The sounds of cheery competition float across Grand Slam USA's 30,000-square-foot arena, which teems with athletic challenges, a vibrant bounce houses, and other diversions. A glow-in-the-dark miniature-golf course leads putters through nine holes of ominous pirate-themed obstacles, including a ramp into a skull's jaws, a hole fraught with sharks, and perilous unswabbed decks. Adrenaline-soaked games of laser tag lead beam duelers through mazes, around partitions, and over platforms, where they rack up points for hitting special targets and rivals. At the end of each bout, players receive individual score cards that detail high scores and lines flubbed during MAS*H reenactments.
In a go kart, you're much closer to the source of horsepower than when you're riding in a car. All that invisible force leaps to life when you hit the accelerator, gently pushing you back into the seat. Drivers at Lehigh Valley Grand Prix feel that pull as they whip around a quarter-mile racetrack in gas-powered Sodi GT5 Proline karts. They slip past one another while making 11 brake-stomping turns, all with a vantage point not afforded by watching races on TV.
The karts feature air-intake units that trap their exhaust and keep the atmosphere fresh, and the track—constructed from 1,300 used Goodyear tires and the shredded remains of Mario Andretti's learner's permit—is outfitted with three observation platforms for track marshals to regulate each lap and guarantee riders' safety. Three-point safety belts, roll bars, helmets, and neck braces also protect racers during their white-knuckle trips around the track. A full-time mechanic keeps finish lines crowded by calibrating karts to run within three-tenths of a second of one another and hanging hundreds of piñatas from the checkered flag. At the facility's bar, Octane, racers can refuel with drinks and food while watching stock-car races on the five 42-inch TVs.
Kids and parents alike become adventuresome at HappyTymes Family Fun Center with a slew of whimsical rides and rip-roaring games. Kids can get their first lesson in driver's etiquette on the thundering go-kart course before putting evasive techniques to work on the twirling, spinning slime-buckets ride. After harnessing a reserved sense of accomplishment achieved only after putting one's way through a mini-golf course's myriad challenging obstacles, children can hop on HappyTyme's space train, rumored to be NASA's upcoming replacement for the shuttle. Youngsters may continue to gain useful experience for life's later challenges by tackling the rock wall before practicing a stress-relieving spending spree with their 100 game tokens.
Playdrome knows that true zen happiness lies within the de-verticalizing of wooden pins using a tri-holed, weighted orb. As such, it offers bowling at a number of clean and modern facilities throughout the Philadelphia area. Both the Cherry Hill and the Rose Bowl alleys sport 36 lanes, while the Devon location has 24 lanes. Playdrome's 10-pin terrains provide automatic scoring, plasma TVs, and comfortable seating, with bumpers available for all lanes. Turkey tossers looking for a new challenge can try Playdrome's Future Bowl, where glow-in-the-dark balls get hurled down a fog-covered lane crisscrossed with laser lights and disco-ball sparkles. This Groupon is not valid for "Back to the Future" bowling, where you attempt to throw the bowling ball hard enough for it to travel back in time, ensuring that your parents kiss at the "Enchantment Under the Sea" dance before you cease to exist.
Mid Atlantic Grand Prix's indoor track brings to life dreams of zipping along Monte Carlo or the Circuit of The Americas—just on a smaller scale. Drivers aged 8 and older strap on helmets and man the wheel of their go-karts, covering up to 6 miles during each eight-minute ride. In addition to drop-in races, the facility also hosts bachelor parties, birthday fetes, and other group outings.
That Bounce Place enthralls energetic tykes with more than 13,000 square feet of space brimming with bouncy attractions and abundant games and activities. Feet shielded by mandatory socks launch into the air on bouncers, obstacle courses challenge puzzle-solving capacities, and a massive inflatable slide challenges Olympic luge records. A big-screen television broadcasts favorite shows, an air-hockey table officiates competitions with puck-smacking peers, and complimentary WiFi enables guardians to relax while their children play. An exclusive toddler arena opens the gates to its age-appropriate toys only for those who know the secret abridged version of the ABCs. That Bounce Place's party packages simplify birthday planning with perks such as time in a private room, party supplies, and pizza.