In 2005, Jason Williams and Ken Faught assembled a team of experienced racers and designers to create the driving experience at Pole Position Raceway. Williams, a motocross racer since 1984, and Faught, a three-time land-speed record holder at the Bonneville Salt Flats, recruited professional drivers Kurt Busch and Jeremy McGrath to help their engineers. They reimagined every detail of the track from the ground up, creating indoor courses that balance the grip of asphalt with the swervy fun of polished, concrete slick tracks. Pole Position?s Formula EK20 Pro Karts rumble over the track powered by 18-horsepower motors (nearly triple that of average gas karts), which reach speeds up to 45 miles per hour without filling the temperature-controlled arenas with fumes.
After the first Pole Position Raceway opened in Corona, California, it soon spawned 14 locations stretching to the Atlantic. Technicians maintain the fleet via handheld computers, and top drivers are regularly sent out to evaluate karts? handling and reading comprehension. During races, up to 12 guests compete in contests that last about 10 minutes.
Laser Quest's mazelike, multi-level arena lets up to 30 players weave through the clouded fog with the grace of a skydiving basket-maker—taking cover behind barriers, swooping around corners, and raining beam-bolts down from the upper decks. Players can compete either as friendly teams or as lone wolves. Once they are surrounded by intense crossfire rarely seen outside of stormtrooper raves, players must use strategy, stamina, and well-timed hand-mirror shields to defeat the opposition.
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.
Across nearly three-fourths of the United States, AMF Bowling Co. reverberates year-round as families, friends, and competitors send bowling balls in search of upright pins careening down slick lanes. The company first established itself as an industry leader in 1946, the same year the sport introduced automated pinspotters.
Today, more than 20 million bowlers annually make AMF their battleground for wars against pins. As the largest owner and and operator of bowling centers in the US, AMF locations offer high-tech scoring technology, a classic design, and a menu stocked with American-inspired classics such as wings, pizzas, burgers, and beer.
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.