For more than 50 years, family-owned Pin Chasers alleys have been adding perks to the bowling basics. Leagues for all skill levels, six-week lesson plans, and the immersive light shows of late-night Cyber bowling entertain families with the fundamentals. It's when the scoring systems—equipped with touchscreen consoles and customizable backgrounds—boot up or the automatic bumpers raise between turns that players might first take notice of their high-tech surroundings. As for service, the inviting staff hand out complimentary bowling shoes and socks, and will assist guests in picking out the right type of ball rather than noisily sandblasting one down to size when it doesn’t fit. The full-service cafes also manage to defy expectations by serving breakfast fare around the clock.
Friendly employees and full bars span each of Pin Chasers' three locations, but other amenities differ. Visitors can aim cues at Veterans' four billiards tables, stretch their thumbs at East Pasco's arcade, or try to count all of Midtown's 50 lanes without first extracting their fingers from their bowling balls.
For more than two decades, Pam Roush has been hosre-training equivalent of a Harvard professor. Her alumni regularly accumulate blue ribbons, awards, and credits such as the UPHA Chapter 16's "Horse of the Year" award. Notable former students include CH My Heart, Top Star Willie, and Galahad's Gold Mine, which all received the "Best of Breed" honor from Saddle and Bridle after spending time under her tutelage.
On Avalon Stables’ 30 acres of open pastures, Pam and her assistant trainers provide boarding and training services for horses, as well as lessons for riders of all ages. They address individual riding goals during private lessons, encourage camaraderie through group lessons, and introduce to riding at children's camps, where kids bond with horses that tell ghost stories.
The high-energy activities under Xtreme Adventures Family Fun Center’s roof instigate rushes of adrenaline in technicolor environs. In the multileveled, 6,000-square-foot laser-tag arena, teams of combatants track down their opponents as they navigate serpentine passageways, duck around forest plants, and circumvent digital quicksand. Padded Crazy Cars spin 360 degrees as drivers ricochet around the rink, while on the trampolines lining the walls and floor of the Xtreme Jump pit, visitors of all ages traverse its elastic expanses in leaps and bounds. After their adventures, they can sample snacks from the Xtreme Cafe & Bar, including pizza, sandwiches, and wings.
Krystle Lee grew up riding horses, and when she got to college at William Woods University, her love of equines only deepened—so much so that she wound up graduating with a degree in Equestrian Science. Now a member of the American Riding Instructors Association, she also runs Suncoast Stables, a barn specializing in show training for American Saddlebreds, Hackneys, and Roadsters.
Open to students ages 4 and up, Krystle’s riding lessons unlock the fundamentals of styles including English horseback riding and driving, which mostly involves riding a horse while spinning an imaginary steering wheel. Her summer camps cover similar basics, making each lesson more memorable with an added infusion of arts and crafts. No matter the season, the barn’s spacious boarding quarters house four-legged residents that enjoy two feedings per day, automatic waters, and a daily turnout.
Someone's little brother shrieks, mournful at being too small to play laser tag with his cousins. Another youngster wants to bowl, but can’t pick up the ball. To Terrace Sports's manager, John McMillan, these are simple problems. A crew member scurries through the laser-tag arena, holding the toy gun for the little boy who would otherwise be too small to play. Another sets up a ramp at the top of a bowling lane, helping the toddler to push the ball into the pins with a satisfying clatter.
Smiling on as his staff solves such crises, McMillan strolls through Terrace Sports, which he remodeled after taking the reins from his father. Leading the way to the laser-tag arena, skating-rink, indoor-climbing wall, bowling alley, and arcade, murals stretch down the entryway, saluting the nearby Hillsborough River with more than 85 depictions of the waterway’s inhabitants, dynamic ecosystem, and naturally occurring steamboats. The entryway leads to the snack bar, where a full menu of gator tail, buffalo burgers, and sweet-potato fries glide down countertops handcrafted from teak and embellished by solid-brass elephant heads.
Entering the laser-tag arena gives one the sensation of delving into the interior of a complex machine, with mechanical parts strung with LED lights lining the walls and generating an eerie glow. Imaginations run wild as players choose to take on roles as monarchy loyalists or rebel forces, with both sides fighting for command of the heart of the machine and firing at one another's bases. The guns, powered by unlimited ammo, unleash streams of crimson and emerald light, and fiber-optic aiming ensures pinpoint accuracy. Vests beep when another player is taking aim, giving warriors a moment to find obstacles to hide behind or nearby portraits of themselves to hide in front of. On an observation deck, cheers rise from friends and chaperones as a 32-inch monitor displays scoring and live footage from six in-arena cameras.
Andrea Whiting, Arbordale Riding Academy's head instructor, draws upon 14 years of professional experience to teach budding equestrian all-stars. Andrea has served as a board member of the Tampa Horse Show Association and a member of the United States Equestrian Federation, a group known for supporting quality care and voting rights for prettier ponies. On the academy grounds, Andrea's students hop atop one of the outfit's carefully maintained horses to receive an introduction to the skills required for competition. Students can learn how to ride in the english style of saddle seat during lessons, and summer camps are also available. One of Andrea's most accomplished students won a National Championship title with the help of her tutelage, and two other horses and three riders who studied under her earned top ten World Championship ribbons.
Arbordale also offers full boarding facilities for steeds, providing all the bedding, grain, and blanketing their tired haunches require. Horses and their owners exercise on 15 acres with various turnout options, and take advantage of the facility's large outdoor arena, jumps, and full tack room.