Terrapin Adventures never fails to live up to its name—even their swing set gets the stomach fluttering with excitement. To be fair, though, the swing in question is anything but the traditional apparatus you'd find at a city park. It seats three people and starts its trajectory 40 feet above the ground, generating 2Gs of force as it swishes riders back and forth over the landscape. The park's other attractions are equally exhilarating. On the high ropes course, visitors attached to sturdy safety harnesses cross 18 traverses situated between lofty platforms; some must be tackled via a rickety bridge, while others require leaps of faith. The 43-foot high climbing tower offers 10 routes up and down, including a head-first downward climb over the Rainbow Serpent. Otherwise, the 330-foot-long zipline sends visitors gliding through the treetops at speeds of up to 20 mph, fast enough to beat the USA track team's star squirrel.
This sort of deft dodging is required at the 5,000-square-foot arena in Owings Mills. Teams compete in one of ten missions during each game of Frontal Assault tactical laser tag, which are inspired by popular video games such as Call of Duty and Battlefield.
The snack bar at XP Laser Sport reenergizes players with Polar Shock slushies and personal pizzas. Meanwhile, windmills, loops, and carousels obstruct the path of LED mini-golf balls tumbling down the nine-hole indoor course. The facility's projection screens broadcast the latest angry faces of professional sports coaches, and two 25-foot screens let up to eight guests compete in Xbox 360 games such as Mortal Kombat.
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 multi-level arena that, much like a spring-break DJ?s apartment, is always flooded with black light and fog. Before separating more than 66 players into mulitple 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 and a snack area.
It's not enough for the inflatable jungle gyms at Marley Bounce Party to cushion kids' bouncing feet; they also have to tickle their imaginations. In one circular bounce house, cushy palm trees and dinosaurs whisk kiddos to the prehistoric tropics. Four turrets surround a castle-style house, where tykes can careen down one of two slides while pretending to flee from a Medieval dragon or a somewhat more intelligent Enlightenment-era dragon, all while three new bouncers keep everyone safe. In addition to its plush playgrounds, Marley Bounce Party offers two party rooms that can host up to 25 kids and their parents, as well as a baby-changing station and cold drinks and juices available for purchase.
As summer turns to fall, the 200-year-old Nightmare Manor opens its doors to scare-seeking guests. Inside, actors portraying the spirits of the Manor's former residents who died in a tragic fire frighten explorers with detailed scenes and special effects as they transverse a series of rooms and surrounding property that would strike fear into the heart of any human, whether dead or undead. In addition to this macabre attraction, Nightmare Manor also houses an outdoor theater, bungee run, and bonfire.
Go-Kart Track is precisely what it sounds like?an outdoor go-kart track designed for drivers and passengers of nearly all ages. Broken up into six-lap sessions, each turn on the windy track lets visitors put the pedal to the metal as they hug corners and zip past stacks of tires, which serve as a reminder to the go-karts what happens to them if they misbehave.
Open on weekends year-round, plus weekdays from March??September, Go-Kart Track hosts single- and double-kart races both during the day and beneath the lights and the moon's rubbernecking at night. Visitors ages 8 and older and 54 inches or taller can drive the single carts; however, only visitors ages 18 and up can pilot a double kart, but kids as young as 3 can ride along.