Behind the Scenes at Adventure Park USA

““One thing that I really want people to know is that we are not part of a corporation. We are a family-owned, locally-owned business, and we have a commitment to each and every one of our guests,””
— Adventure Park USA, COO, Erik Stottlemyer 

Adventure Park USA is Frederick County’s only Family Entertainment Center; with both a large indoor facility filled with all kinds of fun and physically active attractions, plus a host of thrilling outdoor amusement rides and games. With all of this, plus so much more, Adventure Park USA is truly a one of a kind place. So it would make sense for such a unique place would have an equally unique history. This is the story of one family’s version of the American dream, and the passion, hard work and dedication it takes to make that dream a reality. 

Adventure Park USA owner Larry Stottlemyer started out as a small-time print setter in a local print shop in Rockville, MD. In 1965 he met his soon to be wife Angie and took her on a date to Rockville Putt-Putt golf and games. Little did he know that this experience would plant the seed for an idea that would only be realized years later. One night as he drove past that same Rockville Putt-Putt golf and games, he wondered what it might be like to own a place like it for himself. Larry was eager to learn all that he could about how to run such a business, so he asked the owner to mentor him. 

In 1980, Larry was finally able to open Frederick Putt-Putt Golf and Games on Thomas Johnson Drive in Frederick, but building a business from the ground up is not without its own set of challenges. “I always tried to surround myself with people that knew the things I didn’t know.  I’m not an accountant, so I hired one. I don’t know anything about contracts, so I hired a lawyer I could trust. I think you need to be smart enough to know what your weaknesses are, and find people to help you with those weaknesses,” he says.

The economy of the early 1980s was highly volatile, and just a few short years after opening, the Stottlemyer family found themselves in bankruptcy court. Despite all of these financial hardships, Larry would not give up on his dream. Through sheer will and perseverance, he managed to find a few like-minded people to help keep his business afloat. 

“There have been good times and bad times, but we never gave up. If you’re going to do something, you’ve gotta see it through. You either believe in it, or you don’t believe in it. You can’t start a business if you’re going to have an exit strategy. You’ve got to go all in. ”
— Larry Stottlemyer CEO of Adventure Park USA.

As the years went on, they added Bases Loaded Batting Cages and West World Laser Tag. “We got so busy with laser tag, that we had no choice but to move so we could expand. People weren’t going to keep coming if they have to wait 2 hours to play a game of laser tag. We just didn’t have space to put all of our guests,” he says. Larry began to formulate an idea for a new larger facility that would include a Go-Kart track and two mini-golf courses. “It took 7 years of planning, dreaming and designing to get ready for Adventure Park USA. It’s always been a family effort.”

He was able to secure a plot of land in Monrovia, MD, but life never works out quite the way we want it to. In 2003, just as the family was getting ready to break ground on their brand new park, their funding fell through. “My wife and I invested every penny we made from selling Frederick Putt-Putt Golf and games into Adventure Park. I’ve always been 100% invested.” Larry was able to convince local investors to put up the rest of the funding. Finally, they had enough to break ground and begin construction on his dream.  A few years later, the Stottlemyer’s opened Adventure Park USA to the public. 

When asked about what Adventure Park USA means to him, Larry can’t help but get a little emotional. “This place is more than just brick and mortar to me. It’s more than just wood, nails and screws. It’s my heart and soul. If something were to happen, and this place got taken away, it would be like losing a part of myself.”

Now that Larry is getting older, he’s decided to take a less active role in the daily goings-on in the park. “It’s difficult for me, but it’s time to pass the torch on to my son and son-in-law,” he says. With this in mind, I sat down with Larry’s son and Adventure Park USA COO Erik Stottlemyer to ask him about the history behind some of the park’s most popular rides, and what they have in store for the future.

“The whole idea is to make the inside an indoor amusement park. A place the whole family can play even when the weather is bad outside. We really want mom and dad to be playing with their kids.”
— Erik Stottlemyer 

Let’s start with your indoor entertainment center. What’s the story behind West World Laser Tag?

ES: In the mid-90s, my father was always looking for ways to expand the business. We would try different things to see what worked. At the time, laser tag was becoming very popular, so we decided to put one in at Frederick Golf and Games. My father loves old Westerns, he’s a huge fan, and so he decided to design it in that style. In fact, his favorite Western is called West World, so that’s why we named it that. We hand designed the entire town on the inside, which was all built by my family. We built the entire building, all 2,500 sq. feet of it. In the game, we took you back in Texas Ted’s Time machine, and we shot some homemade videos for it. It was very fun and kooky, we had a great time with it. People from all around would come to play it, they would drive from states away to come and play. It was very popular.

