Movable walls, luminous rocks, mirrors, ramps, and unexpected dead ends. These are just a few of the obstacles players face at Ultrazone Laser Tag, a two-level, 5,000-square-foot arena that, much like a spring-break DJ’s apartment, is always flooded with black light and fog. Before separating up to 36 players into three teams and setting them loose in the arena, a game master delivers rules and moves teammates to the vesting room, where they grab laser guns and flashing vests. As the beat of pulsing music hammers the arena, players stream into the field, launching beams at opponents and attempting to seize their strongholds. When players are hit they aren't eliminated from the action; a computer keeps a running tally of points throughout the mission and awards champion status to the team with the highest count after the game. The facility also includes an arcade packed with video games as well as air-hockey tables, pinball, and a snack area.
Portland Aquarium, a December 2012 addition to Milwaukie, introduces visitors to thousands of waterborne species. Guests can slide their hands along the smooth flesh of a stingray or the knobby arms of a starfish or engage in staring contests with a blacktip reef shark. Other planned exhibits include a jellyfish exhibit, a cold-water tank filled with fish native to Oregon's coast, and a rainforest-themed jungle gym for children. The tropical touch-tank woos visits with its displays of vibrant-color aquatic life while amphibious wonders, including poison dart frogs, thrill visitors. Those seeking bigger thrills may hoist various pythons species–including a15-foot reticulated or 9-foot albino burmese snake–upon their shoulders or get their picture taken with macaw parrot. Landing-loving iguanas and panter chameleons also lurch around in the mix.
In JJ Extreme territory, a girl wearing a harness is suspended from the ceiling by a rope and swings back and forth, her squeals carrying throughout the space. Elsewhere, her brothers also wear harnesses as they race one another, running toward a basketball hoop and hoping to make a shot before a bungee cord pulls them each backward across a soft, inflatable mat. Here at JJ Jump and JJ Extreme, each location sprawls over more than 4,000 square feet and teems with inflatable challenges and bouncing joy for children. JJ Jump’s jousting arena settles sibling rivalries in a civilized and laugh-filled fashion, and giant slides teach children about the effects of gravity and hair’s weakness against it as they safely soar toward the ground. Each facility also boasts a creative play zone that eschews bouncing for a while and is ripe with construction toys and a stage where children can let their imaginations run wild.
Milwaukie Bowl welcomes pin-thirsty bowlers with 16 smooth, shiny lanes that feature automatic scoring systems instead of the usual abacuses. The open-bowling package fits up to six sphere slingers with rental shoes and two hours of striking-and-sparing action, and bumper-equipped lanes are available to encourage players gripped by gutterfear. While waiting for the underground employees to return their balls after each roll, bowlers can replenish their pin-sniping skills at the full-service beer bar. Dave Husted’s Inside Line ProShop provides visitors with all the gear necessary for pitching a perfect game.
Nestled beneath the luminous beacon of its old-timey marquee, the Clinton Street Theater cements its status as Portland’s oldest continuously running independent film house with a rotating slate of foreign films, documentaries, and cult classics. Weekly screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Repo: The Genetic Opera draw fervent cultists dressed as their favorite characters and boom-mic operators, complementing screenings of splattery horror flicks with thought-provoking opera from rising and renowned auteurs. The cylindrical glow from a whirring projector jets across the Clinton’s spacious theater, illumining arrivals from such directors as Sidney Lumet and Gus Van Sant, who is notorious for instructing his actors to break character midfilm to challenge texting film-goers to bare-knuckle brawls.
Jump for Joy's 27-acre grounds enchant urban farmers, equestrians, and nature lovers alike with a recreational organic farm, stables, and other natural-educational amenities. The full-service equestrian center, in addition to boarding horses, offers riding lessons and horse camps in which riders of all ages can master horse-powered transit and learn the slight dialect differences between speaking Horse and Donkey. Throughout the grounds, visitors can wander through a natural wetlands system, wild-bird habitat, and blueberry orchard in addition to other sustainable-homesteading amenities. Kids delve into the natural world at birthday parties on the farm and themed weeklong summer camps that impart skills on horse riding, organic farming, or ecology.
Players plugs gamers into a cavalcade of entertaining diversions while fueling competitive spirits with eats and drinks from a menu of pub mainstays. Satisfy pin-busting urges by bowling on one of 12 sleek lanes ($2–$4.75/game per person; $2.50/shoe rental). Each lane sports a massive flat-screen hovering above pins, helping bowlers catch the game while dominating their own opponents. Decamp to Players’ billiards lounge for lessons on trick shots, geometry, or the mating habits of eight-balls staged atop one of the contemporary pool tables ($8–$10/hr.). Players' bar and dining area basks under warm amber lights punctuated by the blue glow of 25 sports-affixed TV screens. Gab with old colleagues about advancements in office pranks over frothy brews (bottle $3.25–$4; draft $3.50–$4.50), goblets of vino ($5+), or one of 10 burgers ($8.99–$10.99). The under-21 set stays occupied in the 8 Ball Lounge, a youth-friendly hideaway packed with shuffleboard tables and sleek seating.