Falls Park Golf & Games beckons to putt-putt protégés with an 18-hole mini golf course that runs through the center of its cozy, family-friendly space. With topsy-turvy slopes that make for perplexing breaking putts, the course promotes lively competition between siblings, friends, or rival dentists. A stationary golf cart sits in the middle of the course, surrounded by walls decorated with golf-themed festoons—including a caddyshack facade—that help set the scene. Along with more subtle undulations, the course requires players to putt through a tricky loopty-loop and explain the principles of centripetal force to any toddlers within a five-mile radius. After their round, guests can decompress in one of the space's various booths or tables, enjoy a refreshment, and tune in to the flickering images on a flat-panel TV.
PlayNation Party Play and Playsets materializes childhood dreams in a 6,000-square-foot indoor playground popping with monkey bars, rock walls, and playhouses. Inside the weatherproof haven, wooden seesaws jounce younglings, and jumbles of slides, ladders, and ramps give children the space to develop their Chutes and Ladders characters. While children aged 1–9 scramble across colorful apparatuses, parents and their guardians can watch over the frolicking little one from a designated seating area. Open play is available Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday by availability.
At Golden Park, bowling balls tumble down 32 slick lanes while optional bumpers steer them away from the gutter and automatic scoring tracks every strike and spare. Black lights and a disco atmosphere wash over the lanes during glo bowling, held Friday and Saturday nights until 1 a.m. The skating arena lets visitors relive the carefree days of the '70s, when kids gathered at the rink after school and congressional elections were decided by bouts of roller derby.
A snack bar and tiki lounge restore energy lost during heated games, and flat-screen TVs keep competitive juices flowing with sports broadcasts. Nearby, the game room shelters arcade machines, a foosball table, and four billiards tables that often host APA Pool League matches. Golden Park also boasts the Bowling Connection Pro Shop, which outfits players with new balls, shoes, and bags for forthcoming frames.
Tarheel Lanes Bowling Center celebrates the fine art of pin demolition with sleek, modern alleys set within a smoke-free facility. Arriving visitors are paired with a pair of bowling shoes designed to leave lanes un-scuffed and toes un-stubbed, before claiming a lane for two games’ worth of strikes, spares, and stern lectures to balls residing in the gutter. An automatic scoring system keeps cheating at bay and math skills dormant, and an on-site snack bar and game room encourages players to linger in the family-friendly facility long after the 10th frame. Tarheel Lanes is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday–Thursday and until midnight on Friday and Saturday.
Tropical Gardens Miniature Golf strips away the cartoonish aspects of the game found on many courses, instead situating its 18 putting greens amid a diverse landscape of ponds and blooming floras. As a waterfall trickles nearby, a flamboyance of fake flamingos perches under the shade of a tree, silently observing golfers' mannerisms to use in their upcoming novel. Aside from navigating the miniature fairways, players can swing at baseballs in the batting cages or reunite quarters with their captive brethren in the video arcade.
Outdoor Family Fun Center nurtures the various swing-based abilities of its patrons with multiple driving, putting, and batting facilities. Customers can exchange batting-cage tokens ($1.75/each) for 15 pitches from an arm-style machine. The batting cages launch line-drive ammo at various speeds that range from slow-pitch softballs to 80-mph baseballs. Throughout the year golfers can calibrate their crosshairs with buckets of balls ($6+) on the driving range's covered and heated hitting stations or the artificial mats and grass tees. The 3-acre Bermuda grass short-game area ($8 for all-day play) includes target greens and uphill lies while enabling golfers to practice picking the locks on sand traps. The 18-hole, par 42 miniature golf course ($5 for kids younger than 12, $6 for adults) challenges putters with slopes, turns, and professionally landscaped ponds and waterfalls.
Ashville's Fun Depot brings together a multitude of giddy, rambunctious pastimes for competitors of all ages. Laser tag pits noble light-warriors in battle across two stories covering 1,200 square feet, as they weave and dodge around rubberized pillars in a ritualized war dance guaranteed to trip opponents ($7). Colorful, low-slung, single- and double-seater go-karts zip along a quarter-mile outdoor track ($8), while weather-immune karts race for the finish indoors ($7). Three indoor batting cages lob pitches at four speeds and adjustable heights ($1 for 15 throws), and an 18-hole indoor mini-golf course, festooned with verdant murals and a burbling waterfall, separates the birdies from the eagles ($4 for adults, $2.50 for children 10 and under). Knee-high ruffians can ricochet into a padded play area ($3 all day), with neon tunnels, slides, and a bounce area that allows them to perform calibrated experiments on relative gravitational rates.