With paintball gear on, 10,000 sq. ft. can seem like a vast jungle. Specifically, one where the animals have figured out how to operate paintball markers. The outdoor paintball arena at Celebration Station hosts friendly competitions between players of all skill level, who fire salvos from behind obstacles. That competitive zone only makes up a small portion of the fun, however. Outside alone, visitors find a towering rock-climbing wall, batting cages, and a go-kart track that twists and turns across a quarter mile. Bumper boats collide nearby, while waterfalls cascade down the landscapes of an 18-hole mini-golf course.
Arcade tokens take over indoors, where 100 games present visitors with a challenging dilemma: should they master every one of the racing simulators, or take a break for a game of laser tag? Luckily, they can ponder their choices over a meat lovers pizza at the onsite restaurant.
Through the haze of orange smoke bombs, a paintballer sets his sights on an opponent hiding behind a gutted helicopter before taking on others in a fort, leaving its wooden slats with freshly glistening paintball splatter. On more than 56 acres of varying terrain comprising 12 courses, players such as these negotiate the wooded ghost town of West World, the bombed-out automobiles of Black Hawk Down, or the fenced-in speedball court populated with large, inflatable obstacles. Throughout the imaginative battlefields, paintballers slink through elevated lookouts or cross streams over platform bridges and weave through forests while trying out their best tree imitations. The fields also play host to tournaments and a variety of themed games and can be booked for bachelor parties, youth-group events, and corporate team-building outings.
One might assume that 40 acres of meadowland in Parker, Texas, carries a certain tranquility and peacefulness. That is, unless, that chunk of land has been transformed into a gigantic battleground for paintball wars. Fort Paintball has done just that, divvying up its real estate into nine fields, highlighted by 5- and 10-man Lego fields and a Big Game field. On the expansive fields, competitors duck behind oil barrels and massive spools, dodging shots and acorns launched by squirrels who want to get in on the action. Players can either strap on their own gear or utilize rental packages that include guns, rounds, and masks.
At Collin County Paintball Park, teams go to head-to-head in paint-slinging combat during weekend open-play sessions outdoors. As players simulate the drama of warfare, they duck behind trees, forts, and larger teammates while trying to escape colorful pellets shot by the opposing team. A watchful referee moderates each game to make sure players adhere to field rules and play safely. In addition to public open-play games, groups of 10 or more can rent the park for events, birthdays, and other private parties. Collin County Paintball Park is a field-paint-only facility and does not allow players to bring in their own paintballs or liquefied Picassos
When players take a tumble or dive at Gatsplat, they’re cushioned by the same stuff that protects NFL players from harm. Both of Gatsplat’s indoor paintball fields are padded by NFL-quality Astroturf, but these are not the only safety measures the staff puts in place. Professional referees keep watch over games, as opposed to off-duty clowns looking to score some free face paint. Players are also divided by experience level, and standard 68-caliber markers can be swapped out for lighter-weight 50-caliber markers so kids as young as six can play.
The 26,000-square-foot climate-controlled facility also has a comfortable viewing area with wide windows for non-players to keep an eye on the action. Free wireless internet access and a wide-screen television keep them occupied, and between games, players and non-players can discuss strategy or compare paint splatters as they snack at picnic tables.
Littered with paint-splattered cars, barrels, and spools, the four fields of Hunt County Paintball host players as they sneak through tall grasses and dodge incoming pellets. After gearing up by the picnic tables of their own covered staging area, participants take to the field with trusty Tippman A5 rental markers in-hand. Refs oversee every round to ensure fair play, and even gather first-timers before the game to go over the sport's ground rules and sanctioned victory dances. Though it specializes in private group sessions and tournaments, Hunt County Paintball also welcomes walk-ins during open-play sessions on the second Sunday of every month.