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Day Out at Freedom Springs June 27, 2017

Posted by Kenny Norman in south.
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So right before my 4th of July Party, Lauren texted me and asked me what I was doing the day after the party. I had initially planned to go with Bridget to Splash Island in Plainfield, but Lauren then told me about Freedom Springs in Greenwood. She said it was supposed to be built to compete with Splash Island. Naturally, I was immediately intrigued and decided to check it out. Bridget got sick at the last minute, so Lauren was thoughtful enough to invite Nathan to come with us, and I’m glad she did. We got there at 1:10 and paid $10 to get in, which wasn’t bad. There was also an option to get a 10-time pass for $50, but I didn’t know how often we’d use it, so I didn’t get it. Freedom Springs seemed a little smaller than Splash Island in terms of square footage, but it had most of the same features: three water slides, a lazy river, a rope climbing area, and an olympic-size pool. One of the slides even required tubes to go down, and you could go down in single or double tubes. It did bother me that I wasn’t allowed to wear my goggles on the water slides, though; Splash Island doesn’t mind if I do that. Also, the slides at Freedom Springs are bigger, longer, and faster than the ones at Splash Island are. For most people, that’s a plus, but it’s a bit too big, long, and fast for me, so I prefer the slides at Splash Island.

That said, I liked the lazy river a lot better at Freedom Springs. It had a more even current and a better layout. The pool was about the same at both places; still, I was impressed by the decent size. And I like how you can see everything about the place, as well as the surrounding area, from the top of the slides. The staff was very helpful, polite, and attentive, even though we didn’t require much help from them. The bathrooms were also clean and well maintained, and the whole place is a giant rectangle, so it’s easy to navigate. We did the slides a lot. I first tried the tube slide with Lauren. She liked to go in the back because it was faster there; I liked to go in the front because it was slower there. The inside of the slide was oddly heated. We flipped over as we headed out and water was lodged deep in my ear. It took me a while to get it out! We took turns on the slides for a while, trying both the body slides and the tube slides. The body slides came in red and blue. Red was covered and went faster, while blue was open to the sunlight and went a little slower. I preferred blue. Nathan and I headed to the lazy river. When we saw Lauren was still on the slides, which she openly admits are her favorite feature of Freedom Springs, Nathan quickly got out of the lazy river and went up the slide. I joined him. Lauren and I did one last joint ride on the tube slide and then I did one last run on the blue body slide before Freedom Springs closed at 6:00. We got changed and left around 6:05. Overall, I really enjoyed Freedom Springs. It was a nice place and I’d go back there again.

Game night at Rascal’s Fun Zone June 21, 2017

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For one of our most recent game nights, the lady in charge planned a trip to Rascal’s Fun Zone in Whiteland. That’s a bit far for me, so I carpooled with her and everyone else met us there. It was honestly worth the trip! The place had a large indoor electric go-kart tracks and a decent-sized arcade as well! Outside there were bumper boats, two courses of mini-golf, and two go-kart tracks. There’s enough for a second run here. I hope we make one. We didn’t have time to do everything here, so we started with the outdoor stuff…for all I know, the next time we go to Rascal’s, it may be cold.

Scott, John, Nathan, and I did a round of mini-golf. We did that first because the sun was setting and light matters more in mini-golf than it does in go-karting. The course was fairly straightforward and easy to follow, though I would have preferred signs and numbers near the holes. It wasn’t super difficult to get a par 3 or 4, but it was just difficult enough that it wouldn’t be easy, if that makes any sense. Scott and John were very close, but Scott barely won. Also, those two and I all got a hole in one at some point! The staff gave us suckers for competing. Major points to the employees, by the way. They were very competent and efficient. They knew everything about the facility that we needed to know, and they ran the place very smoothly. We didn’t wait in long lines, have any problems, or have any malfunctioning machines. Also, the building was INCREDIBLY clean…much cleaner than I would have expected for this type of facility. Next, we tried both go-kart tracks. One was a large loop, and one was a whole two-level figure-8 track. We did the loop first. I didn’t find that one as fun, but the carts ran smoothly, the track was slick, and the employees kept a watchful eye to unjam my friends when a few of them collided and spun around. Next was the two-level figure-8 track. I found that MUCH more enjoyable.

