European Formula EK20 karts whiz by on Pole Position Raceway’s quarter-mile track, cruising at speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. Spectators crank their heads to keep up. There’s no wind to battle against, no sun blinding the drivers’ eyes, and no birds rigging the race by dropping smoke bombs because all of Pole Position Raceway’s competitions happen inside. This is thanks to a fleet of electric-powered karts, which accelerate more quickly and hug curves more smoothly than gas-powered karts without dumping out clouds of exhaust.
To sate speed cravings, drivers simply arrive and drive—show up and nab one of 12 spots in the next race. Then with a DOT-approved racing helmet, they push the pedal to the floor for roughly 10 minutes, drafting their opponents to fly past them near the finish line. At the end of each race, drivers receive a SpeedSheet that displays their race results, fastest lap time, and the likelihood of getting their own action-movie franchise. For those seeking to dive deep into the world of racing, Pole Position Raceway offers driving clinics and youth racing camps, where younger racers pilot EK10 karts that peak at 20 mph.
Laser Quest's mazelike, multi-level arena lets up to 30 players weave through the clouded fog with the grace of a skydiving basket-maker—taking cover behind barriers, swooping around corners, and raining beam-bolts down from the upper decks. Players can compete either as friendly teams or as lone wolves. Once they are surrounded by intense crossfire rarely seen outside of stormtrooper raves, players must use strategy, stamina, and well-timed hand-mirror shields to defeat the opposition.
While chatting on the phone with a friend, Katrina Uhls had a startling realization: her kids had been playing video games for hours. She discovered that by effectively “unplugging” her kids, she could steer them toward more creative, introspective pastimes.
Now, as the owner of Unpluggits Playstudio, she fosters a safe, welcoming space where all kids can "unplug" and explore their artistic sides. Kids will find shelves stocked with play-doh, stamps, stencils, and other craft supplies. They can don smocks and wield nontoxic paints at miniature easels. Paint’n take projects give them personalized crafts to take home, such as picture frames and piggy banks useful for saving up to buy new toys or a gold-plated piggy bank. For more active playtime pursuits, kids can gambol toward the indoor playground, which features slides, a pirate ship, and air-hockey tables.
As kids explore the 3,000-square-foot studio, parents are welcome to cruise free WiFi or monitor tykes from the snack bar, which serves freshly ground organic coffee, juices, and soda. Special workshops open the space for toddler-specific activities, adults-only craft time, and parents' nights out.
HeyDay Family Fun provides activities, games, and family fun for all ages. On an indoor ropes course, harnessed climbers traverse balance beams and bridges suspended far above the large arcade. From that vantage point, patrons get a bird's eye view of their rivals' air-hockey strategies or watch slick masses of horsepower slip around corners on Need for Speed and Fast and Furious racing games. In the two-level, 7,000-square-foot laser-tag arena, walls of swirling fog close tightly around warriors as they hide under bridges and dodge behind illuminated pillars. The noise of good-natured combat drifts faintly out over 18 holes of mini golf littered with waterfalls, streams, sand traps, and rugged outdoorsmen trying to live off sand.
DoubleDave's Pizzaworks, an onsite family-friendly restaurant and sports bar, quells protesting tummies between games with a menu of strombolis, wings, sandwiches, and hand-tossed pizzas made with fresh-daily dough. HeyDay Family Fun also offers birthday party and group packages.
Gatti-town’s all-you-can-eat buffet feeds the fires in gamers’ bellies with an unlimited downpour of more than 40 edible options. Pile tongues with aisles of entrees that include pizzas, pastas, salads, cheese sticks, cinnamon sticks, and desserts such as the dutch apple treat pizza ($3.99–$6.99 per person for buffet plus $0.99–$1.49 each for beverages). Big-screen TVs in the dining rooms begin stuffing brains with entertainment to prepare them for a smorgasbord of automated amusement.