From coaching women’s softball at Ole Miss three years ago, Missy Dickerson has built Pirate Adventures Family Fun Center that is capturing the hearts of kids and parents across North Mississippi.
Actually, it’s not just Missy, its her dad and mom, brother and in-laws. As a family, they have built their version of the national chain, Chucky Cheese.
“It’s just clean, safe family fun,” Missy said.
Located on Highway 6 about 5 miles West of Oxford, Pirate Adventures is little known by many who pass on the highway, but kids and parents who discover it, are spreading the word. Families from about a 60-mile radius pack the facility. Already, the family is planning expansion.
“This was my dad, Everett Phillips’, idea,” Missy Dickerson said. “He is an Oklahoma boy who moved to California, then back to Oklahoma, and here when our oldest son, now 10, began to grow up. Dad always had this idea so we got together as a family and made it happen.
Other family members involved Pirate Adventures include Missy’s mom, Ilnorme Phillips, brother Michael Phillips, and in-laws, Dave and Debbie Dickerson.
Pirate Adventures is housed in a nondescript metal building with a small sign out front and another over the door, which masks a world of fantasy, food and fun inside. Open the door any weekend and you’ll find a building filled with kids, parents and grandparents, enjoying arcade games, large inflatable toys, activities, and as Missy says, “an unlimited amount of running, hopping, sliding, bouncing, jumping and leaping at our indoor play center.
“We work as a family with most of us pitching in on weekends,” Missy said. “During the week we have kids of all ages and a number of birthday parties.”
Missy and family members created the entire concept, and Missy developed the distinctive logo, web and Facebook pages.
“We get together as a family and think of ideas, throw them in a pot, give some a try, and throw out those that don’t work and try something else,” she said.
The family clearly has achieved success as plans are being made for the addition of batting and soccer cages.
“There is nothing like this in the region,” Missy said. “We draw from Clarksdale to Senatobia to Olive Branch — an area of about 50-60 miles. We don’t advertise much.” She added word of mouth from kids, moms and dads and grandparents has built the business.
The facility includes free WiFi, flat-screen TV’s, private party rooms for birthdays and social gatherings, membership plans and lots of kid-friendly food. Just like Chucky Cheese, kids collect tickets at arcade games that are cashed in for prizes at the front counter. On Friday mornings, they offer a MDO (Mom’s Day Out) program of safe, fun and controlled activities for children of all ages.
Designated play areas are set up for kids under age 3. Kids 3-12 enjoy another designated area and older kids and adults can take advantage of the arcade, video and redemption games. Games include Big Bass Wheel, Stacker, Ice Ball, Fast and Furious, Horse Play, Cyclone, Kiddie Rides and Big Buck.
The transition from Ole Miss softball coach in 2011 was no slow pitch for Missy. She moved quickly in 2012 to develop the concept, build and open Pirate Adventures — with mom and dad, in-laws and brother all pitching in.