These days many places are downsizing, but it seems to be the exact opposite for sporting goods stores. Each major chain is trying to one up the competition, and this creates the perfect opportunity for families to beat the bad weather for the day. We recently visited one of the Scheels stores to see what unique attractions we would discover. We had our grandkids in tow, so we were able to better gauge how well things appealed to various age groups.
Like a couple of the other large chains, Scheels has a display filled with taxidermy mounts. Located on an artificial mountain, the display is visible from many parts of the store. Our grandson was the first to point it out, and remarked that this place reminded him of another store we visited. The day of our visit was rainy and cool, very much like the other visit he mentioned. That is one of the reasons we will choose places like this. It offers refuge from a hot, cold or wet day, while also allowing some play time. More about that in a minute.
We made our way to the “mountain” to take a look. Here visitors can wander around and see how many of the species they identify. While some may frown on this type of display, we look at it as an opportunity to educate ourselves on the various creatures that are found around the U.S. Many of these are not seen in zoos, and the chances of being spotted in the wild can be slim.
As we walked through the store we would come upon other displays periodically. Many of these offer a close up view of various animals. It allowed us a chance to see just how large these creatures are in real life. The grandkids pointed out that when they lived in Seattle they heard about mountain lions being in the area. It was a good thing they didn’t run into one.
You Have To Be Kidding
Crystal was the one who brought up the idea of a Scheels visit. The draw for her was that they had some unique forms of entertainment. The most interesting has to be the 65 foot indoor Ferris wheel. Yes, I said “indoor”. Set in the middle of the store is a very large atrium. They need one to be able to fit this thing inside. After entering the store, we passed under the 16,000 gallon aquarium, and caught our first view of this attraction. It had a short line, so Crystal and our granddaughter decided to take a ride. The admission was only $1.00 each, which we found to be quite reasonable.
More Fun Abounds
I spent this time wandering around with our grandson. We discovered that located around the store were more games that can be enjoyed by customers. These mini-games are designed to allow guests to test their skills at various sports. The lines at some were a little long, but with the inclement weather we weren’t concerned about time. Once the girls completed their spin on the wheel, we set about exploring the rest of the store. The grandkids watched others doing some bowling, but weren’t interested in doing it themselves. The dual lane Mini-Bowl area was quite popular. Not far from there we found some kids testing their arm strength at the baseball pitching speed booth. Here you attempt to strike out a batter, so accuracy is just as important as speed.
Toward the back of the store, on the second floor, we found a shooting gallery. This is one of those where you use guns with infrared signals to shoot at bulls-eyes. They offer the choice of rifle or pistol, which was nice to have. The grandkids seemed to like all of the sounds and motions that were evoked whenever a target was hit.
Here’s a little video we shot of some of the action. The shooting gallery costs $1.00 per play, which could add up quickly if you plan on staying there a while. Fortunately, the store had more things to see. We played a few rounds, and then went to check out the animated displays they have on either side of the atrium opening. One is Thomas Jefferson and the other is Abraham Lincoln. I ran some video of these, but with all of the noise from the squealing riders on the Ferris wheel, I decided not to include it. You will have to check these out for yourself.
After a long bit of exploring, we decided we had earned a treat. Off we headed to the deli and fudge shop downstairs. Here they offer a nice variety of sweets, including two dozen flavors of fudge. We also saw gelato, as well as deli items for those looking to quench a larger hunger. The grandkids picked out a treat each, and we headed out of the store. On the way to our car, we made note of the bronze statues they have adorning the front of the building. Our plan had been to find an activity that would occupy an afternoon on a wet Kansas City day, and we had done just that. Have you taken your family to Scheels to check out the special features? What did you discover that we missed? Tell us about it in the comments section below.
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