I got one of the lead cars and I easily overtook the two guys in front of me. I also did the same to the guy in last place. My friends say I got the best car of the bunch. They also say I drove like a maniac, which, considering I learned that from them the last time we went go-karting, I took as a compliment. After that, it was 10:00 and the place closed at 10:30. We played a few arcade games, most notably skee ball and Deal or No Deal. It was odd how the skee ball machines calculated points differently. Scott got a higher score than I did, but somehow he got fewer tickets. Nathan and I played Deal or No Deal. He kinda got screwed by not taking the deal at the end and opening a personal case of very few tickets. I did the opposite- I took the deal at the end of 75 tickets, but my personal case had 100 tickets. There were several other arcade games available that looked interesting, including duckpin bowling, but we were nearly out of time. About the only thing I didn’t like was that it was hard to get a decent prize for only 122 tickets. I feel like my tickets went further at Greatimes or Dave & Busters. Oh well. I split the candy I won with the guys as a thank you for a great night. We even had time to do a few games at the lady in charge’s house after Rascal’s closed! Overall, I like Greatimes a bit more, but I’d do Rascal’s again. I hope we can do so before summer ends, or at least before it gets cold outside.

Zip City trip March 14, 2017

Posted by Kenny Norman in south.
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About a month ago, upon my return from Florida, one of the ladies at work mentioned this place on the South Side that had a bunch of stuff to do. I told my friends about it, and last week, Lauren said we should go there this past weekend. I was especially excited, as I hadn’t seen Lauren since the Christmas Party. I got off work a little bit early, but because I had to get gas on the way home, meet Lauren at my house, and then go all the way across town, we didn’t get there until 5:20. Unfortunately, the catch of Zip City’s three-hour package is that the activities start on the hour. (Luckily, we snuck in a few zip line rides at the end until 8:20!) There was a lot to do there, and Lauren got a $10 off student discount! Also, Zip City is cheaper than Sky Zone is, and there’s SO much more to do. There were zip lines, trampolines, rock climbing walls, an arcade, a laser tag arena, and a soccer field, though we only did the first three. The trampolines were fun, though we took a break after our first run at that. We then headed to the zip lines, where, admittedly, we spent most of our time. We kept saying we should try the other things, but we kept going back to the zip lines. They were the best part of the place! Unlike the zip lines at Go Ape, which let you crash into mulch when you land, the zip lines here let you slowly decelerate. After a while, we went back to the trampolines one more time, and then we tried out the rock climbing wall. I hadn’t rock climbed in a while, but the walls at Zip City were easier than the ones at Climb Time! I made it all the way to the top, and instead of having to rely on a spotter, I just let go and the harness let me down. Lauren only got about 6 feet off the ground, but she did better than the last time we were at Climb Time. With rock climbing, you have to lead with your arms and have upper body strength. Admittedly, I used to do pull-ups and other upper body exercises in karate. We then went to the zip lines one last time. The guy getting us harnesses put them on us and he said all this up and down stairs is too much for him because he’s “getting old.” We asked him how old he was and he said he JUST turned 19. We laughed, and this guy thought we were both 21-22. Lauren turned 25 in December, and I’ll be 28 by the end of March. Zip City had so many things to do, and given the price, which is quite reasonable for the amount of activities involved, I can safely say we’ll be back there again soon!

Rides and dinner September 15, 2016

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Tonight, September 14, I had a wonderful night out. I skipped the usual comic-and-errands-up-Keystone Wednesday night, largely because I ran all but one (comics) of my errands last night. Instead, I went to the Beech Grove Fall Festival and had dinner at Cheeseburger in Paradise. We originally wanted to go to Ponderosa, but a) we were running a bit late after a long day at work and b) we had a $10 off coupon to Cheeseburger in Paradise in the zoobook.

The Beech Grove Fall Festival was fun! I arrived there at 8:12 and stayed for half an hour. I saw my former job’s old building and it’s STILL vacant, just like it was at last year’s Fall Festival. I remember when the Southside Times was still at 301 Main Street and that street was my stomping grounds. I would get several sandwiches from the Beech Grove Meat Market. That place is now closed, vacant, and a giant hole is in their roof with a mess on the floor.

While at the Fall Festival, I shot off a BB machine gun….I am NOT a good shot. Let’s just say that if the star on the paper were a person, there’d be no chance of a mercy kill. Quite the opposite. On a less morbid note, I had a wonderful time riding the ferris wheel! It was a nice, long ride, and a wonderful photo op. I did see a Scrambler off in the distance with its lights out, and I was really hoping I could ride it. (I later found out a teen got injured on the ride earlier that day.) I also smelled a wonderful smell from one of the food booths…an “Oriental Grill.” The chicken kabobs were amazing, but my dad decided not to eat those because we were headed to dinner after I got off the ferris wheel. And it’s a good thing he had cash, because the ticket booth for the ferris wheel was cash only!

