Caswells

Don't be skerred that President Barack Obama will be putting a permanent safety lock on Americans' right to bear arms. You're just being paranoid and probably a little on edge. Relieve some of that pent-up anxiety at Caswells, a small-ish, 21-year-old gun range tucked inside a warehouse area near Stapley and Baseline roads in Mesa. Eleven shooting lanes, which cost $15 per person per lane, are available for rent for both the grizzled gunsmith and the firearms novice. Not packing a piece? No problem, because you can rent black-as-night Glocks that are also available for purchase through the range's "Try Before You Buy" program. Queues do tend to get long on the weekends, so you may want to fire away on a weeknight. Ladies Day, which entitles women to free range time and gun rentals, takes place Tuesdays and Fridays.

Usery Mountain Shooting Range

Whatever your preference, if you're into firearms, Usery Mountain is the place to go. Whether you're a beginner who wants to get comfy with a new firearm in a safe environment or a seasoned marksman, you will feel welcome at this massive outdoor shooting range. Usery Mountain's versatility is impressive. The shooting range boasts several pistol bays, clay pigeon throwers, and targets as far away as 500 yards (if you're interested in really testing your aim). Throw in range masters, who supervise the firing range at all times as well as provide safety and education, along with the fact that this shooting range is open pretty much anytime the sun is out, and there really is no competition.

Beware: Final Destination, in its fourth incarnation at the Door Christian Center in Chandler, is not a traditional haunted house. If you're looking for a fun and scary activity to work in between bouts of recreational drug use, promiscuous sex, and idol worship, this "haunted house-style attraction" run by evangelical Christians is not for you. Unless, that is, you're willing to watch a doctor hold down a screaming patient during a mock abortion before going back to your normal weekend routine of smoking up a hooker (using a Bible as rolling paper) while listening to Marilyn Manson. Final Destination is, however, very well put together, with great acting, impressive production values, and passionate workers who'll do their best to save your soul. If you're a remorseless heathen who's Hell-bound anyway, or if you're maybe interested in getting saved, Final Destination makes for a pretty damned entertaining night.

Fear Farm

As Halloween season gears up, you're going to hear a lot of boasting by haunted attractions around town. Last year, we pretty much hit them all, and Fear Farm was truly the best. Sure, it's likely a haul from your own unhaunted house, but this massive indoor/outdoor experience is well worth it. Spread over a dozen or so buildings of various sizes and 25 acres of cornfield, this attraction will give you a full night of entertainment. Offering up some of the best pretend monsters in town, this old-school haunt is light on animatronics and chock-full of hair-raising scenes that are well constructed and realistic enough to make suspending disbelief easy — even for adults. Thanks to chainsaw-wielding clowns on stilts, mobile homes that are every bit as scary as you imagine a mobile home in Glendale to be, and a terrifying blood-spattered asylum, this house is first-class all the way.

The holidays can be downright depressing in this cactus garden of a city. But one of our absolute gems is this annual seasonal bash, held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Part of the charm is its location, on Scottsdale Civic Center Mall, which looks the part with its well-groomed greenery. And despite the fact that it's choked with hundreds of children simultaneously trying to frolic in the real snow, get their pics snapped with Santa, make Christmas crafts, and snag the best view of the official tree-lighting, the event goes off like clockwork, year after year. (P.S.: Admission is free, and you don't have to live in Scottsdale to attend.)

Glen Fair Lanes

Remember the good old days, when dads would spend two nights a week bowling with their buddies, clad in Pepto-Bismol-pink bowling shirts embroidered with their names on the front? No, we don't either. But we've seen them on TV, which is why the seriously old-school Glenfair Lanes was a beat-up, patchwork, bowling shoo-in for this category.

The large alley is a throwback, from the '50s script sign to the large wooden bar with a pass-thru window to the lanes. Prices are equally retro, with $1 beers on Thursdays and dollar games from 9 p.m. to close on Sunday through Thursday nights, including neon bowling on Wednesdays. The updated video arcade/billiard room is great for a quick break — or to check on your kids as you pound a couple of those dollar beers.

Reflections Bingo

We went through a phase in which we were bingo-ing like mad, all over town. But after visiting a certain number of high-tech, 21st-century bingo halls (you know the type — replete with clever cafes, electronic number callers, and kid-pleasing video arcades grafted on), we began to yearn for the more intimate bingo parlors of our granny's dotage. We found a simpler bingo experience at this cozy, super-popular west-side locale, where we got a free book of bingo cards, and where we gave our daubers a real workout. Reflections has old-time callers and super prize nights like California Bingo Night, usually featured each month, with a $2,000 bonus game and guaranteed $4,000 checkerboard win. We left with a little less cash than we arrived with, but we'd had so much fun that we still felt like a big winner.

Castles -n- Coasters

If you've ever wanted to feel like the giant in Gulliver's Travels, Castles N' Coasters' mini-golf courses will make you feel super-size. That's because the four courses are decorated with small structures and mini-monuments, from mermaid fountains and mysterious caves to a teeny Taj Mahal and old Western saloon. The price isn't big, either, with an 18-hole game running $7.63 plus tax per person — and the park provides clubs and balls. The only drawback to putting on these kooky courses is that they get pretty packed on weekends, so arrive early if you don't want to wait for folks in front of you to move along.

Tilt Studio

Hadouken! Flying fireballs launched from your fists knock your opponent on his ass. Just another button-smashing affair at GameWorks. Whether you're a fighter, driver, or gun-toting maniac, there's a cabinet here to sate your sadistic desires. GameWorks has great taste in games. Street Fighter IV was not only sitting upstairs in the arcade months before the home console release, it was the Japanese cabinet version. The only thing missing was a Japanese businessman named Kenji who works as an accountant by day and hurricane-kicks your ass at night. Fight!

IKEA
Jackie Mercandetti

Sure, there are places with more stuff, but in our wanderings with offspring, we've run across no place quite as pleasing to both adult and youth palates. Partially, it's the Smaland space itself, which is minimal in the classic Swedish tradition but also exploding with primary colors. Located just inside the Ikea main entrance, the playland features a craft area, a movie area, and a ginormous pit of plastic balls. That's about it. But kids — ours, at least — adore the extras they don't get elsewhere: the high-tech buzzer that Mom and Dad get to let 'em know when the allotted 1.5 hours of play time are up, the kinder-friendly Ikea cafeteria and food, and — most of all — the shopping they get to tag along on 'cause 1.5 hours is never enough time for Mom and Dad at Ikea.

Mom and Dad think Swedish people are really, really, really smart. Tack så mycket!

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