Spend a day away from the Sun's self-important, shimmering hotness and hit the rink at RollerWorld NE ($6 value for admission). Skaters can rent four-wheeled shoes of both the in-line and the traditional quad varieties ($3 per rental), and then take to the smooth surface of the skate space to show off classic roller-skating moves such as the grapevine, the crazy legs, and the Calvin Coolidge Shuffle. In the event that the couples skate turns alarmingly committal, or you just need to simply refuel, trade in your wheels for land shoes and claim your bounty of two hot dogs ($2 each) and two sodas ($2 each) from RollerWorld NE's snack bar.
Bowling is the great social equalizer—a common ground where grizzled undercover clowns, blue-collar English lords, LARPer librarians, big and tall lingerie models, hordes of hive-minded hipsters, and the other two social demographics that comprise America can unite in common cause and topple a gaggle of stuck-up, inanimate wooden pins. Brunswick has been a household name in this egalitarian pastime almost since the beginning, with a company history that dates back to the 19th century, providing classic American good times to all manner of patrons across the country. And with today's Groupon tying the room together, you'll get to play two games (up to a $9.98 value) in its hallowed halls wearing a pair of freshly disinfected bowling shoes (up to a $3.79 value).
The smooth, pastel-tone corridors of Mountasia Family Fun Park‘s two 18-hole miniature golf courses encircle the rising crags of a central waterfall that cascades past greens of orb-rolling entertainment. Putt-putt parties of all ages can choose from two different courses, navigating around obstacles that include burbling rapids and caves. The turn-filled go-kart course provides tandem go-karts so youngsters can join the four-wheel fun, and inside batting cages patrons flail away using a trusty bat. Elsewhere onsite, water enthusiasts are invited to enjoy bumper boats, Mountasia's 30-foot rock wall beckons to altitude-immune adventurers, virtual thrills reside in the video arcade, and guests take aim at each other in a post-apocalyptic laser tag area.
How long does it take a two-person inner tube to travel 1,161 feet when it’s impeded by misting water and several altitude changes, including an 81-foot drop? Well, as proven by the Green Extreme uphill water coaster, the answer is a little more than a minute. This extreme thrill ride is one of many aquatic attractions at NRH2o Family Water Park. Guests can also zip down enclosed and open-body slides, spin around tube slides, lounge on Beachside Bay’s sand beaches, or partake in family-friendly activities such as the 660-foot lazy river and the five-level water playground. Augmenting the splash-happy structures, the park hosts monthly events that range from fireworks to movie screenings in the 12,000-square-foot wave pool, which makes it more difficult for people to reserve entire rows of seats for their friends who haven’t arrived yet.
Can plants help save the planet? That's a question the researchers at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas ask themselves every day. The institute has been around since 1987, and since that time it has become a center that uses conservation ideas and plant research for the greater good. Whether researchers are discovering new plant species or coming up with solutions to pollution using botanics, they stay curious about the plant world and then share their findings with the public. Visitors to the campus can also tour the super-efficient facility—built in 2011—and explore its herbarium, libraries, and expansive grounds.
Consider activities that take about an hour to complete: a trip to the grocery store, a relaxing massage, watching a favorite television show. Rarely, if ever, do haunted houses fall into this category—unless you're talking about Cutting Edge Haunted House in Fort Worth. In 2009, the attraction’s length caught the attention of Guinness World Records, which deemed Cutting Edge the longest walk-through haunted house in the world.
Looming in a section of the city dubbed “Hell’s Half Acre,” Cutting Edge populates an abandoned meatpacking plant that was originally built in the late 1920s. The plant’s equipment is still fully operational, and still resides inside—only today, it processes humans. To escape such a grisly fate, guests must grope through a multi-storied labyrinth replete with unthinkable horrors such as live monsters, realistic special effects, and salsas made in New York City. Cutting Edge is so terrifying, in fact, that it even earned the top spot on HauntedHouseRatings.com's list of the best haunted attractions in 2013.
At Rockwood Gokart Track, drivers 4'8" and taller buckle up and burn rubber around the outdoor course's tight twists and serpentine turns. There's 12 colorful, single-seat go-karts to choose from, and parents can ferry their little ones (3'4" or taller) alongside them in one of four double-seat mini speed machines. Serious go-karters can also purchase parts or whole new go-karts at Rockwood Gokart Track, or get their current one running again with repairs and promises of oil sandwiches.