Best of Philly 2005: Fun

Movie theaters, music venues, mini-golf, and other ways to keep yourself amused

Place to go “Whee!”: I-Glide Segway Tour of the Ben Franklin Parkway There are probably tours that will teach you more and offer prettier views of the city, and there are probably better ways to spend $69. But there isn’t a more entertaining way to get around Philly than on a Segway Human Transporter, which this company lets you drive for three hours as you see the sights around the Art Museum, Fairmount Park and the Schuylkill River Path (1-877-GLIDE-81).

Place to go wee: The restrooms at Alma de Cuba Stephen Starr gets lots of credit for his restaurants; he doesn’t get nearly enough for providing his patrons with some totally excellent bathrooms. These are our favorite: All black and stainless steel, they’re sleek but not cold, functional but not fascist (1623 Walnut Street; 215-988-1799).

Place to play vintage arcade games: Mill Creek Tavern Old-school arcade games have pretty much vanished from bars, but at this comfortable West Philly tavern, you can slide up with a $7 Yuengling pitcher and play Frogger, Ms. Pac Man or Galaga until your wrist falls off (4200 Chester Avenue; 215-222-1255).

Running path: Southern end of the Schuylkill River Path It’s not the longest or most picturesque trail in town, but it is the most vital, allowing runners — or anybody else — in Center City to make their way from Locust Street to Fairmount Park without risking being plastered on somebody’s windshield or negotiating 17 different road crossings.

Place to spread your wings:Sport Aviation at Van Sant Airport Sport Aviation offers 30-to-40-minute rides on gliders. And if the idea of the normal no-engine flight isn’t enough to scare you witless, the company also offers an “aerobatic” glider ride that’s sure to make your knuckles white and your face green (516 Cafferty Road, Erwinna; 610-847-8320).

Way to commune with nature: Classes at the Philadelphia Canoe Club One-day courses on everything from sea kayaking to river canoeing. The lessons include basic strokes and maneuvers, rescues, river reading and safety. Best of all, successful completion of a class allows you to participate in the club’s Thursday night practice sessions on the Schuylkill (4900 Ridge Avenue, Manayunk; 215-487-9674).

Museum you’ve probably never been to: Wharton Esherick Museum Trained as a painter, Wharton Esherick eventually became one of the greatest woodworking craftsmen of the 20th century, creating many of his best pieces for wealthy Main Line patrons. But his home was perhaps his greatest achievement. Built on a hillside near Valley Forge and expanded over 40 years (Esherick died in 1970), it’s now a nonprofit museum that’s open only by reservation, which explains why it gets only 5,000 visitors a year (1200 Horseshoe Trail Road, Malvern; 610-644-5822).

Fun Trend: Urban Bowling Alleys
With strikes bowling lounge in university city already open, and NorthBowl (in Northern Liberties) and Lucky Strike Lanes (in Center City) on the way, it’s a good time to be a city-dwelling bowler. Or perhaps just to be a city-dweller with a pulse. The most fun a person can have in rented shoes (4040 Locust Street; 215-387-BOWL).