Ozzie’s Amusements – a high-energy mini-golf course and race track by day – transforms into a serene, peaceful retreat when the engines have cooled and the putters are off the greens. In the evenings when their happy customers have headed home, the sound of water flowing through the course rises through the stillness.
“You can hear the water running, birds chirping,” said Katherine Locke.
She and her husband Cris Leonard initially had no intention of going into the mini-golf business but Ms. Locke was interested in touring the Windermere property, which was up for sale. There she was struck by the peacefulness she felt wandering through the greens.
She also harboured fond memories of the property’s earlier days.
“I had a great time when we did mini-golf (at the course) 10 years ago… and thought it was a shame that it wasn’t open,” she said.
It was a shame the couple decided to correct. They bought the property, spruced it up and opened Ozzie’s Amusements, naming the park in honour of Mr. Leonard’s late father.
“He would have loved it here. He loved working with kids and joking around with people,” Mr. Leonard said.
Walking the greens, the couple gestured to the course features, which include a series of bridges to navigate the waterways running below, a waterwheel, a waterfall and a church with colourful golf-ball-proof windows.
The couple stepped aside to let a family of mini-golfers pass them on the pathway, when one of the guests said: “This is a beautiful little course. You can sure tell that you guys have put a lot of work into it.”
Landon Lewsaw, who was visiting from Camrose, chatted with the couple for a moment before continuing on with his smiling troupe.
“Providing fun to people, how can you have a better job than that?” Mr. Leonard asked rhetorically. “We don’t see sad faces around here.”
Since Ozzie’s Amusements opened last summer, the couple has hosted around 4,000 visits, with many satisfied guests coming back for more.
Even as a former mechanic, Mr. Leonard was skeptical about investing in go carts but was swayed when people kept asking when they would be able to zip around the track. The couple brought in more go carts, fixed up a few of the older ones and made the building look like a workshop.
“(Ozzy’s Amusements) is pretty straightforward fun,” he said.
The park is open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. until Sunday, September 2nd. For more information, visit the park itself or check out ozziesamusements.com.