Mike O'Donnell's Irish Pub ushers patrons from a broad stretch of Franklin Avenue into a bar from which all pretense has been stripped away in favor of a cozy vibe conducive to unwinding. Even the ceiling tiles broadcast the pub's ties to the community in the form of quaint, business-card-style ads for local businesses. In the game room, friendly competitors hone their skills at the dartboard and draw cues for dibs on the pool table between bites of Irish-inspired appetizers and burgers hot from the grill. Meanwhile, barkeeps refill glasses and chat with regulars as flat-screen TVs keep crowds updated on sports action and the latest commands from Big Brother.
Encompassing an 85’x200’ main rink as well as a smaller 80’x60’ surface, Franklin Park Ice Arena hosts wintry productions ranging from hockey and figure skating to broomball and birthday parties. When not configured for youth or adult hockey leagues, speed-skating time trials, or test drives of icebreaking jet skis, the rink hosts public skating sessions offered up to six times per week. Meanwhile, Orch’s Pro Shop stands at the ready for skaters with equipment by such major brands as Bauer, CCM, and Easton, as well as repairs and skate sharpening.
It’s commonly accepted that it’s not a good idea to build castles in the air, so the team at Monkey Zone built castles with air inside them instead. At their 40,000-square-foot indoor playground, they supervise tots expending energy as they ricochet off the walls of the Dora the Explorer inflatable and other air-filled fun houses. Good for kids aged 1–10, the Toddler Town bouncy house lets little ones roll about as bigger kids race invisible tractors at the barnyard blow-up. In the game room, kids delve further into their imaginations while playing arcade and crane games and sip soft drinks from the snack bar. Monkey Zone also hosts birthday parties with pizza, pop, and play for up to 50 guests in their fanciful space featuring jungle, circus, and aquatic murals.
The roar of engines bounces off 20-foot ceilings as go-karts zip by at up to 42 miles per hour. The track winds through the 138,000-square-foot space as up to 14 racers compete in eight-minute sessions, their lap times recorded on projection screens for spectators to keep track of or use for their next lottery ticket. At Melrose Park Indoor Grand Prix, drivers first undergo a 15-minute safety briefing before racing, and afterward, go home with a boast-worthy printout of their lap times. Each of the facility's 37 single-seater carts is powered by eco-friendly propane gas and goes through regular rigorous testing to prevent malfunction or acquisition of an English accent.