Sam Hatfield honed his gunsmithing skills in one of the most elite units in the US Army: the US Army Marksmanship Unit. He crafted customized weapons for the men and women of the unit and now personalizes firearms for the general public. In addition to his customized guns, he and his staff offer training classes such as a NRA basic home-safety course. Visitors can also eschew guns altogether inside the simulator, which drops users into tense situations to let them hone their skills while safely under artificial fire.
The summer sun is shining, the chickadees are chirping, and the Northern Virginia sky is a dazzling azure blue—SplashDown Waterpark was made for days like today. The 13-acre water park, lauded as one of the best places to cool off in the area by Northern Virginia Magazine, abounds with aquatic attractions, including two four-story water slides.
Inflatable tubes meander down the park's 770-foot lazy river, and youngsters frolic through watery obstacle courses. Over in the 25-meter lap pool, American Red Cross–certified instructors conduct private swim lessons, teaching students how to tread water and convince dolphins to carry them when that gets tiring. The park also features an array of eateries and concessions stands full of hamburgers, pizzas, and sugary funnel cakes.
From the long wooden bar at Mackey's American Pub, you can catch a sporting event, some karaoke, or even live music. But even without these draws, crowds would come simply for the pub eats: ribeye steaks glazed in bourbon, crab cake dinners, and burgers served with sauteed mushrooms on a bagel bun. Smoking is allowed on the first floor, though the second-floor stays smoke-free.
A 5,000-square-foot arena, shot through with day-glo shades of orange, green, and magenta, sets the stage for chromatic action at Laser Tag Manassas. Before taking the field, contestants get a thorough briefing on how to set their markers to photon and use the shield feature of their gear. That last feature?players get two shields per game, effectively blocking them for up to 10 seconds while they take cover or do a quick hand-jive?blends in an element of strategy lacking in many laser tag games. As teams target their opponents' base, they hide beneath clouds of fog or behind pillars. Between games, players burn off more energy in the arcade or bounce house, while their parents kick back in the wireless-internet enabled lounge.
Warm hardwood covers nearly every inch of Backyard Grill Restaurant’s dining room, with flat-screen televisions sparkling like glittering jewels all along the crown molding. Through these pixel-painted windows, diners glimpse sports action and beloved commercials from across the globe, taking in scored goals, touchdowns, and home runs side by side. Several times a week, arena events give way to electronic trivia nights, live music, and karaoke.
A gargantuan menu holds its own amid the onslaught of entertainment. Chefs use the whole United States and several other corners of the world as their pantry, adding Asian sweet chili or Mediterranean olives to seafood, piling North Carolina–style pork atop a barbecue sandwich, tossing andouille sausage into spicy creole jambalaya pasta, and gently waving an American flag over a bacon cheeseburger. The tot-friendly, easily scrubbed interior is capped by a kids' menu that ranges from grilled cheese to steak.