 What can you tell me about Hologate Virtual Reality? 

ES: We got that February of 2018. It’s been a huge hit. It’s a very unique arcade game. It is a totally immersive 4-D experience. Maybe you’re throwing snowballs at one another, or fighting Zombies. Every so often the company will upload a new game. So we have some really great things coming down the pike like the Angry Birds 2 (™) game. The Hologate virtual reality experience is second to none.

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Usually, bumper cars are an outdoor attraction, but you have them inside. Tell me a little about Spinzone Bumper Cars.

Originally we had that space designated for the arcade, and we’ve tried some other things there. It’s a really fun ride, and it’s a great use of space. If it’s hot outside you just get to come in and cool off, maybe goof off and have some fun.

What was the first roller coaster that you acquired for Adventure Park USA?

The first roller coaster was the Wild Cat. It’s a ¼ mile-long track, speeds of up to 40 mph, and we generally get around 80,000 riders per year.

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The history behind this ride is quite amazing. The Wild Cat was originally designed by Anton Schwartzkopf, who is actually considered the godfather of the all-steel roller coaster. It might be the very first roller coaster car that Anton actually hand-built. For a time it was used as a display at the IAAPA (The Global Association for the Attractions Industry). It was ordered by the Anheuser Busch company for Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia. At the time it was called Die Wildkatze was put into the German section of the park, which is interesting because it’s a German-built ride.

In 2006 I was interested in bringing a roller coaster into the park. I got word that a gentleman named Morgan Hughes was selling the Wild Cat from his park in Pennsylvania called William’s Grove. Mr. Hughes was one of the most interesting people that I’ve ever met. He told me that he used to hobnob with the Disney family, and he was also friends with Anton Schwartzkopf. It was a very memorable experience for me because I got to meet a man who was quite a legend in the industry and buy my very first rollercoaster.

Can you tell me a little about the history of the Wild West Express?

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It’s 53 feet tall and 1,413 feet long. The coaster was a combined manufacturing effort between 2 Italian based companies. The first company was called SDC, and they primarily built large coasters. Unfortunately, SDC ran into financial trouble, and they had to file for bankruptcy.  At the time Zamperla was a small company that primarily built children’s rides. So the 2 companies partnered together to manufacture the coaster. The Wild West Express was the very first coaster that they built together. The owner of Zamperla wanted to grow his company, and so eventually he bought SDC. The coaster was shipped to the US, and for a while, it sat in a warehouse. 

In 1997, a park in Kissimmee, Florida called Old Town bought the ride and they called it the Windstorm. Old Town had the coaster for many years. Then, they started having financial problems, and they had to be foreclosed upon. So I bought it from the foreclosing bank in May of 2015. If you were to buy this ride today, it would probably cost over 4 million dollars. The ride had been treated so badly, it had been really poorly maintained. The former owners had actually painted over it with regular rollers and brushes, it was terrible. When we brought it up here, we had to take it apart and completely refurbish it.  We have a shop in the park with engineers and everything you need to rebuild and maintain rides. We wanted to restore it to its former glory, and that’s what we did.

How did you come to acquire the Skycoaster?

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The Zamperla company has a park in New York called Luna Park on Coney Island. The Skycoaster was right at the entrance of the park. The Skycoaster was built by Ride Entertainment Group, which is a company right out of Maryland. In 2014, I was in Kissimmee, FL with my brother-in-law Kevin and we went to a theme park called Fun Spot America. They have a Skycoaster that’s 250 feet tall, and we decided to ride it. We were completely floored by how much fun it was.  When we got off the ride I looked at Kevin and I said, “We need to get one of these in Adventure Park.”

 Fast forward to 3 years later, a friend of mine who’s in the industry calls me up and says, “Hey, I have a Skycoaster for sale, do you happen to know anyone who might want to buy it?” And I said, “Yeah, I might know someone who wants to buy it.” So we brought it into the park. I’ve rebuilt, refurbished and erected most of the rides in this park myself, or with the help of a few other people.

Are there any new or upcoming outdoor rides that you are excited about?

ES: Yes, we’re going to have a Ferris Wheel, and the story behind it is really quite amazing. From day one I wanted a Ferris Wheel in the park. This ride was built in 1974 by the Eli Bridge Company for City Park in New Orleans. The municipality actually owns the park. What’s so unbelievable is that this ride actually survived Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Because of its location, it was at a high enough elevation that it managed to withstand the storm and not be flooded at all. It was fully operational, there were no mechanical issues at all. Technically, they could’ve turned it on the next day, it was still in great condition. 

