Bored with your local mini-golf course? We don't blame you. Much as we love the date-night (or family-night) escape, too many mini-golf courses feature the same handful of holes. A windmill! One of those metal ramps that winds back on itself! Bumpers! Snore.
But it doesn't have to be like that. Here are five courses that throw away the mini-golf textbook, and put a different spin on this time-honored family activity.
Location: Lake George, NY
Where else can you see China, France, and South America without leaving upstate New York vacation hotspot Lake George? Nowhere, we suspect. This nationally renowned, picturesque course will give you a taste of sights from all around the globe, while putting your putting skills to a world-class test. There's even a second course, Around the USA in 18 Holes, if you fancy something a little closer to home.
Location: Lincolnshire, IL.
Billing itself as "the world's most unusual miniature golf," the Par-King course in Lincolnshire, IL. isn't exactly shy. But they might well be right. With eclectic, bizarre hole designs that incorporate roller-coasters, conveyor belts, roulette wheels, and landmarks including the Sears Tower and Mount Rushmore, it's a wild ride.
Location: Orlando, FL.
Winter isn't exactly the sort of thing one associates with Florida, but this spectacular mini-golf course at Walt Disney's Orlando resort brings an authentically snowy slice of the North Pole to the balmy state. The Winter Course features 18 holes of Santa-themed mini-golf fun, and you'll spot a bevy of favorite Disney stars, too. Finish up on the 18th -- termed the "North Hole" — and you'll get a personalized greeting from Santa himself.
Location: Anaheim, CA.
Step from the busy streets and sidewalks of Anaheim, California into an Arthurian world of castles, water-shooting cannons, and, yes, golf. Camelot Golfland offers two top-rated mini-golf courses, but that's not all: laser-tag, bumper cars, arcade games, five-storey-high waterslides and a pizza restaurant make it a place the family can enjoy all day.
No prizes for guessing the theme of this string of Florida courses: it's pirates, and we're talking the friendly Johnny Depp kind rather than the scary, shooty Somali type. Highlights of Smugglers Cove include pirate ships, hidden caves, and plenty of water features -- although these water features hide one toothy secret: alligators. Yes, real, live alligators. Drop your ball in the drink at one of these unique courses, and we strongly advise against going in after it.
Want to get in a little miniature golf action from the comfort of your desk? Try our free webgame, Wonderputt.