At Adventure Park USA, visitors amble, shriek, and laugh through a sprawling 17.5 acres replete with Old West–themed rides and attractions such as the Wildcat roller coaster, which dips and curves around a track in order to elicit screams of joy akin to Steven Tyler on Christmas morning. Outdoor diversions such as bumper boats and go-karts stoke competitive fires, and a collection of little tykes rides invite pintsize riders to spin in teacups or gallop on carousel horseback. Open year-round, a 22,000-square-foot indoor playzone thumbs its nose at inclement weather with laser tag, an arcade, a ropes course, and a climbing wall. Owner Larry Stottlemeyer continues to expand this already extensive list of family-friendly diversions.
Course designer Tom Clark of Ault, Clark, & Associates earned Pleasant Valley Golf Club a 4.5-star rating from Golf Digest, whose editors applauded the architect’s creativity in the site’s rolling hills and dense hardwood forest. Clark’s 18-hole brainchild allows players to tee up from one of four tee boxes and test their mettle against the par 72 course, taking care to avoid the water in play on six holes and the grassy meadows that lie outside the fairway borders. Players can bookend their round with a warm-up session on the range and a cooldown at the grill, helped along by a club sandwich, a Gatorade, or a glass of ice water dumped on an overused foot wedge.
Invented in the '70s as a humane alternative to the draconian waffle eat-off that previously resulted in oft-disputed rankings, the college bowl system has become a beloved football tradition. With today's Groupon, $35 gets you a ticket to the second annual EagleBank Bowl on Tuesday, December 29, and admission to the all-you-can-eat tailgate feast before the game. Watch the clash of UCLA vs. Temple from the all-star seating section, sated with food from local restaurants and the knowledge that your Pomeranian could probably never get into your jar of premium capers.
Sitting behind the wheel of a 32 Sodi RX7 kart has a way of making you feel like a professional stunt driver. Maybe it's zipping up your driver’s suit, or snapping on your helmet. Either way, at Summit Point Kart, all participants get the look they want and the safety orientation they need to cut turns like Andretti when they take on that piece of half-mile track known as the Washington Circuit.
Overhead, lights blaze down on the track’s 20 turns, so karters can race well into the evening or on that day after summer solstice when the sun is too partied out to get out of bed. Racers who get hooked can get themselves a yearly membership card, which discounts the price of racing credits. Little ones enamored with the track can enlist in kart school, a daylong camp that builds confidence behind the wheel.
Sculpted into the rolling hills of Northern Virginia and designed by prolific course architect Dan Maples, South Riding Golf Club’s course plots a challenging path through mature timbers and glassy waters. A fleet of golf carts equipped with GPS technology helps players navigate the 7,148-yard chain of fairways by giving them the distance to upcoming hazards, greens, and blitzing linebackers emerging from the rough. Streams and ponds ripple throughout the course, including on the par-3 13th hole, where golfers are faced with a forced carry over a pond situated between tee and green. The club’s grass-tee driving range, short-game area, practice bunker, and putting green allow players to nurture their relationship with their putter, wedges, irons, woods, or modified soup ladles. When not conquering the course, duffers can take advantage of South Riding's modern clubhouse, fully stocked pro shop, and staff of golf instructors.