Later on, when they were rebuilding City Park, some of the funds were earmarked to replace the ride. So they went back to the Eli Bridge Company and ordered a brand new Ferris Wheel. The old one was lovingly taken down and replaced by the new Ferris Wheel. Luckily, I was able to buy it, and bring it up here to Frederick. Right now we’re in the process of repainting it, but it should be ready to go soon. I’m really excited about it.

What do you enjoy the most about this job?

ES: It changes and varies. I had no idea what I was getting into when I first bought the Wild Cat. I had trusted this local company to do the work for me, and they ended up not delivering anything. So, I had to do all the work myself. I worked so hard to restore the Wild Cat that I almost killed myself. I would spend 20 hour days sandblasting and repainting the coaster. Then I would crawl into the crane I had rented and sleep for a few hours, and then get up and do it all over again. I am a mechanical person, so I love that kind of stuff. 

The first week that I was running the ride, a father and son got off the rollercoaster, and the kid was so excited that he was yelling and jumping around. The father looked over at the son and said “Yes! That was your first roller coaster ride.” I get goosebumps from head to toe just thinking about it. Everyone thinks about how they are going to be remembered, what’s your legacy, how are people going to remember you? Whether or not people know me personally is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. People don’t really get to see the love and care that I put into the park. They are at a facility that I had a direct influence in, and I was directly responsible for bringing these rides in. They are having first time experiences, lifetime experiences. They are having a great time and really enjoying themselves in something that I had a hand in building.

 What exciting new things do you have coming up for your indoor family entertainment center? 

We are undergoing some huge changes around here. Over the past 12 years, we’ve added a lot to the outside of the park, and now we want to focus on the inside. I want to have someplace to play in the wintertime. You know when you’re out and about during the bad months, when it’s raining or just not nice weather, you can come to Adventure Park and play. No one wants to be cooped up when it’s nasty outside. We have a great place to come and have a blast indoors. In the fall, we will be adding beer and wine to our facility.

We are in the process of completely revamping our Prize Redemption center. The prize games are going to be huge. You can really win some cool stuff now. We are partnering with some local businesses as well as Best Buy and Amazon and we are going to be giving away everything from Flat Screen TVs to bicycles to Kayaks and everything in between. Everybody can play for something they really want. People can have fun playing their favorite games to win prizes. It’s a win-win. 

We’ll be getting these new RFID wristbands, which you can scan to ride rides or play games. It’s a more efficient payment system. It will be better than putting money on a card because if you lose your card the money could be lost as well. You’ll be able to load all of your credits into our online system for free, and it will keep track of everything for you. It’ll be very simple to access your account to see your game credits and tickets. We’re also bringing the Froghopper inside, so people will be able to ride it all year round.

As you can see, Adventure Park USA is a company built on one local family’s passion for fun and entertainment. It is the story of hard work and dedication in the face of all kinds of opposition. It is the story of the American Dream.

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Adventure Park USA wants you to be part of their family! Join their VIP program, and you will be eligible for 10% off at the door, plus a surprise monthly gift. Sign up for the VIP newsletter to get the latest information on their exciting upcoming promotions and events. 

Learning how to Play is Fundamental at Adventure Park Academy

As you walk into the Adventure Park Academy classroom, don’t be surprised if you hear the sounds of children laughing and having fun. As a parent, you might worry that there isn’t much learning going on, but that is simply not the case. Parents, teachers, and experts agree that play-based learning is crucial to a child’s growth and development.

“Play-based learning embraces giving children time to carry out their own ideas through play. Children are allowed to explore information in their surroundings in an experiential, exploratory way, rather than in a didactic, script-based format. Play-based learning incorporates sensory learning and can include activities such as the arts, nature, and music,” says Meghan Parker in “Learning Without Tears”. This might seem like a no-brainer, but many parents and preschools are under pressure from common core standards and mandated academic tests to force children to read when they are not developmentally ready. This focus on academics can lead to other learning problems down the line.

Valerie Strauss from the Washington Post wrote an excellent article on her own experience with her daughter’s pre-school education. Strauss found that she was spending far too much time focusing on her child’s reading readiness, and hardly any time on allowing her to learn through free play. “Preschool years are not only optimal for children to learn through play, but also a critical developmental period. If children are not given enough natural movement and play experiences, they start their academic careers with a disadvantage. They are more likely to be clumsy, have difficulty paying attention, trouble controlling their emotions, utilize poor problem-solving methods, and demonstrate difficulties with social interactions,” she writes.

Adventure Park Academy offers a unique experience for families in search of a unique learning environment that’s different than traditional preschools and childcare centers. Not only will your child have access to a number of varied games and physically challenging activities, but they will get to have a ton of fun while they learn!

