European Formula EK20 karts whiz by on Pole Position Raceway’s quarter-mile track, cruising at speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. Spectators crank their heads to keep up. There’s no wind to battle against, no sun blinding the drivers’ eyes, and no birds rigging the race by dropping smoke bombs because all of Pole Position Raceway’s competitions happen inside. This is thanks to a fleet of electric-powered karts, which accelerate more quickly and hug curves more smoothly than gas-powered karts without dumping out clouds of exhaust.
To sate speed cravings, drivers simply arrive and drive—show up and nab one of 13 spots in the next race. Then with a DOT-approved racing helmet, they push the pedal to the floor for roughly 10 minutes, drafting their opponents to fly past them near the finish line. At the end of each race, drivers receive a SpeedSheet that displays their race results, fastest lap time, and the likelihood of getting their own action-movie franchise. For those seeking to dive deep into the world of racing, Pole Position Raceway offers driving clinics and youth racing camps, where younger racers pilot EK10 karts that peak at 20 mph.
While chatting on the phone with a friend, Katrina Uhls had a startling realization: her kids had been playing video games for hours. She discovered that by effectively “unplugging” her kids, she could steer them toward more creative, introspective pastimes.
Now, as the owner of Unpluggits Playstudio, she fosters a safe, welcoming space where all kids can "unplug" and explore their artistic sides. Kids will find shelves stocked with play-doh, stamps, stencils, and other craft supplies. They can don smocks and wield nontoxic paints at miniature easels. Paint’n take projects give them personalized crafts to take home, such as picture frames and piggy banks useful for saving up to buy new toys or a gold-plated piggy bank. For more active playtime pursuits, kids can gambol toward the indoor playground, which features slides, a pirate ship, and air-hockey tables.
As kids explore the 3,000-square-foot studio, parents are welcome to cruise free WiFi or monitor tykes from the snack bar, which serves freshly ground organic coffee, juices, and soda. Special workshops open the space for toddler-specific activities, adults-only craft time, and parents' nights out.
HeyDay Family Fun provides activities, games, and family fun for all ages. On an indoor ropes course, harnessed climbers traverse balance beams and bridges suspended far above the large arcade. From that vantage point, patrons get a bird's eye view of their rivals' air-hockey strategies or watch slick masses of horsepower slip around corners on Need for Speed and Fast and Furious racing games. In the two-level, 7,000-square-foot laser-tag arena, walls of swirling fog close tightly around warriors as they hide under bridges and dodge behind illuminated pillars. The noise of good-natured combat drifts faintly out over 18 holes of mini golf littered with waterfalls, streams, sand traps, and rugged outdoorsmen trying to live off sand.
DoubleDave's Pizzaworks, an onsite family-friendly restaurant and sports bar, quells protesting tummies between games with a menu of strombolis, wings, sandwiches, and hand-tossed pizzas made with fresh-daily dough. HeyDay Family Fun also offers birthday party and group packages.
Gatti-town’s all-you-can-eat buffet feeds the fires in gamers’ bellies with an unlimited downpour of more than 40 edible options. Pile tongues with aisles of entrees that include pizzas, pastas, salads, cheese sticks, cinnamon sticks, and desserts such as the dutch apple treat pizza ($3.99–$6.99 per person for buffet plus $0.99–$1.49 each for beverages). Big-screen TVs in the dining rooms begin stuffing brains with entertainment to prepare them for a smorgasbord of automated amusement.
In Oklahoma City's only venue for hockey puction, the Barons deliver all the careening athleticism and bracing environment of the major leagues, while serving as a developmental arm for the NHL's Edmonton Oilers. Tickets in the blue section ($21) at the Cox Convention Center downtown lend lofty views of the Barons as they take their inaugural sojourn through the American Hockey League. Since the team is new, all fans are new, providing a handy excuse when you keep confusing the hockey puck for a cat, but the Groupon's included T-shirt (available in size XL) and discount at the team store ushers each man, woman or child one step closer to superfandom with team-appropriate garb.
Reliant Stadium’s titanic venue, home to the Houston Texans and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, covers 125,000 square feet of sporting ground. The facility is the first in NFL history to have a retractable roof, which sightseers can view from the field during public gridiron tours. While strolling across Reliant’s stadium floor, fans can relive their favorite memories of Super Bowl XXXVIII, or search every nook and cranny for John Madden’s lost bus keys.