Remember how much fun hide-and-seek was when your kids hadn’t yet figured out every hiding spot in the house? Bringing them to a laser tag arena is one way to bring back the magic.
Laser tag is a game in which two teams play against each other with a phaser, a device that emits a red beam. When the beam hits your opponent, your team scores. And almost all places have automatic scoring.
The room will be dark, often with glowing paint on the walls, and gear includes a vest and/or headset that lights up when you get tagged. You can play side by side with youngsters. Older kids will probably want to roam on their own and sneak up on you when you least expect it!
Staff normally give a demonstration before each session, but even so, laser tag can be intimidating the first time around. Ryan McQuillen, former executive director of the International Laser Tag Association, offers the following tips:
- Make sure game marshals patrol the arena; one for every 20 players.
- Ask beforehand about equipment. Most kids can tolerate one pound of equipment per year of life.
- Go at an age-appropriate time. You won’t run into many teenagers at 10 am, or 5-year-olds at 8 pm.
Some arenas are very big and very dark, while others are small and geared toward younger children. Some separate guests by age. Those listed below are indoors and have walk-in hours, though many close to the public during parties, so call ahead.
BBGrandSlam, South Plainfield: 908-756-4446; Suggested min. age: 6.
Branchburg Sports Complex: 908-203-1600; Suggested min. age: 6.
Bridgewater Sports Arena: 732-627-0006; Min. age: 6.
Colonial Bowling, Lawrenceville: 609-882-7700; No min. age.
Funplex, East Hanover: 973-428-1166; Minimum age: 7.
Funtime America, Cliffwood: 732-583-4600; Height: 48”.
Funtime Junction, Fairfield: 973-882-97777; Suggested minimum age: 4.
iPlay America, Freehold Township: 732-577-8200; Suggested min. age/height for Cosmic Battle: 5/42”; no min. for Laser Frenzy.
Jersey Shore Arena, Wall: 732-919-7070; Min. age: 6.
Kid-Netic, Hamilton: 609-838-1881; Min. age: 5.
Laser One, Wantage: 973-702-0500; Minimum age: 6.
Laser Park, Princeton Junction: 609-936-1800; Suggested min. age: 5–7.
Space, Englewood: 877-772-2340; Minimum age: 7.
Central Jerseyan Renée Sagiv-Riebling is always on the lookout for family fun.