I talked with Adventure Park Academy director Melissa Brunisi about her approach to early childhood learning and development and what play-based learning means to her. 

Can you tell me a little bit about your background in childcare and how you came to work for Adventure Park USA?  

I began working in the early childhood field when I was 19 years old while attending college at Villa Julie in Greenspring, MD.  When I graduated with a degree in Business Communication, the Childcare Corporation, I worked for offered me a full-time management position. For the next 14 years, I traveled to childcare centers in Baltimore, Montgomery, and Howard Counties. I liked the work, but it was a really long commute for me. In 2011 the director position opened up at Adventure Park Academy, and I was thrilled when they offered me the job. At the time, I had 2 children under the age of 5 at home. Adventure Park is much closer to where I live, and the shorter commute would allow me to spend a lot more time with my young children, which has benefitted my family in so many ways.

What does play-based learning mean to you?

To me, it means giving children the opportunity to learn by interacting with each other and their environment. We encourage this by providing play-based materials in the classroom.

What is your approach to free play, and why do you think it’s important for young children’s growth and development? 

We set specific goals and then design play-based activities around these goals. Children can engage in dramatic play such as setting up a pretend restaurant. We believe that sensory play is crucial, so we use blocks, farm animals, letter cards, dinosaurs, and other items to help the children develop their minds and bodies.

Can you give me some examples of games or experiments that you do with your preschoolers, and what you aim to teach with them?

We do a lot of hands-on learning with the children. In the fall we will go and visit a pumpkin patch, and the kids get to pick their own pumpkin. We enrich that experience by then carving the pumpkin, writing in a journal and then cooking the seeds.

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Are there any specific things that parents can expect from Adventure Park Academy that they wouldn’t see at other pre-schools?

You will see a balanced approach to learning at Adventure Park Academy because we focus on social, emotional and cognitive development. We encourage independence and problem-solving skills that help children gain confidence in themselves. Our goal is for your child to leave the program ready for kindergarten.

What can you tell me about your staff?

My staff members are dedicated to the overall development of each individual child. Each one has a passion for helping children learn and grow. These individuals have spent many hours training, gaining experience and honing their skills as early childhood teachers. I am lucky enough to have several degreed teachers who collectively have over 30 years of experience in the field.

What role does physical activity have in your curriculum? 

 Physical activity plays a big part in our curriculum.  The children have access to a private playground, as well as the soft play area inside Adventure Park USA.  No matter what the weather outside the children will always have an opportunity for gross motor play/physical activity.  Physical activity is very important to a child’s day.  It helps with executive functioning such as memory and sequencing and it primes the brain for learning.  It also helps children with extra wiggles to get them out so they are ready for classroom interactions. 

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 Do your students have access to the arcade, games or other amenities in the park?

The older school-age children have access to the park attractions and games on a more regular basis when they are open. They typically will do arcade at least once a week as well as laser tag.  On FCPS out days, the children in attendance can also purchase from the café.   The younger children don’t do the arcade as much as it is not as age-appropriate for them.  They do however take advantage on a daily basis the soft play climbing area and the rides during the summer months.

Finally, are there any other things that you would like parents to know about Adventure Park Academy?

We are not a traditional early learning and childcare center. I often say that this is a home away from home for our students and their families. One of my favorite parts of this job is that we get to form some close personal relationships with our families, and I think that is one of the reasons why many of them continue to return year after year. I want people to feel a sense of comfort and belonging when they come to Adventure Park Academy, I want them to feel like they are part of our family.

The Best Family Activities in Frederick

Adventure Park USA is Maryland’s only Family Entertainment Center with plenty of active attractions to keep you busy this season. They also have some great family-friendly events coming up over the next few months such as The Fall Festiv-ALL, and the Not so Scary Halloween Party! Let’s take a look at why families play together at APUSA:

  • APUSA is open rain or shine all year round, even when Frederick County Public Schools are closed.

  • Their large indoor family entertainment center features a host of active attractions such as West World Laser TagSpin Zone Bumper CarsHang ‘em High Ropes CourseHologate Virtual RealityRustler’s Ridge Rock Wall, the Stampede arcade plus so much more, and all under one roof!

  • The only mini-golf in Frederick! With two challenging courses; Dry Gulch and Thunderin’ Falls, your family will bond and build memories together with this classic pastime. 

  • World-class child-care, summer camp, before and aftercare, and a preschool program with the Adventure Park Academy.

  • Convenient Birthday Party Packages for your little adventurer. 

  • A great venue for large group outings, corporate parties, and team-building events.

