At Glow Golfin', there are no light fixtures. This isn't because the company has a long-standing beef with the estate of Thomas Alva Edison either. Rather, it's because its 18-hole indoor golf course is illuminated by glow-in-the-dark murals. Each piece of neon art depicts a picturesque woodland scene or classic underwater tableau, such as a school of fish or an undulating patch of seaweed. Given its uniquely festive environment, it's no wonder that Glow Golfin' also specializes in throwing parties for all sorts of occasions, including birthdays for kids and leisurely hangouts for adults.
At Whirlyball Novi, teams in motorized cars call whirlybugs spin and bump their way through one-hour bouts of a competitive wiffle-ball game that combines aspects of basketball, hockey, and jai alai. Bright red and yellow whirlybugs, powered by electricity and the tears of the defeated, race across a 4,000-square-foot court as their drivers toss balls to each other with plastic scoops. Referees keep track of each team's score as friends look on from the comfortable leather couches of the lounge. After matches, teams sip on drinks from the bar, feast on one of several meal packages, or continue calling each other "liver-licking kumkwats" over games of pool.
Zap Zone's seven locations in Michigan and two locations in Canada each feature a unique combination of attractions—anything from bumper cars to the Jump Zone's cushioned obstacle course. In the laser-tag arena, both kids and adults demonstrate their teamwork skills by outscoring opponents in fast-paced games that take place inside black-lit mazes of neon-tinged hallways. Arcades also round out every location's attractions, tempting passersby to drop a few tokens on racing games and skee-ball, or a lot of tokens on the claw game filled with Fabergé eggs.
Soft surfaces are everywhere inside Castaway Play Cafe. This makes for an ideal play area for kids—and their parents for that matter. Tykes, along with their accompanying grown-ups, can conquer bounce houses before continuing the fun on one of the slides, atop a suspension bridge, or inside a special toddler area. Nearby, the lights dim inside a laser tag arena, where neon surfaces glow and friends and family duke it out with beams of light. On special occasions, the facility hosts all-night lock-ins, during which youngsters can sing karaoke, play arcade games, or debate the merits of agrarian social structures until their parents come and pick them up in the morning.
Castaway Play Cafe earns the last word in its name by housing a full-service restaurant in its facility. Here, cooks bake pizzas and bread sticks, assemble chicken wraps, and pile bacon and cheese atop burgers.
Voted No. 4 in the Top 10 Birthday Chains for Kid Birthday Parties in 2010 by Parents magazine, Pump It Up pulses with inflatable play sets and actually encourages kids to bounce off the walls. Within the indoor playground, a stalwart staff oversees the neighborhood of bounce houses and air-filled playthings, such as a classic bounce castle and slick inflatable slide that cushions children's heartfelt reenactments of Cool Runnings. Throughout the week, families can pop in for open play, or tote along their own mini entourage for birthday-party packages complete with private rooms and complimentary invites. Parties come as straightforward packages or as themed events that place the birthday child in structured story adventures where they take on the role of a mighty and clever superhero or pirate captain that drank too much saltwater.
Founded in 1994 as a community-based recreation center, Joe Dumars Fieldhouse is a 100,000-square-foot facility that houses sports leagues and camps in addition to an arcade-equipped entertainment center and an indoor/outdoor restaurant. Dumars' value of sportsmanship lives on through league play and pickup games on one of nine basketball courts and in two full-sized hockey arenas. Camps and clinics provide activity-based instruction to little ones, and the entertainment center's mini-golf and mini-bowling areas host small-scale enjoyment without enforcing miniature-shoe rentals. After rigorous activity, guests can head to Joe's Southern Grill, an arena-themed eatery with tables made from the Pistons' NBA-championship basketball court and a kitchen supervised by head chef Bill Laimbeer.