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.
Hosted on the lush estate of South Dakota’s first winery, Valiant Vineyards, The Great Dakota Wine Festival immerses attendees in the region’s sundry flavors. A two-day schedule of feasting and festivities takes place beside the tranquil waters of the Vermillion River, with crowds enjoying live music, cuisine, and demonstrations on how to navigate a waterfall in a barrel. Upon entry, visitors receive a punch card worth 10 samplings, allowing them to savor the mellow fruits of merlot, the oak-tinged sweetness of chardonnay, and the horrified stares of fellow attendees upon the creation of a merlot-donnay. Guests can also remove their foot coverings and sink into a barrel of squishiness at the grape-stomping booth. Cooking demonstrations impart nuggets of culinary know-how, and the amateur winemaking contest shines light on the beverage artisans of tomorrow. Each guest also receives a souvenir wineglass for at-home imbibing.
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.
The fluorescent bulbs at Bodyworks never sleep, their reliable glow guiding members toward healthier living 24 hours a day. The gym’s trainers oversee weight machines and cardio equipment, teaching exercisers proper form during one-on-one personal-training sessions. They also lead group fitness classes. Members who wish to relax can soak up some rays in Bodyworks’ tanning salon, a 24-hour facility that shames the sun with its work ethic.
With its sights set on community health, Avera McKennan Fitness Center hosts an array of workout classes and houses a mélange of exercise space and equipment for all conditioning capacities. Teamworkers delight in the center's daily fettle-finessing sessions, such as yoga, Zumba, and boot camp, which take place beneath the aerobic room's vaulted ceilings and atmospherically oriented windows. Further phalanx forming takes place in the atrium, complete with basketball hoops for pickup games or aerial canine-agility competitions.