  • APUSA is conveniently located just off of route 70 in Monrovia, MD. They are just minutes from New Market, downtown Frederick, and Mt. Airy. There is plenty of onsite parking.

  • New and improved prize redemption area, with great gifts even mom and dad will want to play for. 

  • A massive indoor space with lots of indoor activities and an arcade filled with the best games in the business.

  • A host of upcoming family-friendly events including the Fall Festiv-ALL and “Not so scary Halloween Party”

Fall is finally here! Who among us doesn’t enjoy the beauty of the changing leaves and the crisp autumnal weather? Perhaps you’ve already started to anticipate your favorite fall traditions; from hayrides and pumpkin picking to apple cider and night-time bonfires. These experiences are what keep us coming back for more year after year. Why not recreate those ever-important memories and lasting traditions with your loved ones at APUSA? 2019 marks Adventure Park USA’s first-ever Fall-Festiv-ALL which runs from September 27th through October 31st. 

The folks at APUSA love your favorite fall traditions just as much as you do! In fact, they have been planning, designing and building this very special event for over a year. Each attraction is lovingly created and hand-built by a team of hard-working individuals. I was able to speak with the team “Imagineer” Bill Watson about his contribution to this unprecedented achievement. 

What is your favorite fall festival tradition?

Searching for the perfect pumpkin… Not too big or small. Perfect coloring and ready to carve my creations into.

What was your role in the planning/design of the festival? 

I worked for weeks preparing for the festival. Developing attraction ideas and creating the look for our advertising and decorations.

What was your favorite thing to work on?

Creating unique characters to bring life and whimsy to the event. 

What exhibit are your children most excited about?

The excavators. It’s all about the excavators.

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As you can see, it’s been a true labor of love.

As the Fall-Festiv-ALL comes to a close, Adventure Park USA is throwing its eighth annual “Not So Scary” Halloween Party! The event takes place from 6 to 9 PM on October 26th. Dress in your best costume and bring your friends and family to join in on the celebration! Festivities will include a DJ, games, prizes, a meal voucher, trick or treating, a surprise visit by some special guests, and much more. Guests who purchase passes online will receive 1-hour early access to the event, and arcade credits. 

 Weather permitting, Adventure Park USA will be keeping the outdoor rides open longer than ever this year. This November and December, check our website for updates on your favorite outside amusements. There are plenty of family-friendly attractions, including the Blazing Trail Go-Karts, the SkyRaceRoad-Runner Scrambler, or carnival favorite: the Tiltawhirl!  Get an adrenaline boost on the thrilling Skycoaster, or one of two exiting roller-coasters: the Wild West Express and the Wild Cat. For the little ones, they have the Crazy Cactusa Carousel, and the Teacups. There’s even a kiddie coaster: the Tumbleweed! And don’t forget that APUSA boasts the only Mini-Golf in Frederick, MD! With two challenging courses; Dry Gulch and Thunderin’ Falls, your family will bond and build memories together with this classic pastime. Don’t worry, there is still plenty of fun to be had at Adventure Park USA, even when it’s cold outside. We have an amazing indoor theme park to keep you and the kids busy all winter long. Outdoor amusements will open again for the Spring/ Summer season on April 1st, 2020.

 Veterans Appreciation Weekend

November 9th through the 11th. Adventure Park USA is proud to be a veteran-owned business, and we want to give back to the fine men and women who serve our great country. This Veteran’s Day weekend, present a valid military id at check-out for a FREE indoor Fun Pass. It’s our way of saying thank you for all that you do. 

 Santa and Friends Breakfast

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The holidays are quickly approaching, and we want you to share in the joy of the season with us! This December 14th, we will be having not one, but two chances to have breakfast with Santa and his friends! The first breakfast will be from 7:30-9:30 AM, and the second begins at 9:30 AM and ends at 11:30 AM. Don’t forget to bring your Christmas lists. There will be a special appearance by our favorite winter princesses! Space is limited for this event, so please reserve your spot today. And don’t forget that our gift cards are the perfect present for anyone on your list. 

Family New Year’s Eve Celebration 

December 31st, 2019 from 9 PM to 12:30 AM. Make this New Year’s Eve a night to remember at Adventure Park USA!  Bring your friends and loved one out for an evening filled with family-friendly fun. Festivities begin at 9 PM and last until 12:30 AM. Space is limited, so please reserve your space today.

