Aboard the motor coach, Anderson Cooper sank lower in his seat, grinning and pulling his hat over his eyes as a friendly rapper called him out by name. But this rapper wasn't on-board the coach. Instead, he was spitting his rhymes from the sidewalk outside, performing for an audience on one of The Ride's interactive New York City tours. Though unique, Mr. Cooper's experience has been shared by hundreds of other famous personalities, tourists, and locals. Floor-to-ceiling windows cover the entire right side and roof of each of The Ride's custom built-motor coaches, breaking the fourth wall as they ensure that not only can passengers view the city, but the city can look back in. Due to their popularity, The Ride's tours have been chronicled by media outlets such as New York Live, Good Morning America, and The Today Show.
As each motor coach embarks on its tour through 4.2 miles of Midtown, guides encourage group participation with song, dance, and question-and-answer sessions, much like any good meeting with a tax accountant. With the aid of 40 plasma monitors displaying images and historical information, they also divulge facts about landmarks such as Central Park, 42nd Street, and Grand Central Station. As the bus travels alongside famous buildings and city sidewalks, passengers encounter a range of characters. Some are regular New Yorkers, but others are company performers in disguise. Rappers, dancers, singers, and actors leap from the crowd to entertain their mobile audiences with impromptu live routines, and sometimes pull audience members into the show. Surround-sound stereo, wireless microphones, and external speakers allow audiences to hear the performances from their seats, unlike pedestrians outside, who have to hop on a neighbor's shoulders to get a better view.
An indoor family-entertainment center, The Lost City invites fun seekers young and old to enjoy a wide range of gaming venues, including a sprawling laser-tag arena, an indoor mini-golf course, an arcade, and a Highway 66 mini-bowling alley. Lasers fly through fog and atmospheric lighting within a multilevel laser-tag arena that spans 5,000 square feet. Participants wear vests and wield phasers as they rack up scores that are then recorded on their individual scorecards. The Lost City?s nine-hole mini-golf course has a Gobi Desert theme, complete with palm trees, pyramids, and camels. To continue a competitive night with friends, head to the 10-pin bowling lanes, which switch between classic woodgrain and a black-lit road theme, or guests can challenge their hand-eye coordination at an arcade with air hockey and redemption games.
Nickel City Games boasts a miniature metropolis of more than 100 video, arcade, and redemption games, which obey their players' skillful hands for one nickel per play. Arcade athletes compete for prize bounties at redemption games such as skee-ball and basketball, which beget bright ribbons of tickets to be exchanged for hundreds of family-friendly baubles. Meanwhile, retrophiles oust invading pixel populations free of charge in classic arcade games such as Pac-Man, Contra, and Street Fighter. Staffers at an expansive snack bar proffer plates overflowing with hearty pizzas, fries, and chili, as a customizable party room hosts themed celebrations for children and round-table negotiations between rival Mortal Kombat characters.
Paradise Park started its life as a simple miniature-golf course in 1992. Since then, the park has grown with Lee's Summit, mirroring the suburb's population growth with additions that have turned it into a sprawling temple to family fun. Outdoors, guests can still show off their putts and best gopher impressions on the miniature-golf course, or head over to the go-kart track to face off against fellow drivers on a 1,000-foot road-inspired course. Inside the park's huge indoor area, kids play and learn at the Children's Edutainment Center or blast each other with air-propelled balls at the Foam Factory. A game room harks back to the arcades of old with token-fed classics such as Ms. Pac-Man, as well as offering new amusements including a SpongeBob SquarePants game.
Located inside the Poughkeepsie Galleria, Vendetta Paintball and Laser Combat challenges players to technologically advanced games of laser tag and paintball on a 22,000-square-foot indoor field. Designed to mimic live-action games of Call of Duty or Halo, Battlefield Live laser tag manufactures adrenaline with real-time hit feedback, realistic special effects, and equipment that can simulate 69 different weapons, ranging from AK-47s to banana-cream pies. The facility’s professional-grade indoor PSP paintball field lets gamers improve their hand-eye coordination while simultaneously turning rivals into walking tie-dyed targets.
At Rich City Skate, enthusiastic staffers emphasize the athletic benefits and sheer fun of skating. Kaleidoscopic washes of red, yellow, and blue sheathe the voluminous facility, which houses a sprawling hardwood arena. Skaters soar in circles while mustering the courage to hold their sweetheart’s hand or knock the fez off a nemesis' head. Clacking billiard balls pair with the bleeps and bloops of arcade games in the food court, which serves all-beef hot dogs and fizzy sodas. Skating lessons are also available, instructing beginners on the proper posture, basic technique, and how the rise of roller skates came to render horses obsolete.