Par-King – Prairie View, Illinois - Atlas Obscura

Prairie View, Illinois

Par-King

This sprawling mini-golf empire is an impressive testament to a quickly disappearing attraction. 

Between the 1950’s kitsch and elaborate skill shot obstacles across the pair of courses in Illinois’ Par-King it has earned its title as the “World’s Most Unusual Golf Course.”

The entertaining throwback actually started in the 1950’s when it was known as George’s Gorgeous Golfing Garden. The humble mini-golf course continued to grow, and quickly became the premiere course of its kind in the nation, just as the trend was catching on, eventually being referred to as “Minigolf’s Taj Mahal.” By the late 1970’s the ever-growing collection of eye-catching obstacles outgrew its gorgeous garden and was relocated to its current location, taking the wonderfully punny moniker, Par-King. 

Today the sprawling site encompasses two 18 hole courses, with a unique feature at each hole. Highlights of the elaborate courses include a replica of the Willis Tower complete with an elevator for your ball, miniature Mount Rushmore, a golf ball roulette wheel, and a roller coaster which sends balls through a complete loop.

As the kitsch theme attractions of yesteryear continue to blink out all across the country, Par King’s devotion to the elaborate and whimsical mini-golf courses that used to dot nearly every city in America makes its existence all the more amazing.