The buzz of motors rises and falls as bright-red blurs zip around the track at PGP Motorsports Park. Here, in the shadow of Mount Rainier, racers ages 15 and older loop around an 8/10-mile track at speeds of up to 48 miles per hour, leaning back in the ergonomic seats of Italian-built Birel N35 karts. The 30-foot-wide asphalt track can be altered to take on 12 different configurations and is centered in a velodrome, which puts spectators at an elevated angle so they get a good line of sight no matter where they sit.
For safety reasons, drivers should wear long sleeves and pants and closed-toe shoes. Drivers are equipped with helmets and driving suits, and since races take place rain or shine, they will also be provided with rain gear that includes waterproof gloves and booties.
From three locations, Family Fun Center & Bullwinkle's Restaurant foster lifelong memories for kids and their caretakers as they bond over bouts of miniature golf, laser-tag shootouts, and bumper-car derbies. Visitors taller than 58 inches challenge each other to go-kart races, while smaller thrill seekers practice Napoleonic siege techniques at the indoor fun fortress. Outside, human slingshots hurl visitors safely through the air in harnessed flights, and indoor rollercoaster simulators re-create the twists and turns of amusement-park rides or malfunctioning monorails. After perfecting swings at 18 holes of mini golf or 25-pitch batting cages, visitors chow down at the Bullwinkle-themed restaurant, feasting on crowd-pleasing park fare such as pizza, burgers, salads, wraps, and corn dogs. Attractions vary by location.
Shrieking giggles and scurrying feet fill Odyssey 1’s colorful confines, where tykes enjoy high-energy adventures in an indoor jungle gym, a space-age laser-tag arena, and a buzzing arcade center. Sock-clad kids aged 10 and younger can bound and climb through the jungle gym, which offers swings, slides, ball pits, and a cushy area designed for toddlers. Players dodge a barrage of futuristic beams in the laser-tag arena, open to guests aged 7 and older. Popular games including Guitar Hero and Connect Four await at the game center, where players can harvest tickets redeemable for fun prizes.
When the staff at Charlie's Safari claims to have the largest indoor play structure in the area, many will find it hard to argue with them as they look around the 22,000-square-foot jungle-themed facility. Here, kids scamper in, on, and around five levels of brightly-colored mazes and slides, air-filled bouncers, and a two-story laser tag arena. As kids unleash their imaginations, parents escape to their own lodge, secure in the knowledge that their children are being protected by the facility's Code ADAM safety system. Families can refuel at the on-site restaurant, which boasts housemade pizza sauce and corn dog batter. Charlie's Safari also hosts parties to celebrate children turning one year older and one year closer to being able to do their parents' taxes.
A gypsy rides through the crowd while standing upon two horses. Behind him follow more members of his troupe, who do back flips off their steeds and then regale spectators with fire breathing and juggling. Performed by the seventh-generation acrobats of Cavallo Equestrian Arts, this spectacle—called Ma'Ceo—often draws standing-room-only crowds every day during the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire. It's these kinds of glimpses into the Elizabethan era that fulfill the mission of bringing renaissance Europe to life. Turning the Kelley Farm into the Village of Merriwick, entertainers of all types, from courtiers to peasants, engage fairgoers with a range of acts. Flanked by her entourage, Queen Elizabeth travels through the streets, perhaps on her way to watch the jousters compete for her phone number, or perhaps to watch sprightly performers such as the Celtic fiddlers or the commedia troupe. Merchants peddle wares to passersby, talking up goods such as hand-forged weapons and armor, hand-tooled leather goods, and roasted turkey legs. Camel rides and bubble-filled buckets cater to kids, and adults can duck into two alehouses where quick-witted wenches pour draft microbrews and ciders. For guests who want to spend the whole weekend immersed in the renaissance festivities, organizers reserve a section of the grounds for tent and RV camping.