In the Spotlight: Funland Family Fun Center

Last Updated on Jul 14, 2016 at 10:02am | Tourism & Recreation

"In The Spotlight" is a regular feature of The Lake-Front magazine and is being reprinted here in its entirety with permission. This article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue.
One of the most popular destinations for area locals and visitors for the past 45 years has always been Funland Family Fun Center. Operated by locals Tom and Sarah Kuhn, along with their nephew Doug Knotts, Funland has been a long time favorite for people of all ages. The three are proud to be celebrating their 45th year as one of the longest continuing businesses at the lake. and to have served as that all important “first job” for many of Garrett County’s youth.
In the 1960’s, the state of Maryland decided they needed a better road for Route 219 than the one that traveled along the lake (now called Deep Creek Drive), so they built a new road from the Route 219 bridge to the top of the hill in McHenry.
Tom Kuhn had always dreamed of owning his own business and thought that somewhere along this new road might be the perfect location. Being a Physical Education & Recreation Major from WVU, he felt that a mini golf family center would be a good attraction for the burgeoning lake area. He and his wife Sara found the perfect four acre parcel of land on the east side of the new Route 219 and in 1971 started Funland Arcade. Their first amusements were a GoKart track and an open air arcade building with a mini golf course added the following year. For twenty years, the Kuhn’s operated Funland as a summer business, with no indoor restrooms or air conditioning, but as the lake grew so did their business
In 1992 with the expansion of the lake sewer system, the Kuhns decided to tear down the old arcade building and replace it with a larger one that would include pizza sales and ice cream. The new enclosed building would also house indoor bathrooms as well as heating and air conditioning for the comfort of their guests and to expand their season
In 1994 Tom and Sara added bumper cars and a climbing wall. The old mini golf course was removed to make room for a more modern one with water falls, streams, lakes and a cave highlighting some of Garrett County’s natural beauty as well as Deep Creek Lake history.
Today Funland is the second longest continually owned business at the Lake. Current attractions also include Water Wars, the climbing wall, go-kart track, bumper cars and carousel as well as their popular mini golf course. Young and old alike enjoy the large arcade which features a variety of games that provide tickets that patrons can redeem for prizes.
As a high school teacher at Southern High (now retired), Tom knew the importance of that “first job”. As a consequence, he and Sara have hired many local high school and college students each summer at Funland. Some of their past employees now work as doctors, nurses, pharmacists, electrical engineers, even a NASA scientist. Tom and Sara are proud of all the employees that they have watched grow over the years, many of whom feel like part of their extended family
Their right hand man at Funland is their nephew Doug Knotts. He too started as a high school student and even though he has since earned a masters degree from WVU, he still chooses to work for his uncle and aunt. As the Operating Manager, Doug’s many talents help keep the wheels turning at Funland.
Tom, Sara, and Doug are always working to provide fun and that “something new”. Every year, they add the newest and most exciting arcade games for their customers. Deep Creek Pizza also operates onsite serving delicious pizzas, sandwiches, and ice cream. Last summer, Glazed and Confuzed Donuts opened a coffee shop, food truck, and bakery on site at Funland, serving delicious fruit smoothies and warm, fresh donuts. Open seasonally from 8 AM to Noon, it’s a perfect “pick me up” for a summer morning. This combination of food and fun makes Funland a popular place for birthday and other community parties. Remember, there is no admission charge and day passes are available.
Says Sara, “We promote a family friendly atmosphere. We want you to be glad you’re here and hope you leave with a good feeling so that you’ll want to come back again.” Tom, Sara and Doug are proud of their employees and the good, friendly service they provide. “We work hard to keep what we have,” says Sara. “We do try to maintain each season and spruce up so everything looks fresh and new.”
For great family fun and friendly service, be sure to visit Funland today. Located in their original location at 24450 Garrett Highway in McHenry (across from the McHenry Plaza), Funland opens daily at 10 AM during the summer and weekends and holidays during the spring, fall and winter. For more information and a full menu, visit their website at