For more than 50 years, family-owned Pin Chasers alleys have been adding perks to the bowling basics. Leagues for all skill levels, six-week lesson plans, and the immersive light shows of late-night Cyber bowling entertain families with the fundamentals. It's when the scoring systems—equipped with touchscreen consoles and customizable backgrounds—boot up or the automatic bumpers raise between turns that players might first take notice of their high-tech surroundings. As for service, the inviting staff hand out complimentary bowling shoes and socks, and will assist guests in picking out the right type of ball rather than noisily sandblasting one down to size when it doesn’t fit. The full-service cafes also manage to defy expectations by serving breakfast fare around the clock.
Friendly employees and full bars span each of Pin Chasers' three locations, but other amenities differ. Visitors can aim cues at Veterans' four billiards tables, stretch their thumbs at East Pasco's arcade, or try to count all of Midtown's 50 lanes without first extracting their fingers from their bowling balls.
A member of a previously undiscovered species known as skateasaurus stakes its territory, tracing figure eights along the rink's hardwood floor. Dressed in blue-and-white shorts and a red trucker hat, the plush, green-and-yellow dinosaur?otherwise known as Skato?eschews eating children, and instead prompts them to shake it all about in rounds of Hokey Pokey. This fun ambiance extends to the rest of United Skates of America's roller rink, surrounded by lime-green walls and manned by a smiling staff.
The state of Florida was once entirely underwater—and Florida Eco-Adventures’ tours explore the parts that still are. Founders Mac and Suzanne McCormick lead adventurers through waters such as Kings Bay that, thanks to its 72-degree waters, is a wintertime refuge for West Indian Manatees. The Silver River, meanwhile, hosts a more eclectic array of wildlife, ranging from gators—although they’re too shy and skittish for regular sightings—to sunfish and rhesus monkeys.
The nonprofit Lowry Park Zoo has more than 1,500 animals living on nearly 60 acres of land. One way the Zoo maintains its animal habitats and conservation programs is to hold the annual ZooBoo fundraiser each fall, welcoming families for a slew of Halloween-themed attractions. The event’s spooky theme is evident upon arrival, as the Zoo’s walkways are filled with costumed youngsters. Haunted houses await to elicit giggles, gasps, or shrieks, and parents can easily determine which haunts are appropriate for their brood by consulting the Zoo's skull rating, which designates the scary level of each event, ranging from "all ages" to "scary to the extreme". Admission also includes free unlimited spins on rides such as the Batty Bumper Boats or Scary-Go-Round Carousel. After visiting with some of the Zoo's creepiest residents at the Flying Fox Bat House and Creepy Crawlers Lane, kids and adults can take in the dazzling light displays at the Little Beasties Bungalow or take a break and fill up on seasonal snacks at one of several concessions areas.
Staff Size: 2–10 people
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Our performance theatre class, which encompasses acting, singing, and dancing
Recommended Age Group: All ages
What is one fun, unusual fact about your business?
South Tampa Center for the Arts was voted 2013 Best Theatre Group on Tampa's A-List. We are also one of the only Performance Theatre Groups for students ages 4–14 in South Tampa. We obtain the rights through Music Theatre International to produce two musicals each year. Some of our credits include Disney productions such as Beauty and the Beast, Jungle Book, Little Mermaid, and Peter Pan.
What special training do you or your staff have?
Our faculty members have college degrees related to education and/or the arts. Also, our program has an educational-based approach and our mission is "Enriching Students' Lives with Education through Entertainment".
As the old adage says, "Stuff happens." What training do you and your staff have to stay ahead of the unexpected?
All of our theatre faculty members are currently working professionals in the field, so aside from teaching at South Tampa Center for the Arts, they have contracts with local and out-of-state theatre companies. Our students and their parents have the opportunity to see their instructors performing on stage throughout the year and have expressed how much they enjoy being able to do so.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
Our largest and most popular program is Performance Theatre. However, these same students often enroll in the private piano and voice lessons we offer, as well as our dance classes. We also established Glee Club back in 2010 and it remains a popular program also run by our theatre director.
The sounds of air hockey pucks whishing toward their targets intermingle with myriad beeps, bells, and general revelry inside Game Time's colorful space, where participants stand captivated by the dizzying selection of games at their disposal. After high-stakes rounds of skee-ball or Cyclone, ravenous players can sidle up to the restaurant at the Tampa location only, where classic American staples such as chicken wings and club sandwiches sate victory-fueled hunger.