Since 1981, families have flocked to the attractions at Jus-Fun Amusements. They zip around the 1/5-mile go-kart track, drifting around its three hairpin turns, then douse each other with water balloons in the Water Wars arena, where arguments ensue over which bathroom the loser has to clean. A more leisurely pastime can be found on the grassy expanses of the mini-golf, where the obstacles are changed once a month to challenge repeat visitors.
At any moment, visitors to Wilderness Falls might run into the resident moose. He isn’t grazing: Maddux the Moose, the family fun center’s fuzzy mascot, spends his time playing its two 18-hole, outdoor mini-golf courses and accepting high-fives and hugs from enthusiastic guests. Maddux isn’t the only fixture that may make guests feel as though they’ve wandered into the woods¬; the two mini-golf courses are pretty rugged themselves. The Bear Course, which hosts the annual Chicago Mini-Golf Championship, leads putters past a 35-foot waterfall, into a dark cave, and across creaking wooden walkways, just like the race all of Harrison Ford’s clones run to determine which one will get to play Indiana Jones. Alternatively, the Eagle Course leads players around winding rivers and on a climb to the top of a 40-foot mountain of rock.
Of course, it’s not all roughing it. In the middle of the greens sits the tented arena that holds Wilderness Falls’ batting cages, including six baseball cages and three softball cages. An arcade lights up the indoor space with the glowing screens of video games, and party rooms hold birthday and team celebrations.
Across nearly three-fourths of the United States, AMF Bowling Co. reverberates year-round as families, friends, and competitors send bowling balls in search of upright pins careening down slick lanes. The company first established itself as an industry leader in 1946, the same year the sport introduced automated pinspotters.
Today, more than 20 million bowlers annually make AMF their battleground for wars against pins. As the largest owner and and operator of bowling centers in the US, AMF locations offer high-tech scoring technology, a classic design, and a menu stocked with American-inspired classics such as wings, pizzas, burgers, and beer.
Odyssey Fun World's attractions aren't confined to its 45,000 square feet of indoor games and rides?they also sprawl across 11 acres in the fresh air. Inside, a ferris wheel, bumper cars, and a roller coaster host both kids and adults, and more than 250 arcade games and a laser-tag arena foster friendly competition. The indoor Gamers Lounge allows youngsters to practice their PS4 and XBox One skills, while kids up to 10 years old fling themselves into ball pits, slip down slides, or dispute the physics behind make-believe-ore extraction in tunnels at the four-story Exploration Adventure play structure.
Outside, at the Naperville location, the staff keeps the Kidz Adventure Park's inflatable bounce houses and slides properly puffed. At the Tinley Park location, they pretend to manicure the faux turfs of two 18-hole mini-golf courses, including one that's wheelchair accessible. Their bumper boats encourage friendly jostling, but the speedboats?limited to drivers aged 16 and older with a driver's license?are all about crossing the finish line first. As trips down the zipline peak adrenaline and appetites, Chipper's Cafe counters hunger with pizza, wings, and burgers.