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.
The weather has a knack for ruining kids' leisure time, but it doesn't have to be that way. At Kids N Motion, kids scamper indoors in two rooms filled with inflatable playground equipment while remaining safe from thunderstorms, sweltering heat, and their own shadows. Parents can let loose too, knowing their kids are burning excess energy leaping in bounce houses, scrambling up and down inflatable obstacle courses, and careening down air-filled slides. Birthday parties are no exception to all that fun, with celebrants getting to sit in a bright-colored throne and blowing out a sparkler-style candle.
When Mike "Pev" Peverill?s teamed up with his brother Todd to build Pev's Paintball from the ground up, his driving force was to grant guests the chance to test their sense of strategy and adventure. This goal is achieved each day on his park's 48 acres of land boasting 12 different themed playing fields dappled with huts, log stacks, and other obstacles. The park is open to paintballers of all skill levels, and all customers receive an orderly safety briefing before they begin play, much like the gentlemanly crumpet and tea parties that prefaced each battle in the Revolutionary War.
Additionally, to ensure that grumbling stomachs don?t give hiding spots during paint-slinging battles, Pev?s offers a fully stocked and licensed onsite concession offers sustenance for battle-weary players.
The Adventure Park at Sandy Spring's 13 courses are color-coded by difficulty level, from yellow for beginners to double black diamonds for experts. They aren't ski trails, though—they're climbing challenges. More than 150 platforms adorn 5 acres of trees, which participants trek among by way of cable, wood, and rope bridges, as well as ziplines. A short safety briefing precedes all excursions, covering how to use the included gear and harnesses.
The park's main courses aren't the only place to test climbing skills. Over in the Monkey Grove, visitors can scale 10 trees fastened with the footholds and grips of a classic rock wall. Younger climbers, meanwhile, can explore The Labyrinth, a small, contained structure featuring more than 40 junior-sized versions of the park's other challenges. The courses illuminate on select Glow-in-the-Park evenings, when food, live music, and hoot-owl choruses await climbers upon their return to terra firma.
It?s 1:29 p.m. and the wave pool at Great Waves Waterpark has been calm for nine minutes. The mood on the surface, however, is anything but. An anticipatory energy has been transmitted through the water as sunbathers migrate from the sun deck, giddy youngsters from the various kids? areas, and thrill seekers from one of the park?s waterslides. The anticipation ends at 1:30 p.m. when three 80-horsepower motors begin to churn the large fans that whip the pool?s 475,000 gallons of water into waves as high as four feet for 10 minutes. This increment of waves?10 minutes on, 10 minutes off?runs like clockwork at the 20-acre facility, which also features dry attractions such as miniature golf, batting cages, and grassy areas for practicing the backstroke.
In addition to offering sun-soaked thrills of simulated waves, the park's Paradise Play boasts 30-foot slides, pogo sticks, rock walls, and a non-aqueous playground area. A faux beach with sand invites revelers to unwind while snacking on a funnel cake purchased from Riptide Caf?, while a nearby play pool with pint-sized slides lets little riders get into the summertime mix. After a full day of sliding and swimming, guests may purchase souvenirs from the Shark Shack gift shop.
Many of the Northern Virginia Regional Parks feature sparkling springs, rolling countryside, and wooded trails. Others, however, feature 230-feet waterslides and giant plastic mermen. That?s because NOVA Parks includes a handful of recreational splash havens with towering slides, giant dumping buckets, and pristine pools.
Each waterpark is characterized by its own theme and unique whimsical d?cor, from the massive parrot that watches over Pirate's Cove to the lofty palm trees and grass huts that speckle Volcano Island. The latter location even boasts a landscaped mini golf course with 18 holes and challenging obstacles. All of the parks feature their own snack bars, where servers sling kid-friendly treats such as funnel cakes showered in sweet powdered sugar and popsicles with homework answers written on the sticks.