“I want to have someplace to play in the wintertime. You know when you’re out and about during the bad months, when it’s raining or just not nice weather, you can come to Adventure Park and play. No one wants to be cooped up when it’s nasty outside. We have a great place to come and have a blast indoors.” -Erik Stottlemyer (CEO of APUSA) 

As the beautiful fall weather fades to the colder winter months, you may find yourself looking for some fun indoor things to do with your kids. No one wants to be stuck inside with a houseful of grumpy children. If you’re looking for an indoor venue with plenty of space and physically active amenities that can accommodate your crew, APUSA has got you covered!  

Working families have a lot on their plates. Maybe you feel overwhelmed by the insane amount of responsibilities you have, from organizing your children’s schedules, to helping with homework, volunteering, and household chores. Sometimes you may find it difficult to find the time to let go and have fun with your family. Deep inside you know that it’s important to let those worries go and be present at the moment, especially when it comes to spending time with your children.

As a parent, you want your children to engage their brains and their bodies. You know that getting your kids to move will not only put them in a better mood, but it will also allow them to burn off some of that pent-up energy.  Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to let go of all of your daily tasks and just play with your children? Adventure Park USA offers a truly unique experience that everyone in your family can enjoy ( even mom). Let’s take a look at what Adventure Park USA has to offer your family on a rainy or snowy day.

 West World Laser Tag

The Stottlemyer family worked together to build this classic family fame. Adults and kids alike will love pretending to be cowboys and cowgirls as they race through an old western town. It’s red vs. blue in West World Laser Tag. Why not build lasting memories by making laser tag a weekly family tradition?

Hologate Virtual Reality

Immerse your senses in Adventure Park USA’s Hologate Virtual Reality. This futuristic attraction is regularly updated with the latest games and VR technology.  It’s great for a family of four that wants to try something new. 

Spin Zone Bumper Cars

Remember the bumper cars from when you were a kid? It’s an amusement park staple. Your children will have a blast with this nostalgic ride. Kids love the autonomy of being able to drive a car on their own, plus the cars spin around every time they get bumped! 

Rustler’s Ridge Rock Wall

Kids love to climb. Give them a chance to do it safely. Rock climbing is a great way to help your child improve their physical fitness. Climbing is a great way for kids to build their upper body strength and coordination. Nothing feels better than getting to the top of the wall, and knowing that you were able to do it all on your own. It’ll be a great boost to their self-esteem.

 Hang ‘em High Ropes Course

Harness yourself in for fun! This indoor ropes course offers family members a unique physical challenge. Put on the safety vest and climb the thirteen feet to the top. Help kids improve their balance, coordination, and self-esteem. Even mom and dad can join in. What a rush!

Stampede Arcade

The Stampede Arcade will be a wonderful blast from the past for today’s parents. From the classic Space-Invaders to the height of modern gaming technology with Hologate Virtual Reality; there are a ton of options to choose from. Find a favorite game that Dad can teach the kids how to play. RFID wristbands have been implemented to replace Fun-Pass cards. Guests will be able to track and reload their arcade credits online for an affordable price.

Research shows that playing arcade games together as a family can actually be beneficial for your child’s development. Plus, you get to bond with your family, while you’re having a blast in the Arcade!  Everyone in the family can compete to win credits towards a host of great prizes in the prize redemption area. Everyone in the family is sure to find an item that they want to take home. So why not enjoy the classics like Space Invaders or Air Hockey.

After a few hours of lively competition in the arcade, you and your kids have probably worked up quite an appetite. Take a walk over to the Chuck-Wagon Cafe for some delicious snacks to fuel you up for more family playtime! 

The Chuck Wagon Cafe

The cafe offers all of your kid’s favorites including chicken tenders, wings, hotdogs, french fries, and pizza. Enjoy some sweet treats such as funnel cake fries, Dippin Dots, cookies, brownies, cinnamon buns, and cotton candy. Quench your thirst with a Pepsi or a flavored Icee. You will be impressed by the friendly and helpful staff. But that’s not all, this fall, Adventure Park USA will be adding spirits to their cafe menu. Yes, that’s right, mom and dad can finally sit back and relax with your favorite frosty brew or wine.

The prize redemption center will be getting a massive overhaul with plans to add lots of big-ticket items like kayaks and flat-screen TV’s. Now even the adults can play to win something they will enjoy.

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As you can see, Adventure Park USA has a lot to offer the people of Frederick County and beyond. With excellent indoor amenities, birthday party packages, accommodations for school field trips and group events, and excellent family events, what more could you ask for? Plan your visit to Adventure Park USA today.

This fall and winter, make time for family at APUSA!

