Two Parks’ Journey to Becoming Unforgettable Destinations
by Barry Zelickson
Welcome back to Fun Across America where we explore the fascinating stories behind extraordinary entertainment facilities. In this edition, we delve into the captivating evolution of Par-King Skill Golf and Tom Foolery Adventure Park, two remarkable parks that have become renowned destinations for fun-seekers nationwide. Join host Nate Reinhart as he uncovers the intriguing narratives behind these establishments, their transformations over time and the exceptional experiences they offer to visitors. Don’t forget to check out our exclusive footage of these parks at www.youtube.com/ @funacrossamerica.
Par-King Skill Golf – Lincolnshire, IL
As you journey down the road, it’s impossible to miss the vibrant pink castle, an unmistakable symbol that you’re approaching Par-King Skill Golf. George Boznos, the operator and son of one of the original founders, proudly declares, “Everyone knows us as the place with the pink castle.”
The story of Par-King began in the late 1950s when three brothers came together to establish a driving range named 4G Fairways, an acronym for Georges’ Gorgeous Golfing Garden. To cater to the children of the adult golfers, they added a small mini-golf course at the far end of the property. By the 1960s, this course had garnered recognition as “Mini-golf’s Taj Mahal,” acclaimed by the industry’s leading trade magazine as the nation’s most elaborate 18-hole mini-golf course.
Originally located in Morton’s Grove, Ill., Par-King moved to its current home in Lincolnshire. Today, it boasts two 18-hole mini-golf courses, featuring 19 moving obstacles and seven watering holes, and provides a fun and challenging experience for all. Among the many custom-built and unique holes, two have stood the test of time and still stand since the original course: the iconic clown hole and the Humpty Dumpty hole.
Boznos explains that the entire facility is disassembled each season, presenting a blank canvas for innovation. This allows them to periodically introduce cutting-edge elements or seek out vintage designs, ensuring the course remains fresh and captivating.
Par-King’s evolution into a beloved landmark destination is evident from the countless heartwarming stories shared by visitors. Boznos fondly recalls, “I can’t tell you how many grandparents come in with their grandkids, recounting the tale of their first date here 50 years ago. Now, they are introducing it to their grandkids, who may someday have their first dates here. Par-King is truly a place where cherished memories are made.
Tom Foolery Adventure Park – Wisconsin Dells, WI
Talking to Cary Brandt about Tom Foolery Adventure Park is an enchanting experience. When tasked with creating an identity for the Kalahari Resorts and Conventions indoor theme park, Brandt decided to bring his comic book character, Tom Foolery, to life. Thus, Tom Foolery Adventure Park was born.
In the story, Brandt says, “Tom Foolery and his family embark on adventures around the world, and Tom Foolery’s Adventure Park is where they share their treasures with guests, enabling them to experience the amazing discoveries they’ve made over the years.”
Tom Foolery Adventure Park offers an impressive array of attractions, including laser tag, bowling, an elevated go-kart track, a thrilling ropes course with a zip line and multiple amusement rides, including a roller coaster. It also boasts around 200 arcade games, redemption store and specialty attractions catering to young children, such as a carousel and a ropes course called the little Toucan Climb. To enhance the overall experience, the park also prides itself on its delectable food and beverage offerings.
What sets Tom Foolery Adventure Park apart is its constant drive for innovation and reinvention. Brandt emphasizes, “We strive to ensure that each time you return, there are new and exciting experiences awaiting you, making it an adventure unlike any other.” Embracing cutting edge technologies, such as virtual reality and augmented reality, is an integral part of their strategy to deliver captivating narratives and immerse visitors in thrilling tales.
The parks’ affiliation with the Kalahari Resort and Conventions adds another layer of enchantment. Visitors can not only enjoy a day of play but can also extend their experience by staying at the resort and indulging in a super-fun vacation, complete with access to the onsite water park. Tom Foolery seamlessly blends with the resort’s offerings, ensuring guests have a truly memorable and all-encompassing getaway.
The journeys of these entertainment facilities highlight their remarkable evolution into beloved and iconic destinations. Par-King’s captivating history, coupled with its commitment to constantly reinventing itself, has allowed it to remain a place where memories are cherished and passed down through generations.
Tom Foolery Adventure Park’s imaginative concept, combined with its dedication to embracing new technologies and creating ever-changing experiences, has solidified its reputation as a thrilling adventure hub within the Kalahari Resort and Conventions.
These parks stand as a testament to the enduring power of fun and play. They exemplify how the pursuit of innovation, coupled with a commitment to delivering exceptional experiences, can transform ordinary places into extraordinary ones. Whether you find yourself at Par-King Skill Golf or Tom Foolery Adventure Park, one thing is certain: you’ll embark on a journey that transcends the boundaries of time, creating memories that will last a lifetime. So, come and explore the evolution of fun at these remarkable destinations, where the magic of play awaits you at every turn, whether it’s through our YouTube videos or in real life.
Barry Zelickson, is the co-creator of Fun Across America, a YouTube channel travelogue show. Zelickson has worked in the entertainment field for almost 30 years and has been awarded several IAAPA Brass Ring awards including one of the association’s highest honors, Family Entertainment Center of the World. His other projects include commercials, infomercials, feature films, documentaries, live events and entertainment centers.
Nate Reinhart, host and co-creator of Fun Across America, is a content creator for NalterDeeds and NalterCards on YouTube and content consultant for creators and businesses alike. After a shoutout from MrBeast, Nate has accumulated over 250,000 subscribers on his YouTube channels.