FAIRFIELD — For thousands of people who gaze upon the Scandia Family Center as they pass by on the nearby freeway through Fairfield, the sense of Scandia may only be about the gentle, perpetual turning of the white windmill blades and the nearby blue-and-white spires and towers of the faux Scandinavian castle.
But lying just behind the pair of roadside landmarks is a vast array of diverse fun, carefully adorned with the goal of bringing fun and frivolity to families and friends.
The windmill and the castle each have their own home on their respective award-winning 18-hole miniature golf courses, featuring ponds, streams, fountains, topiary and beautiful gardens. Also included are a variety of obstacles to overcome that include a red-and-white lighthouse, a terra-cotta topped adobe mission and a pink haunted house with a brooding owl spying on the golfers below.
At dusk, the courses are illuminated with a huge array of colorful lighting, a wonder-filled site for both young and old.
“Dad started it,” said Finn Jensen. Gert Jensen has stepped back from the business of fun for others to focus on having fun with his grandchildren.
The first fun center was opened in the 1970s by Gert Jensen and a business partner in Colton in San Bernardino County. The first Scandia fun center followed in Sacramento and then Fairfield in 1979. The Scandinavian theme is a tip of the hat by Gert Jensen to his heritage.
“The secret to our success is providing family fun at an affordable price,” Finn Jensen said. “Our goal is for you to have fun without breaking the bank.”
The Fairfield Scandia fun center is still a family affair, with Finn Jensen serving as general manager and his brother Erik serving as assistant manager.
Over the years, the Scandia center expanded to include much more than miniature golf.
Scandia’s Grand Arcade has more than 200 games from which to choose, from the classics to the cutting edge of video technology, plus pinball and a huge selection of prize-redemption games.
A state-of-the-art lasertag facility by Lasertron enables teams of up to 25 players to battle in a futuristic space station.
Across from the Grand Arcade, the rhythmic plinking of aluminum bat connecting to ball can be heard coming from 18 computer-controlled pitching machines in custom batting cages. Hardball machines pitch from 40 mph for the beginners to a speedy 70 mph for advanced players. Softball is available in both fast pitch and slow pitch configurations.
Around the corner from the Grand Arcade is a speed go-cart course with an expertly designed racetrack and lushly landscaped surroundings. Next to the batting cages, summer relief comes in the way of Waterbugs. The Waterbugs are a variation of bumper cars, but in the water so riders can get wet, get wild and have a wonderful time.
The attractions and distractions are cared for and catered by as many as 65 employees in the busiest times of the year when thousands of kids, young and old, flock to Scandia.
“We’ll host 20 to 25 parties a day on weekends in the summertime,” Finn Jensen said.
Scandia has a variety of birthday party packages including reserved time in a party room, pizza, decorations and ice cream. And for the littlest guests, Scandia has three full levels of climbable, slideable, jumpable, crawlable, walkable, padded play space in which the children are guaranteed to have a ball.
Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.