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The Best Family Entertainment in Maryland

No one wants to be stuck inside on bad-weather days, especially if you have young children. The kids need to burn off some of that boundless energy, but mom and dad want to have some fun too. If you live in Frederick, Mt. Airy or New Market, it can be a challenge to find indoor activities that will appeal to adults and children alike. Does such a place exist? Yes, there is! Adventure Park USA (APUSA) is Maryland’s only true Family Entertainment Center. It’s truly a place where families can play together. Take a look at some of their offerings:

 Parents are always looking for active, educational and hands-on ways for their children to engage with the world around them. As the season’s change, finding facilities with enough space can be a challenge. Luckily, Frederick county has some locally owned family-centered places to take your kids on those bad weather days. I spoke to Ellen Pryzbocki of The Orginal Playhouse in New Market, and Joe Said of Spinners Pinball Arcade in Frederick about what makes them unique.

Interview Spotlight: Ellen Pryzbocki of The Original Playhouse in New Market

Tell me a little about yourself and the idea behind The Original Playhouse?

EP: I was a special education and reading intervention teacher with FCPS for 17 years. In the fall of that 17th year, I took my daughter to a children’s museum in Gettysburg and fell in love with everything about it. Being surrounded by giggling kids playing in a space free of technology really spoke to me. I left with a voice in my head telling me to open something similar in Frederick and a year later, the fall of 2013, The Original Playhouse opened its doors. My family has since moved to the area from downtown Frederick, and we love the east side of Frederick County and its surrounding areas.

What kinds of birthday party offerings do you have?

EP: We offer two options. The first is to have a private party and the entire Playhouse is open exclusively to the birthday child’s family and friends. These are 2 hours long and run Friday early evening, all day Saturday, and Sunday mornings. Most birthday kids are between the ages of 4 and 7, but we’re starting to get some younger and older kids. The second option is for smaller groups and runs during our open hours. The birthday child’s family and friends have 2 hours at the Playhouse while we remain open to the public. Our parties are a huge hit in the area and the most frequent feedback I hear from moms is how easy it is to celebrate a birthday at the Playhouse, and how much their kids loved it. There’s pretty much something for every type of child.

What do you love most about your job?

EP: I have met the coolest families since opening the Playhouse and that’s probably the best part about having this business, getting to know this community on a personal level and watching so many kids grow up at the Playhouse. I didn’t realize that was going to be a part of owning a small business and it’s definitely a gift I hadn’t considered.

Do you have any special classes or events?

EP: We have monthly thematic parties that are posted on our website and Facebook events page. Our Parents’ Night Out is the 4th Friday of every month for kids 4 and above. Parents who choose to dine next door to Vintage get a free dessert with their dinner. Check out our Facebook events page for more details about her upcoming events.

Interview Spotlight: Joe Said of Spinners Pinball EDU Center

What inspired you to start Spinner’s pinball arcade?

JS: I am a certified Autism specialist by the IBCCES and have an extensive background in assistive technology. I’ve been a pinball fanatic for most of my adult life and was inspired to open Spinners Pinball Arcade a Pinball EDU center after witnessing how pinball has changed people’s lives (like Robert Gagno from the movie, Wizard Mode). I believe that pinball and other gaming can positively impact children, adults, and families in a profound way. I want to see inclusive community centers like Spinners open up across the country. 

What are your favorite games to play?

JS: Although it’s always exciting to see the newest and shiniest pinball machines out on the scene today, vintage pinball machines have such uniqueness and challenge to them that continues to inspire. 

Tell me about your birthday party offerings. Do you have birthday party packages? What’s included in a birthday party package?

JS: Spinners pinball arcade has become a favorite destination of birthday parties for kids and adults alike. We offer both private and public options for parties. Public parties offer the entire space during our hours of operation with an option to add the use of our private party room while our private party option allows guests to take over our entire pinball arcade during off-hours.  

Do you have any regular family events?

JS: We host a weekly pinball league (Thursdays at 8 PM) for all ages and skill levels, and every Sunday we welcome volunteers into the space to help restore games and learn a bit more about Pinball EDU and our mission.  

Both the Original Playhouse and Spinners Pinball Arcade offer a distinctive experience for families in New Market, Frederick and Mt. Airy. They are just part of the intricate mosaic of locally-owned venues that make Frederick county such a great place to live. APUSA believes in supporting local businesses and non-profit organizations because they got their start as a small family-run franchise called Frederick Putt-Putt Golf and Games. The owners take pride in being part of the Frederick community for nearly 40 years. 

As Maryland’s only Family Entertainment Center, APUSA is truly one of a kind. Let’s take an in-depth look at the kind of offerings that set them apart from other similar venues.

