As soon the door closes, it’s another world.
It’s dark, yet inviting with sounds of birds and rushing water to set the scene. This is the first impression of the brand new Miramar Beach family attraction, RainForest Black Light Golf & Arcade.
“It is an 18-hole indoor black light golf,” said owner Russ Brown. “One of the things my wife and I like about miniature golf is it’s one of the few sports in the world that a 5-year-old grandchild and an 80-year-old grandparent can both play together and have a great time.”
Walking around the golf course, it’s easy to see how much work has gone into transforming the former furniture store into a magical jungle-themed venue.
“We have probably one of the best artists in the country that did airbrush, and it took him 10 days to get all this done,” Brown said. “The golf course has lots of fun obstacles, arches and amazing artwork. It’s almost like an airbrush museum.”
Brown owns three other family entertainment stores in the region, a bounce house center in the Panama City Mall and a bounce house and a putt-and-glow center in the Dothan Mall in Alabama.
When asked why he chose to open his newest location in Destin, Brown said the tourism numbers convinced him.
“Just look at the demographics, and it’s easy to see that Destin is surpassing everyone else. It’s third or fourth in tourism in the entire state of Florida,” he said. “If you want outdoor entertainment or boating, there are tons of options, but indoor there is very little to do.”
The arcade side of the center is also an experience like no other, as Brown explained it is not your ordinary arcade.
“We are bringing some traditional arcade games in here such as air hockey and foosball, but the majority of our arcade area is what we call a pay-one-price high-energy arcade,” he said. “You are not going to be sitting in a chair playing these games. You are going to be moving and shaking.”
At first glance, visitors to the arcade may think it is full of bounce houses and inflatable obstacle courses but, in fact, each game is built for young and old and helps get the blood pumping.
One inflated area, for example, is actually a 35-foot long and 15-foot wide dodge ball arena complete with no-sting balls and basketball hoops. Another inflated octagon-shaped game offers players the chance to choose a color and then run around pressing lighted domes to see who will collect the most points before the timer runs out.
“There are no bouncers, no slides. They are all sports related inflatables for all ages,” Brown explained. “This is for kids from 2 to 102.”