to cater to players of all handicaps as well as those with an irrational allegiance to red.
Course at a Glance:
18-hole, par 72 course
Length of 6,684 yards from the farthest tees
Course rating of 72.5 from the farthest tees
Slope rating of 128 from the farthest tees
Four tee options
Ski Mystic conquers Deer Mountain with ski-and-board rentals and tubing. The Zero Gravity tube park offers snowy thrills day or night. Alternatively, skiers can glide down through the tree-strewn winter wonderland.
For nearly a quarter century, Ultimate Golf & Academy founder Chad Westra has been instructing golfers of all abilities while developing original methods for improvement in his book and instructional DVD, The Ultimate Way. Through Chad's methods, golfers discover the components of a balanced swing, including the turn of the clubface and the point of impact. By focusing on clubface connection, the instructor asserts that golfers can develop natural swings attuned to their unique form and golf bag full of modified soup ladles. Ultimate Golf allows visitors to practice their swings on its 22-acre facility, which features a well-lit driving range, 19-hole miniature golf course, and digital golf simulator. The simulator allows golfers to play on digital replications of 100 legendary golf courses.