Events:

Beginning November 1st, we will be entering the “Winter of Awesome” here at Adventure Park USA! As the holidays roll around, there are plenty of family-friendly activities to help you ring in the season. On December 14th, bring your kids out for a Santa and Friends Breakfast! Elsa and Ana will be on hand to take pictures and hang out with Santa. There is also a fantastic Family New Year’s Eve Party on December 31st from 9 PM to 12:30 AM. Space is limited for these events, so make sure to grab your tickets ahead of time. 

Birthday Parties

Looking for a great place in Frederick for your child’s next birthday party? Do you need a venue that is both easy and affordable? We’ve got you covered! With plenty of exciting indoor and outdoor attractions, customizable birthday party packages, spacious party rooms, and attentive staff; APUSA is truly the area’s premier place for your next celebration or event.  Booking and planning your event is a cinch, just go online and reserve your date today.

Adventure Park Academy

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The Adventure Park Academy is an accredited preschool and childcare provider. The wonderful staff provides a family-like environment for your child to learn and grow. Play-based learning is the heart of their child-focused curriculum. Hands-on activities are used to encourage fine and gross motor skills. Before and aftercare are also available for working families. Click here for more information. 

Summer camp

With Camp Adventure at APUSA, your child will have the best summer ever! Your camper will have access to daily amusement park rides such as Crater Lake Bumper BoatsBlazing Trail Go-Karts, the Wild West Express, and Wild Cat roller coasters and so much more. If it’s a rainy day, there are plenty of hands-on attractions such as West World Laser TagSpin Zone Bumper CarsHang ‘em High Ropes Course and Rustler’s Ridge Rock Wall will keep your kid physically active. Weekly themes such as: “Let’s Experiment” which is a STEM-based week filled with hands-on experiments, and “Adventure Park’s got talent” where children can get in touch with their inner performer. 

Groups

APUSA wants to be the venue for your next group event. With affordable pricing, friendly staff, and plenty of space, APUSA is the perfect place for your next group event. In fact, people of all ages love the exuberant and joyful atmosphere that the park provides. Many groups are so pleased with their experience, that they return to the park for their summer camps or field trips year after year. Andrea from Hayfield Secondary School has already written in to book her party for next year;

 “I wanted to follow up with you regarding reserving the date for 2020. We would like to reserve Friday, June 5, 2020, for the next Party for Hayfield!  And everyone had the most fabulous time!!!!”

Perhaps you’re looking for a venue for your next team building or corporate event. APUSA provides you with the kind of enjoyable experience that you can’t find anywhere else. In fact, many groups continue to come back year after year by an employee or member request.

Here are just a few reasons why you should choose APUSA for your next large group outing:

  • A convenient location right off of route 70, minutes away from Downtown Frederick, which is only an hour from Baltimore and the Metro Washington D.C. area. 

  • Special group pricing and customizable event packages.

  •  A massive outdoor pavilion that seats up to 200 people. 

  • Catering options to feed your hungry crew. 

  • Thrilling amusements and activities that everyone will love. 

  • Ample space to accommodate banquet, classroom and reception style engagements, plus AV equipment is available. 

  • Go online to book your next event now.

“I want to have someplace to play in the wintertime. You know when you’re out and about during the bad months, when it’s raining or just not nice weather, you can come to Adventure Park and play. No one wants to be cooped up when it’s nasty outside. We have a great place to come and have a blast indoors.” -Erik Stottlemyer (CEO of APUSA)

Winter is coming, and that means snow days and nasty weather. Eventually, everyone in the house is going to get sick and tired of being cooped up inside. When the cabin fever hits, plan a trip to Adventure Park USA for the area’s best and most eclectic family entertainment center. In fact, they have some exciting changes planned!

RFID wristbands will be implemented to replace the current reloadable Fun-Pass cards. Guests will be able to track and reload their arcade credits online. The prize redemption center will be getting a massive overhaul with plans to add lots of big-ticket items like kayaks and flat-screen TV’s. Now even the adults can play to win something that they will enjoy. Plus, later this Fall APUSA will be adding beer and wine to their menu.

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As you can see, Adventure Park USA has a lot to offer the people of Frederick County and beyond. With excellent indoor and outdoor amenities, birthday party packages, accommodations for school field trips and group events, excellent childcare options and summer camp, what more could you ask for? Plan your visit to Adventure Park USA today.

Adventure Park USA wants you to be part of our family! Become a VIP and be eligible for special promotions and a regular 10% discount! Follow us on Twitter and Instagram. Be sure to check out our Facebook page for information on upcoming events, videos, photos and more! 

Bethany Good is a freelance writer, a mom to two highly energetic elementary-aged children, and the owner of The Good Writing Company. She hails from New Market, MD.