Shrill giggles and the pitter-patter of tiny sock-swathed feet echo off the walls of Pump It Up, where lilliputian guests pinball through a metropolis of inflatable slides and bouncy enclosures. During glow pop-in play sessions, tykes frolic in the radiance of special lights, and in pirate-themed sessions, youngsters don costumes or just feel less self-conscious about the parrot permanently affixed to their shoulder. Small groups of ankle biters tear through the facility during private parties, plummeting down slides, scaling plush ladders, and bounding off of springy floors.
In a twist of irony, Big Splash Water Park was nearly destroyed in a flood. That was in 1984, the first year the park was open. But the owners didn't want a watery grave to be the new park's fate. So they rebuilt it, and in the more than 30 years since, it has grown to far exceed the original in both size and scope.
Originally equipped with just a kiddie pool, the park now sprawls in every direction with colorful flumes, umbrella-shaded walkways, and a bevy of thrilling rides. For example, the famous Master Blaster tube-coaster shoots raft-riders through a course of gravity-defying twists and turns, and the towering Silver Bullet slide sends guests down a breathtaking 72-foot plummet. And after all the excitement, the Lazy River invites visitors to take it easy with a relaxing float free of kings hollering, "Get out of my moat!"
All Star Adventures and All Star Sports's two facilities are loaded with fun-park distractions for both kids and adults. While All Star Sports focuses on athletic attractions such as wall climbing and batting cages, All Star Adventures models its facility after amusement-park thrills that include helicopter rides, a tilt a whirl, and a classic-style carousel. Both locations house a snack bar and throw open their gates seven days a week, remaining open long past the time when the sun goes to bed and the moon comes out to daydream about Buzz Aldrin.
In the 1950s, Joyland was a thriving amusement park, but it closed down in recent years. That's where Joyland Restoration Project comes in. This nonprofit group has been working diligently to restore the park, preserving its vintage feel while adding new rides, restaurants, and other modern touches. To fuel their efforts, they host fundraising events such as Horrorwood, a haunted house that spooks visitors throughout October.
A community-built science-and-art museum, Leonardo’s Discovery Warehouse entertains young minds and inspires creative thought with numerous educational exhibits. As it pays tribute to the famed artist, musician, architect, inventor, engineer, botanist, and Tony-winning choreographer Leonardo da Vinci, the discovery warehouse offers a balance of art, biology, and engineering stations to stimulate both sides of the developing brain. Kids can explore a rainforest environment and meet live animals, strap into a space-shuttle flight simulator, dig for ancient fossils in an excavation pit, and create masterpieces in an arts-and-crafts studio. Directly outside of the museum is Adventure Quest, a three-story wooden castle filled with imagination-fueling bridges, slides, mazes, and swings.
Splash Zone submerges guests in a safe, lifeguard-supervised aquatic romping ground, encouraging swift gliding down a fleet of water slides and enjoyment of water-infused land activities such as volleyball. The Drop Zone features two side-by-side slides, where waternauts can perch atop a sled or hogtied friend and dart down into a refreshing pool. Little thrill seekers can splash about in Kiddie Cove, which brims with shallow-water attractions, and adults have the escapist option of grabbing a comfortable plastic tube and riding the water around a slow-paced river, relatively free of splashing water and children repeatedly shouting "Watch this!"