Monday, July 13, 2020
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New owners open roadside attraction

by Bret Anne Serbin
Daily Inter Lake | June 28, 2020 1:00 AM

Heading along U.S. 2 near the west entrance to Glacier National Park, it’s hard to miss the sight of multi-colored basketball hoops, bumper boats and a giant sprawling wooden structure known as the Glacier Maze. For more than 30 years, the Amazing Fun Center has a popular roadside attraction nestled in the scenic landscape. And for the first time since the attraction opened, it’s under new ownership.

Andy and Sadie Hergesheimer took over the Amazing Fun Center in February from Bob and Christine Mellem, who originally built the center in 1987. The Hergesheimers are bringing experience, local connections and more than an ounce of good humor to the Amazing Fun Center for their first summer season at the helm.

“We’ve tried to inject our personalities,” said Andy, otherwise known as “The Boss Man,” according to his nametag. His wife Sadie—“The Real Boss”—agreed the business was looking for a little infusion of new life.

Most of the activities at the Amazing Fun Center, such as the Glacier Maze and miniature golf course, were built by the Mellems in the 1980s. The historic attractions were widely considered groundbreaking for their time—the 1.5-mile maze had the distinction of being the first two-level, human-sized wooden maze ever built in North America.

But the Seattle couple that founded the park hadn’t updated any of these features since 1998. After two years working with the Mellems as The Amazing Fun Center’s general manager, Andy decided he had the energy and commitment to get the park back to its “fun-damentals.”

The Hergesheimers recognized they already have a winning formula with the center’s many entertainment options, including a go-cart track and bumper boats, so they left the park’s main features largely unchanged. But it’s safe to say visitors will notice the park’s new direction as they get strapped into go-carts by staff members nicknamed “Funologists” or attempt to follow Andy’s playful hints at solving the serpentine maze.

“If you’re still here at dark, I’ll come bring you a water bottle,” Andy delights in telling guests as he watches them spin hopelessly in circles from his perch on the second story of the double-decker course.

He said he has seen maze attempts that take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to complete the challenge. Done perfectly, it includes 22 sets of stairs, or 387 individual steps, he noted.

Andy, of course, has the direct route memorized.

He first came to the fun center two years ago because he felt “life was getting stale” in his role as the general manager of the Stumptown Ice Den in Whitefish. While it’s hard to imagine anything ever getting stale for the energetic businessman, it appears he and his wife—who still works part-time at Kalispell Regional Medical Center — found a perfect fit at the Amazing Fun Center after living in the Flathead Valley all of their lives.

“I know the potential of this place,” Andy said.

The owners hope their leadership helps visitors see its potential, too. Andy and Sadie are aiming to transform the Amazing Fun Center from a brief stopping over point on the way to and from Glacier National Park into a destination all its own where guests can spend an entire day—or more.

They’re adding lawn games, like corn hole, for parents to play while their children wander through the maze or drive laps around the go-cart course. They’re also creating new inclusive passes that give guests access to a wider array of attractions with one purchase. And they even hope to build a small campground with 25 spots for tent camping on the 3-acre plot of undeveloped land adjacent to the center, which came with the sale of the property. “We’re trying to keep people in our park,” Sadie said.

And while the COVID-19 outbreak has thrown a small wrench into their opening plans, the Hergesheimers don’t expect the pandemic to be too big of a challenge at the Amazing Fun Center. So far, Sadie said playful people of all ages seem to be eager to get outside and have some fun.

Reporter Bret Anne Serbin may be reached at (406)-758-4459 or bserbin@dailyinterlake.com.

The Amazing Fun Center is located at 10265 U.S. 2 East. Call 406-387-5902 for exact opening and closing times.

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Visitors navigate the Glacier Maze which features 1 miles of passages and overhead walkways at the Amazing Fun Center in Coram on Tuesday, June 23. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

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Sadie and Andy Hergesheimer are the newest owners of the Amazing Fun Center in Coram.

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Visitors race on the go-kart track at Amazing Fun Center in Coram on Tuesday, June 23. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

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Visitors navigate the Glacier Maze which features 1 miles of passages and overhead walkways, at the Amazing Fun Center in Coram.

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Visitors race on the go-kart track at Amazing Fun Center in Coram on Tuesday, June 23. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)