Even before it burned down, the neighborhood kids referred to the Ghastley family's home as Monster Manor. The whispers around town said the Ghastley family suffered under a 300-year-old curse; the creepy demeanor of the family themselves did them no favors.
When the manor burned down, neighbors thought they could breathe easy, but every fall, the house seems to emerge from the ashes as dark and ominous as it ever was. Some who approach the house run away, frightened by the stench of gasoline in the air and the screaming and moaning emanating from within. Yet every fall, a few folks who are brave or simply full of Popeye's spinach actually enter in order to find out what really happened to the Ghastleys.
What began in 2001 as a simple haunt at someone's home now requires a 4,000-square-foot tent to contain all the terror. Monster Manor, whose proceeds benefit multiple local charities, is completely run by more than 200 volunteers. Among these volunteers are TV and theater professionals, who create a high-quality haunt, as well as area high school students, who earn community service hours in return for their work.
An enormous arena constructed from stretchy trampolines is the centerpiece of Rockin' Jump, a facility dedicated to the bouncing arts. In other parts of the elastic playground, jumpers can zig and zag during games of dodgeball or vault off a trampoline launch pad into a huge pit of soft foam blocks, which was voted more appealing than a snake pit.
Though fun is the goal, safety is key at Rockin' Jump. In addition to ample padding and netting around the trampolines, trained Jump Patrol monitors prevent overcrowding and unsafe jumping. With private party areas, the springy playground is an ideal venue for kids' birthday celebrations and other special events.
When drivers are whipping around the four hairpin turns at Speed Circuit and accelerating up to 40 miles per hour down the straightaways, it suddenly seems obvious that professional racers designed the layout. Both the quarter-mile, indoor, asphalt track and the soft tires of the go-karts wear a specialized sealant that helps eliminate the need for brakes when drivers are taking corners at high speeds. The mini vehicles also feature 6.5-horsepower, gas-powered Honda engines and electronic lap timers that allow drivers to survey their personal bests and determine how long it would take to drive to Australia. Safety is of the utmost concern, which is why a track manager and several marshals monitor each race, and why the course boasts bright blue and yellow protection barriers.
For guests seeking off-the-track thrills, a 5,000-square-foot laser-tag maze at the Miramar location pits teams against one another on a foggy, obstacle-filled battleground. The facility also hosts parties and corporate events.
You've probably heard this phrase before, or at least something to its effect: "Back in my day, that cost a nickel." Decades ago, just about everything ran five cents, from candy bars to bus rides. Of course, anywhere you go today, that simply isn't the case?anywhere, that is, except for Nickel City Fun Center.
Nickel City operates almost exclusively on nickels. Inside the 15,000-square-foot space, visitors can play more than 100 games by inserting the coin that features Thomas Jefferson's only selfie. They can top high scores in pinball, zip goals past air hockey opponents, or even conquer ticket-redemption games and trade their paper winnings in for prizes. In addition to all its games, Nickel City also features four Highway 66-themed miniature bowling lanes with automatic scoring and bumpers. The best part: players don't have to wear special shoes or hover above the lanes on a magic carpet?they can just step up and start bowling.