In a go kart, you're much closer to the source of horsepower than when you're riding in a car. All that invisible force leaps to life when you hit the accelerator, gently pushing you back into the seat. Drivers at Lehigh Valley Grand Prix feel that pull as they whip around a quarter-mile racetrack in gas-powered Sodi GT5 Proline karts. They slip past one another while making 11 brake-stomping turns, all with a vantage point not afforded by watching races on TV.
The karts feature air-intake units that trap their exhaust and keep the atmosphere fresh, and the track—constructed from 1,300 used Goodyear tires and the shredded remains of Mario Andretti's learner's permit—is outfitted with three observation platforms for track marshals to regulate each lap and guarantee riders' safety. Three-point safety belts, roll bars, helmets, and neck braces also protect racers during their white-knuckle trips around the track. A full-time mechanic keeps finish lines crowded by calibrating karts to run within three-tenths of a second of one another and hanging hundreds of piñatas from the checkered flag. At the facility's bar, Octane, racers can refuel with drinks and food while watching stock-car races on the five 42-inch TVs.
Kids and parents alike become adventuresome at HappyTymes Family Fun Center with a slew of whimsical rides and rip-roaring games. Kids can get their first lesson in driver's etiquette on the thundering go-kart course before putting evasive techniques to work on the twirling, spinning slime-buckets ride. After harnessing a reserved sense of accomplishment achieved only after putting one's way through a mini-golf course's myriad challenging obstacles, children can hop on HappyTyme's space train, rumored to be NASA's upcoming replacement for the shuttle. Youngsters may continue to gain useful experience for life's later challenges by tackling the rock wall before practicing a stress-relieving spending spree with their 100 game tokens.
At Sesame Place, kids and adults alike meet and play with their favorite furry friends—from classic friends such as Big Bird, Bert, Ernie, and Elmo to newer additions such as Abby Cadabby and Murray. Pose for pictures in a life-size re-creation of the TV show’s classic set, soar above the park in the twirling Cloud Chaser ride, or travel to the outer reaches of the solar system during a children’s-size roller coaster ride on Vapor Trail. After the kids have ridden the rides or seen the giant Christmas tree light and music show, they can sit down to enjoy one of three Sesame Place shows, or take in the Neighborhood Street Party Christmas Parade.
The park's attractions change with the seasons. In the winter, families gather for the A Very Furry Christmas celebration during select dates between November 23 and December 31. As kids and parents roam the twinkle-lit streets of Sesame Place, beloved characters from Sesame Street will interact with visitors. Plus, Santa in his Furry Workshop brings an extra dose of holiday cheer.
They say that a family that plays together stays together, especially when they've got each other in the cross-hairs of a laser. At the family entertainment complex of Ultrazone, everybody's inner kid comes out to play in an electric playground teeming with teams of ultraviolet warriors. The sprawling laser tag arena is one of the biggest on the East Coast, sporting multiple levels of battle grounds where visceral action scenarios play out amongst a myriad of obstacles. Rounds are played in multiple gaming formats and are divided by age levels so younger players aren't trounced by birthday parties for Bigfoot. Gun shy attendees can get their kicks popping quarters at Ultrazone's video game arcade.
Rebounderz boasts more than 14,000 square feet of bouncing throughout three trampoline surfaces. Both kids and adults leap, jump, and flip through the space, just bouncing around or playing high-velocity games of trampoline dodgeball. At the foam pit, guests test their aerobatic skills and before landing softly into cloud-like masses of foam. The facility also has a four-lane basketball slam dunk runner. These feats create a serious cardio workout, and guests in need of a break can breathe heavily toward the arcade where they can sling a few balls at skee-ball or relax in the cafe with a smoothie or slice of pizza. For special occasions such as birthdays, parents can book one of four party rooms, including the basketball room replete with a basketball court, jump time, pizza, and a party assistant.
The sounds of cheery competition float across Grand Slam USA's 30,000-square-foot arena, which teems with athletic challenges, a vibrant bounce houses, and other diversions. A glow-in-the-dark miniature-golf course leads putters through nine holes of ominous pirate-themed obstacles, including a ramp into a skull's jaws, a hole fraught with sharks, and perilous unswabbed decks. Adrenaline-soaked games of laser tag lead beam duelers through mazes, around partitions, and over platforms, where they rack up points for hitting special targets and rivals. At the end of each bout, players receive individual score cards that detail high scores and lines flubbed during MAS*H reenactments.
Twenty-eight armed soldiers swarm between two stories, ducking and weaving to avoid the sharp eyes of their opponents. Or so the story often unfolds during laser-tag sessions in FunTime America’s state-of-the-art laser-tag arena. Though it may be the most adrenaline-pumping portion of the family-friendly play place, it's but an introduction to the variety of attractions that unfolds before visitors. It's hard to ignore the four-story Kiddy City structure, where kids scoot down slides, climb ropes, and play without fear due to its ubiquitous safety padding. As little ones give chase around the structure, bigger kids helm bumper cars, take a journey in the El Paso train ride, or race to scale the 20-foot climbing wall, whose foothold arrangements offer four difficulty levels from easy to easy for people with wings. Once playtime comes to a simmer, the video-game arcade really shines with its air-hockey tables and sit-down games that take imaginations on the road to their pixilated lands. The adjacent casino-theme Winners Cafe, whose walls brim with massive playing cards and decorative roulette wheels, feeds spent small-time heroes with pizza, pretzels, and other fare to boost energy before another go around the center beckons.