Zap Zone's seven locations in Michigan and two locations in Canada each feature a unique combination of attractions—anything from bumper cars to the Jump Zone's cushioned obstacle course. In the laser-tag arena, both kids and adults demonstrate their teamwork skills by outscoring opponents in fast-paced games that take place inside black-lit mazes of neon-tinged hallways. Arcades also round out every location's attractions, tempting passersby to drop a few tokens on racing games and skee-ball, or a lot of tokens on the claw game filled with Fabergé eggs.
At Whirlyball Novi, teams in motorized cars call whirlybugs spin and bump their way through one-hour bouts of a competitive wiffle-ball game that combines aspects of basketball, hockey, and jai alai. Bright red and yellow whirlybugs, powered by electricity and the tears of the defeated, race across a 4,000-square-foot court as their drivers toss balls to each other with plastic scoops. Referees keep track of each team's score as friends look on from the comfortable leather couches of the lounge. After matches, teams sip on drinks from the bar, feast on one of several meal packages, or continue calling each other "liver-licking kumkwats" over games of pool.
Revelers of all ages visit Gamerz USA for battlefield laser tag, an arcade room with a Dance Dance Revolution machine, and kids zone. In battlefield laser tag games, pretend soldiers fire infrared bullets under the guidance of a commanding officer. Players don heavy-duty vests that emit 100% eye-safe light and none of the foul odors that accompany ordinary flashlights. The lazer maze challenge has players navigating a web of green lasers in a bank vault-like enviroment, and the the Kids Zone offers a play area with slides and a ball pit for younger guests. After a few rounds of arcade games, guests can choose a prize or reward themselves with burgers, pizza, soda, or fresh-squeezed juice or Bears2Go.
Putting requires intense concentration, which is especially difficult when you have an elephant watching over your shoulder. At Sport-N-Fun, miniature golfers putt their way through three 18-hole courses adorned with statues of exotic wildlife such as gorillas and giraffes. These distractions are one of the many obstacles on the terrain, where bank shots and undulating hills stand between players and holes-in-one.
Sport-N-Fun's other exhilarating activities likewise vie for visitors' attention. Thrill-seekers zip around the curves and down the straightaways of the Go-Kart track, or leap skyward while securely harnessed on the bungee trampoline. In seven batting cages, machines pitch balls toward batters at speeds of up to 85 miles per hour, offering a range for different skill levels. Inside, classic games blip and bleep as players smash buttons at the arcade. Amidst all the action, GG's Pizza renews energy with servings of pizza and fountain drinks.
The Gameyard's LAN gaming center fuels hours of video vision quests with multiple platforms and custom gaming PCs. Terrorize alien terrorists on gaming consoles loaded with titles for Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii. Challenge friends on 11 custom gaming PCs, powered by NVidia graphics cards and boasting 19- to 23-inch LCD monitors crisp enough to make hedgehogs appear dangerously huggable. Digital samurais do battle from comfy chairs beneath bright graffiti murals that span The Gameyard's cyborg-friendly sanctuary.
A stay-at-home mom founded Chicago TreeHouse, a 7,700-square-foot indoor ?unplugged? play space free of any distracting video games or other electronics. The play area is outfitted with slides, swings, bridges, and a multilevel climbing structure, and a soft basketball court allows kids to practice shooting hoops within eyesight of parents or guardians lounging in leather seating. During birthday parties, groups of kids can take advantage of amenities such as pizza, balloons, and lemonade. For everyday nourishment, TreeHouse?s full-service cafe replenishes energy with healthy bites such as veggies, yogurt, and cheese while parents enjoy more adult fare, such as sandwiches, salads, soups, and Zingerman?s Coffee.