Since its inception as a restaurant and mini-golf course in 1960, Funtown Splashtown USA has steadily expanded to include manifold family-friendly theme-park attractions and water-park slides. The park invites thrill-seekers to rush down the slopes of the wooden Excalibur rollercoaster or free-fall 220 feet from the zenith of the Dragon's Descent tower. At the Splashtown waterpark, guests combat the summer sun aboard two-person slide tubes or circular family rafts. And at the Portland Pirates Paradise attraction, visitors fire water cannons and slip through eight water slides. Between slips and slides, families can unwind on the 1,200 lounge chairs or grab a snack at the picnic areas, so long as they make sure to wait at least 30 minutes before swimming or picnicking again.
At Aquaboggan Water Park, anyone can perform spinning tricks on the half-pipe—it's practically unavoidable. Tube-equipped riders launch down the slippery 45-foot-tall parabola, careening up and down its sides before sliding down into the connected pool. Nicknamed Stealth 5, the half-pipe is just one of the park's unconventional attractions, joining the ranks of the Aquasaucer, a soft dome with a fountain at the top and ropes leading from its peak to its base.
Of course, in its 35 years, Aquaboggan hasn't lost respect for the classics, both wet and dry. Its Pipeline entices guests down a twisting trio of slides, readying riders for a high-speed race on the Turbo Drop's side-by-side slides. Wee ones can splash in the wave pool or take part in a consequence-free lesson in aquatic navigation on the bumper boats. Afterward, guests can dry out on an 18-hole mini-golf course and a high-speed go-cart track.
The karts at Maine Indoor Karting definitely aren’t of the amateur variety. The center maintains a fleet of European racing karts that balance the power of 200 CC, 6.5-hp Honda engines and wet clutch drive systems with the comfort of adjustable padded seats. Before climbing into these speed machines, adults must first attend safety briefings, suit up in provided uniforms, and strap on helmets. Drivers younger than 15 must complete an intensive safety course on how to steer safely, increase speed, and ramp over oncoming fruit carts. But all that prep proves to be worth it when drivers squeal out onto the newly renovated serpentine track and motion-blur their way through 1,200 feet of narrow stretches and sharp switchbacks.
The family-fun center also houses an indoor 18-hole miniature golf course and an arcade filled with video games. An on-site café serves casual fare such as hot-dogs, hand-made pizza, and root beer floats.
Cavorters of all ages caper about Joker's Family Fun and Games's massive indoor play zone, which is stocked with games and attractions that inspire climbing and sliding. Kids can scramble into the three-tiered A-Maze-Zing playhouse to navigate tubes, web bridges, and conference rooms, and toddlers can maneuver through the mini maze or hop aboard the train ride for a sightseeing jaunt around the tracks. Future adults can challenge one another in sundry classic arcade games such as skee-ball and air hockey, and more than 50 video games await thumbs desperate to win garlands of exchangeable tickets. Whippersnappers achieve liftoff in lieu of jetpack overalls on a Jolly Jump air bounce then safely glide down a 22-foot inflatable super slide. At the 14,000-square-foot Portland location, youngsters can also blast comrades in a space-age laser-tag zone, scale a towering rock-climbing wall, and master putting skills on an 18-hole mini-golf course. After extreme bouts of frolicking, families can quell tummy rumbles with slices of housemade pizza slathered in Joker's signature sauce or peek at the menu to peruse sandwiches, burgers, and chicken tenders.
Located in the woods, Liquid Planet Water Park forms an oasis of thrilling water slides, pools, and watery play zones. Water attractions include high-speed vertical-drop slides, spiraling water runs that stretch upward of 250 feet, and brisk splash pools. Forming a relaxing buffer at the side of the park are 2,000 square feet of sandy beach that, like marshmallow swim trunks, offer cushy respite from the ubiquitous concrete-pool surroundings. The beach also borders spring-fed Crater Lake, which attracts swimmers and cannonballers with traditional watering-hole charms.