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Cheeseburger in Paradise was a blast! We sat inside because it was suspiciously windy outside. (Spoiler alert: no storm arrived. We could have sat outside.) We had a nice waitress named Taylor, who was even more attentive and energetic than our last waitress, Jess, was! She was so skilled at juggling hot plates and attentive at checking back for refills. Seeing how I had a $10 off coupon, instead of getting citrus chicken, I got the BBQ trio instead- ribs, grilled chicken, and chicken tenders, complete with sides of french fries and broccoli. It was amazingly sweet, rich, and flavorful, and thankfully not spicy! Taylor even offered to go drinks, so I boosted her tip. I later found out that was the chain’s original restaurant. Seeing how I have two more coupons I need to use before December 1, I’ll go back again!

There’s so much at Emerson & Southport: Carrabas, Cheeseburger in Paradise, Longhorn Steakhouse, Scotty’s Brewhouse, Bob Evans, Sky Zone, a SuperTarget…I could build a night out with what they have there, and I may do just that next time I go to Cheeseburger in Paradise!

All in all, a great night. Though I still haven’t picked up this week’s comics.

Two tickets to Cheeseburger in Paradise September 4, 2016

Posted by Kenny Norman in south.
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I had a GREAT dinner tonight at Cheeseburger in Paradise! I had never been there, mainly because I am rarely at Southport & Emerson. This is the last Cheeseburger in Paradise in Indiana, as the 96th street one closed a while back. We got there and saw that the garage doors were opened up and they had outdoor seating, which we immediately opted to get. I saw THREE menu entrees I wanted to try before I even hit the cheeseburger page. And for the first time I can remember, I ordered off the menu with NO modifications! Our server, Jess, could relate to that feeling. She was so nice and personable, and she was quick removing plates and bringing refills. I had the citrus chicken with their island rice and teriyaki broccoli. The entree also came with a lime and an orange. They had better chicken than BJ’s, better broccoli than MCL, and better rice than Red Lobster! Jess asked if we wanted dessert, but we declined because we had a few soft drinks that day. Their food was on par with Yard House and better than BJ’s. And I’m definitely going back there again.
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Goodbye, South Side Ryan’s March 13, 2016

Posted by Kenny Norman in news, south.
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Four years ago, when Old Country Buffet closed, I fled to Ponderosa. Tonight, March 13, 2016, as Ryan’s closed, I did the same thing. I can’t believe it. The last Ryan’s in Indianapolis is closed! I’m upset tonight. Fourth restaurant I’ve lost this year so far! The west side one at 35th & Lafayette Road closed in (I think) 1996, the north side one at 65th & Keystone closed in (I think) October 1999, and the east side one at 10th & Shadeland closed on (I know) January 7, 2015. I was hoping the south side one would stick around, as they had a decent clientele and the employees were friendly and kept the place fairly clean.The signs were still on, the restaurant was fully furnished, and the door was only locked from the outside. I’m willing to bet this happened recently, and because one of my friends said she ate there last weekend, I think I’m onto something. Their parent company, Ovation Brands, has filed for bankruptcy three times since 2008, taking a restaurant with them each time. The first time, January 19, 2012, they took the south side Old Country Buffet. The second time, on January 7, 2015, they took the east side Ryan’s. This left the south side Ryan’s as the last Ovation Brands property in Indianapolis. Now, I look on Ovation Brands’ website, and their only property left in the state is the Old Country Buffet in Highland. There are no more Ryan’s in Indiana.

More info here.

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A good time at Greatimes November 28, 2014

Posted by Kenny Norman in east, south.
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Greatimes (8) - Copy Greatimes (1) - Copy Greatimes (7) - Copy

 

