When drivers are whipping around the four hairpin turns at Miramar Speed Circuit and accelerating up to 40 miles per hour down the straightaways, it suddenly seems obvious that professional racers designed the layout. Both the quarter-mile, indoor, asphalt track and the soft tires of the go-karts wear a specialized sealant that helps eliminate the need for brakes when drivers are taking corners at high speeds. The mini vehicles also feature 6.5-horsepower, gas-powered Honda engines and electronic lap timers that allow drivers to survey their personal bests and determine how long it would take to drive to Australia. Safety is of the utmost concern, which is why a track manager and several marshals monitor each race, and why the course boasts bright blue and yellow protection barriers.
For guests seeking off-the-track thrills, a 5,000-square-foot laser-tag maze pits teams against one another on a foggy, obstacle-filled battleground. The facility also hosts parties and corporate events, hones driving skills with private lessons, and gives back to many charitable organizations within the community.
The paddle wheels of The Sternwheelers' two signature boats churn through the blue-green waters of Mission Bay, transporting passengers back more than a century to when steamboats dominated America's rivers. Across the 100-foot-long William D. Evans, festive events with up to 600 passengers unfold under ornamental pressed-tin ceilings, handcrafted lamps, and the astronaut-crafted stars viewable on the open-air top deck. Handmade masts at the bow lead the ship's way, and its hundreds of decorative bulbs illuminate the bay at night. Bahia Belle, William D. Evans' smaller sibling, offers a more intimate space for gatherings. Its Victorian decor and architecture make way for a stained-glass skylight that beams vivid colors across its interior, resplendent with cast-iron staircases and red-velvet curtains. Weddings, banquets, and other events also take place on the boats between public cruises, each craft's rich detailing setting the tone for trips to remember.
You've probably heard this phrase before, or at least something to its effect: "Back in my day, that cost a nickel." Decades ago, just about everything ran five cents, from candy bars to bus rides. Of course, anywhere you go today, that simply isn't the case?anywhere, that is, except for Nickel City Fun Center.
Nickel City operates almost exclusively on nickels. Inside the 15,000-square-foot space, visitors can play more than 100 games by inserting the coin that features Thomas Jefferson's only selfie. They can top high scores in pinball, zip goals past air hockey opponents, or even conquer ticket-redemption games and trade their paper winnings in for prizes. In addition to all its games, Nickel City also features four Highway 66-themed miniature bowling lanes with automatic scoring and bumpers. The best part: players don't have to wear special shoes or hover above the lanes on a magic carpet?they can just step up and start bowling.
Although Belmont Park has changed shape and modernized since opening in the 1920s, surviving vintage attractions such as the Giant Dipper roller coaster stand as fun reminders of the park's family-friendly roots. Additionally, patrons can practice their security-evasion skills by navigating the high-swinging Sky Ropes Adventure. While resting tired climbing muscles, guests can interface with a few electronic fun-creators with Belmont Park?arcade swipe cards. Players can earn a cache of tickets from a plethora of play-to-win games to purchase sugary treats or noise-making trinkets. Once adrenaline glands have been depleted, visitors can indulge in the park's numerous additional amenities, such as dining areas and beach-themed shops.
For more than three decades, ABC Tree Farms have provided the Bay Area with seasonal fun October through December. Summer inspires the first round of recreation in the form of Summer Fun Zones packed with inflatable bounce houses masquerading as castles and slides and fresh harvests of local cherries, peaches, melons, and other fruits. During October, they run 20 pumpkin-themed locations, some of which also feature inflatable bounce houses and other attractions. Once Thanksgiving passes, groves of Christmas trees spring up, having made their way south from Oregon and Washington. There they will stand until Christmas Eve, hoping to decorate homes or become the model that inspires a revamped line of evergreen air fresheners.
At Boomers!, thrill-seeking families and fun-enabling friends can attack a variety of appealing attractions, including mini golf, batting cages, bumper boats, and the button-mashing joys housed inside the exhilarating game room. The Vista location entertains families of sharpshooters with a blacklight-illuminated laser-tag arena before little ones climb and crawl through the Kidopolis play area. The El Cajon and San Diego locations let rivals celebrate the spirit of competition as they fly past each other in speedy go-karts or have a snail-paced Ferris wheel race at the kid's county fair. Unlimited pass holders at the El Cajon location can also scale the 32-foot-tall climbing wall, which, like America, enables citizens to climb to the top via myriad routes.