Local amusement park celebrates 30 years of good times for all ages

Article by Daryl Dirham

Photography by Terry Fravel

Originally published in Canton Lifestyle

“Everything here is designed to get people together.”

That’s how Tim McCully describes Sluggers & Putters, the amusement park/family fun center he owns and operates in Canal Fulton, Ohio. What started modestly with three activities (including the batting cages and miniature golf that gave the park its name) has swelled to 25 rides and attractions.

There’s plenty of room to grow on the sprawling 70-acre property that’s festooned with trees amid the brightly colored rides, games, and other attractions. In fact, McCully boasts that Sluggers & Putters is the third-largest amusement park in Ohio, behind industry behemoths Cedar Point in Sandusky and Kings Island near Cincinnati.

Highlights include two miniature golf courses, two go-kart tracks (one for smaller kids and one for bigger kids and adults), the Little Dipper roller coaster, flying swings, the carnival classic Scrambler, bumper cars, and even water bumper boats with water cannons that boat captains can aim at each other.

McCully and his wife, Rhonda, purchased the property in 1990. “It was a cornfield…a true field of dreams,” says McCully. They opened the park the following year, making this summer Sluggers & Putters’ 30th anniversary.

McCully’s background was in landscaping and horticulture, but he’d dabbled in other businesses. He always had a foot in entertainment too, dating back to his high school years as a young concert promoter and his later ownership of a roller skating rink. The idea for the park sprang from a vision McCully had for a local place where families could gather and experience outdoor recreation.

“Maybe the biggest misconception about us is that we’re a ‘kiddie park,” says McCully. “With only a few exceptions, every attraction here is designed and sized to be enjoyed by every member of the family. We are truly a family fun center.”

The two miniature golf courses are mainstays among fans of the park. Adventure Mini Golf has a theme based on “The Wizard of Oz” and nursery rhymes, and includes artifacts throughout the course from Canton’s fondly remembered Mother Goose Land. Olde Skool Mini Golf is a wackier course for more advanced players and includes plenty of opportunities for trick shots.

For those who get their thrills at the wheel, F-22 Raptor Go-Karts are for older riders at least 11 and over 58 inches tall and include a fast, exciting track. Double-seater carts are available for passengers three and older with a qualified driver. For smaller drivers, Lil’ Thunder Junior Racers let kids 8 and older and at least 48 inches tall take the wheel on an oval track.

Sluggers & Putters also includes Ohio’s only outdoor laser tag facility as well as carnival favorites like a ferris wheel, Scrambler, flying swings, bumper cars, tea cup ride, and—coming soon—Tilt-A-Whirl.

To get out of the heat, the air conditioned Flying Monkey Arcade features games that dispense tickets redeemable for prizes (be sure to check out Giant Pac-Man on a six-foot screen).

As you might imagine, Sluggers and Putters is a popular birthday destination. However, you might be surprised that a sizable amount of its summer business comes from corporate retreats and picnics, accommodating groups as large as 750 people.

For regular daily visitors, McCully prides himself on keeping admission to the park free. Visitors purchase tickets for each attraction individually or can select from several day pass options that offer multiple rides for a flat fee (there’s even a Super All Day Pass that gives visitors the run of the park, with unlimited rides the whole day). He also offers a host of specials, including those regularly scheduled such as a free Super All Day Pass for military and Grandparents’ Day every Tuesday when grandparents ride free. Other discounts can be unlocked when visitors text “SLUGGER” to 91944.

For more information about the park, visit www.sluggers-putters.com or call 330-854-6999.

“Maybe the biggest misconception about us is that we’re a ‘kiddie park'”

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