Greatimes is on Indianapolis’ southeast side off I-465 & Emerson on Elmwood Avenue. Greatimes is owned by Royal Pin, who owns four bowling alleys in town, including Expo Bowl next door. Greatimes is a Family Fun Center with an indoor section and an outdoor section. The indoor section is mainly a two-level arcade with party rooms, as well as an indoor playground for the kids. There’s also a pizza bar in the corner. The outdoor section is a bit more for teens and young adults, with go-karts, mini-golf, and bumper boats. Kids having parties get a t-shirt, pizza, tokens, and other prize packages, including two hours in the party room. I would recommend this place for a birthday party for ages 8 to 15. I’d been going here since my 11th Birthday in 2000, and throughout the years, I’ve moved from the indoor section to the outdoor section. That said, Greatimes has a wide variety of arcade games, including motorcycle games, air hockey, skee ball, shooting games, basketball games, and even bowling games. The facility is very colorful, has two levels, and stuffed animals are strung up to and from the center desk. The staff here prides themselves on great customer service and will bend over backwards to accommodate guests who have been shortchanged. The bumper boats and mini-golf were fun, though there was nothing special, unique, or intriguing about them. I considered the go-karts the highlight of the place, and I think most of the population agrees, judging by the sometimes hour-long line to get in. Most of the other attractions barely have lines. The go-kart track is very windy and full of turns, and stoplights are placed to tell riders when only one lap remains. Single and double carts are available if couples would like to ride together or race each other. However, as I said, be prepared for a wait, especially on a weekend afternoon. Greatimes, though, is worth the drive. Though kids may get the most mileage, there’s something for everyone here.

Fountain Square offers new twist on old game November 26, 2014

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Duckpin Bowling is an older style of bowling with a smaller ball. I went to a Duckpin Bowling alley in the basement of the Fountain Square Theatre Building for my 25th Birthday. The pricing is done per hour, not per game, and it’s $30 per hour. A maximum of six people may play per lane, so for six people to play two hours, it would be $10 apiece, which is roughly the same price as modern bowling alleys, such as Woodland Bowl. The staff there mainly stays by the counter and lets the guests do what they will, but they were nice enough to take our picture and let us pose with the decorative trophies on the walls. The Fountain Square Duckpin Bowling Alley only has a few lanes, so reservations are required. Parking is available in a nearby lot by a Family Dollar, so there will be a bit of walking and crossing streets. I would recommend this activity for a party planned well in advance. I personally prefer the more modern bowling alleys, but Duckpin Bowling was an intriguing twist on a frequently-played game and it was a nice change of pace. I’d go back there again.

Red Robin: My favorite burger November 17, 2014

Posted by Kenny Norman in north, south.
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Red Robin- West Carmel Marketplace (1) - Copy Red Robin- Clay Terrace (7) - Copy Red Robin- Metropolis (3) - Copy Red Robin- Hamilton Town Center (7) - CopyRed Robin often uses the tagline “gourmet burgers.” Generally, I would be suspicious of a place that boasts about their own food, but I have to admit, Red Robin has the best burgers I have ever had…and I truly mean “ever.” I don’t find the meat too greasy or oily. It’s cooked as the customer likes it, from medium rare to well-done. (I usually get my burgers cooked medium well.) There are a variety of burgers available, from a banzai burger that has teriyaki and pineapple to the classic bacon cheeseburger. And, of course, they have their regular Red’s Tavern Double burger as well. The menu also includes bottomless fries. The fries are refilled as often as the drinks are. A few of their other entrees are also bottomless, including, surprisingly, the broccoli. For those diners who factor in the décor, the inside is casual, modern, and just a little bit nostalgic, with signs and posters dating back to Red Robin’s beginnings. The burgers range from $8-13, so I would consider it affordable, but not entirely cheap. There aren’t any technically in Indianapolis, though there are four locations in the suburbs. There’s one in Noblesville at Hamilton Town Center, one in Plainfield across from Metropolis, and two in Carmel: one farther due north at Clay Terrace and one just outside Indy northwest at 98th & Michigan. The staff here is also very friendly, advertising their specials, including certain promotions, and they happily accommodate any of their guests’ seating or dining preferences. Overall, I would say Red Robin is worth the extra few dollars more than a standard burger joint.

$43 for $7 December 27, 2013

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Old Navy- Greenwood Park Mall (12)

On December 14, I went with Kate to Greenwood Park Mall. After visiting Aeropostale, Maggie Moo’s, and Blondie’s Cookies, we went into Old Navy. I got two fleeces and two t-shirts for $7 when they were normally $43. How did I pull this off? Well, the store was having a 50% off sale on the items I bought. I also had a 10% off coupon for taking a survey online. I also had a $5 rewards certificate from my Old Navy Card, as well as a $15 appreciation card I got when I filed that complaint last summer. On top of that, I’m fairly certain our very nice cashier made a math error. Oh, and he manually entered in my rewards certificate, so even though those things are supposed to be one-time only, I can use it one more time! And THAT is how I save big at Old Navy. I even beat Goodwill’s prices with this particular transaction.