Go BIG or Go Home
What Happens When A Small-Town Family Visits The "World's Largest"... Whatever!

World’s Largest Shuffleboard Club, St. Petersburg, FL

The” yin and yang” of family travel means that, in return for enduring godawful meals at “Chuck E.”-type establishments which please my kids, I expect their best behavior at places which may not hold a lot of kid-friendly appeal.  This deal doesn’t always work, but it’s a goal.  I thought I might have to cash in a few credits when we took them to the Mirror Lake Shuffleboard Club, but they actually enjoyed it – almost as much as I did!


Do these retro colors remind anyone else of "The Golden Girls" set?

Where we went, and who was coerced into going:

The world’s largest shuffleboard club is in St. Petersburg, FL, so we planned to visit during our holiday road trip to the Sunshine State. Since it’s not open every day, I made special arrangements with the St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club president, a gracious and enthusiastic volunteer named Christine.

We played shuffleboard last spring as a family at the Woodloch Pines Resort, and we all enjoyed it. (Momma had game…thoroughly surprising everyone.) So we were all up for trying it again. Even Grandma and Grandpa came along.

WHY did you go there, exactly?

For me, shuffleboard has a “retro” appeal, representing a time in our history when family entertainment was more social, and wholesomely unplugged. I learned that this club has been experiencing a surge in popularity, offering weekly play on Friday nights, and attracting hundreds of locals. In particular, families.

Shuffleboard court

Okay, what was so cool about it?

This was one of those times I wish I had a time machine. The Mirror Lake complex, built in 1923, is the oldest shuffleboard club in the U.S. In its heyday — the 1930’s through the 60’s — the club gained international fame as the world’s largest, by virtue of having 110 playing courts and an annual membership of over 5,000.

I would have loved being there on a spring evening at the height of its popularity, gussied up in white – as was the custom — for a night on the court.

There are now 65 shuffleboard courts at Mirror Lake, and covered grandstand seating for over 100. We had the place to ourselves, so Christine directed us to a regulation court.

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