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 eight 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 Faberg? eggs.
Putting requires intense concentration, which is especially difficult when you have an elephant standing over your shoulder. At Sport-N-Fun, miniature golfers putt their way through three 18-hole courses adorned with statues of exotic wildlife such as gorillas and giraffes. These distractions are one of the many obstacles on the terrain, where bank shots and undulating hills stand between players and holes-in-one.
Sport-N-Fun's other exhilarating activities likewise vie for visitors' attention. Thrill-seekers zip around the curves and down the straightaways of the Go-Kart track, or leap skyward while securely harnessed on the bungee trampoline. In seven batting cages, machines pitch balls toward batters at speeds of up to 85 miles per hour, offering a range for different skill levels. Inside, classic games blip and bleep as players frantically tap buttons at the arcade. Amidst all the action, GG's Pizza renews energy with servings of pizza and fountain drinks.
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.