Oil stains, acrid gasoline smells, billowing clouds of exhaust—visitors won't find any of these at Speed Raceway. An indoor go-kart facility that employs as much eco-friendly technology as possible, the center's Italian-made OTL Storm Karts run entirely on electricity. But that doesn't mean they're lacking in horsepower. On European-style tracks, drivers can hit top speeds on straightaways before sliding around hairpin turns over 12 laps for kids or 14 laps for adults.
Despite the velocities reached, safety remains of paramount importance. Race officials use colored flags to communicate with the drivers: green means "race away," yellow means "ease up while a situation is being resolved," and teal means "hey, look at this teal flag I found in the closet." At the end of each race, every participant receives a printed results sheet complete with lap times and statistics.
What might look like walls dotted with large wads of bubblegum to beginners, soon transforms into a network of pathways after students complete indoor rock climbing courses at Elite Climbing. The experienced staff are always onsite to lend a hand, even outside of class time, and demonstrate a sport that requires both physical and mental agility. With bouldering and top roping walls, both amateur and expert climbers can find an adequate challenge as they master 120 climbing routes from 19 stations. Kids can also get in on the action, during classes and summer camps that keep them from getting grounded for rappelling off the neighbor's roof.
Mount Laurel's close proximity to Philadelphia—just about 10 miles away—provides easy access to a bevy of urban activities in the City of Brotherly Love. Closer to The Hotel ML, visitors can find numerous parks rife with woodsy scenery ideal for hiking, fishing, and staging solo renditions of Little Red Riding Hood. The town's historical background, dating back to America's colonial days, manifests in Revolutionary War landmarks, such as the General Clinton House, a campground for troops marching from Philadelphia. Numerous local malls and shopping centers lend a contemporary touch to the historic landscape.Thought The Hotel ML offers some discount packages through the end of the year online, this Groupon is valid through March and still offers the best deal available.
The "town" in Kids Play Lounge hosts a post office and a movie theater, enough to ignite toddlers' imaginations and deep reverence for the US Postal service as they make believe in a mini play unit, replete with soft flooring and age appropriate toys. Elsewhere in the award-winning 92,000-square-foot indoor facility, guests ages 9 and under can crawl through see-through panels in a two-level play area. Upon re-energizing with healthy, peanut and tree nut–free snacks at the café, kids can practice at the sports-oriented arcade with games such as air hockey and skeeball. Along with open play, Kids Play Lounge hosts up to 20 children for birthday celebrations in one of four party rooms, 2.5-hour blocks of supervised drop-off playtime, and story time at 11 a.m. every Wednesday.
The Igloo Ice Rink at Mount Laurel furnishes hockey players and figure skaters with ample space to practice puck handling, triple-toe loops, and all-around skating technique. Figure skaters as young as 3 can learn the basics in group and private lessons led by USFSA-registered coaches, who guide beginners along their journey through intermediate and advanced levels. Hockey leagues for both juniors and adults are also available, and designated open skate times invite the public in for taking laps around the rink or practice carving marriage proposals into frozen ponds.
Beyond its roaring arcade and indoor amusement park, The Funplex decrees that 8,000 of its 100,000-square-foot kingdom be annexed to the Realm where fantasy game MagiQuest disperses Magis on heroic adventurers through an interactive and spellbinding semivirtual lair. Carefully choose your Magi alias and grab your secret-yielding loaner wand (a $2 value) before embarking on a fantastical adventure filled with distinguished wizards, enchanting pixies, and cunning dragons. Seasoned with mystical spells and motion sensors, wands respond to trees, mountains, and flat screens sprinkled throughout the Realm, sharing clues so Magi can complete honorable tasks or surprise wicked goblins with an unexpected hug. With unlimited play (a $14.95 value), Magis can entreat the hours to swallow them into the transformative wormhole of role-playing bliss.