Towering alongside Clayton Road, the Tropicana Lanes sign has a vintage, weather-beaten look acquired after more than 50 years of welcoming visitors. Three generations of Richmond Heights bowlers have ventured into the facility during this time, scattering pins across the same 52 lanes that have hosted the nationally televised Professional Bowlers Tour. Owner and PBA Hall of Fame inductee Ray Bluth oversees the day-to-day operations of the alley—which, despite its retro disposition, sports modern extras such as automatic scoring and singing shoelaces. Between frames, bowlers can kick back inside the cocktail lounge, play in the game room, or munch on wings, nachos, and hot dogs from the snack bar.
Players defeat bosses, slam foosballs, and shoot aliens out of the sky at Game Haven STL. This gaming lounge brings together consoles and arcade games ranging from Atari to Xbox One in one safe space for kids and adults. Big-screen TVs and computers set up for LAN parties allow for group play, making it a good destination for birthday parties or as a place to make a new friend. In addition to video and arcade games, Game Haven hosts tabletop play—owner Gabriel Escobedo first became enamored with gaming after playing Magic: The Gathering in the early '90s. Participants can also use the free WiFi and enjoy concessions whenever they need a break from jumping over barrels or capturing mushrooms.
At Shrewsbury Lanes, 10 white appendages await punishment from careening spheres at the end of 24 polished alleys. Automatic scoring screens keep count at every lane so that rollers can concentrate on picking up seven-ten splits, savoring hot eats from the snack counter, and grabbing cold beers or daily happy hour cocktails from No Bul's Bar. During birthday packages, revelers can bounce between bowling alleys and party rooms, which are stocked with hot dogs, drinks, and chips. Shrewsbury Lanes also hosts leagues for bowlers who enjoy more serious competition or nostalgic adults who were raised inside trophy cases. The roar of ransacked pins echoes throughout the facility until 11 p.m. on weekdays and 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Though built as a private home in 1901, the Victorian mansion stood vacant for years—until its first children's hands-on exhibits opened to the public more than 30 years ago. Since then, The Magic House's curators have worked to engage children of all ages in learning and creative thought through a range of interactive multimedia exhibits. Their exhibits enable visitors to service cars, climb treehouse ladders, and go fishing in a child-centric community, or play with pumps and pipes in a waterworks playground. They can also climb a three-story fairy-tale beanstalk or use detective skills, fingerprint analyses, and secret passageways to solve mysteries.
Museum staffers also organize a range of themed birthday parties, during which attendees play and complete special tasks as time travelers, scientists, or fairy-tale nobility. Family programs encompass monthly visits from outside professional artists, and special events designed to get the whole family moving. Visitors can refuel for exploration at the on-site Picnic Basket Cafe, whose menu highlights whole grains and healthy ingredients.
At this 9-acre family fun center, orb-tossers young and old drive spheres down 32 glossy lanes, and miniature-golf enthusiasts putt their way around a desert-themed 18-hole course. Tepees, outcroppings, and an active waterfall cover the pint-size fairways and greens, creating a unique layout that was named Best Miniature Golf in 2011 by the Riverfront Times.
Nearby, nine batting cages hurl baseballs and softballs at varying speeds, and three sand volleyball courts await bouts of friendly competition. Overlooking the sandy courts, an outdoor deck invites guests to lounge in the sun with casual fare from the cafe. The indoor section pumps jukebox tunes as pool balls sink into the pockets of the billiards table or a passing kleptomaniac.
Abundant rides and games find their way into every corner of Tee Time Family Fun Center's indoor and outdoor playgrounds, which keeps guests of all ages enthralled throughout their visit. After entering the facility, it's not long before kids are hugging the racetrack’s turns from behind go-kart wheels, accelerating their bumper cars or bumper boats into fellow participants’ vessels, or parading their putting skills at an 18-hole mini golf course, voted Best Miniature Golf in 2009 by Riverfront Times. A 3-D maze coaxes puzzle solvers through its black-lit labyrinth, and a multi-level soft-play area accommodates crawling tykes with its tunnels, tubes, and crawling seminars taught by worms. After playing racing games in the arcade, patrons can re-energize with pizza, chicken wings, or a slice of cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory at the snack bar.