What’s to Love: We recently had a birthday party for our oldest son at Ultrazone, Portland’s best laser tag venue. After a delightful experience with their party planner, staff, and facility, I must agree with their moniker. The entire experience from start to finish was well organized and fun for all. Just be warned, if you’re a parent playing with kids, you have no chance of winning a game. The kids will follow you around and tag you every chance they get! It’s a venue where adults and kids can play safely together.
Granted, I probably had a poor game strategy, but the kids were relentless about shutting me down. When tagged, your laser cannot fire for a short period of time. During that down time, kids would get in line to take me out. The kids at the party swarmed the two-story arena like ants in an ant farm, and most of the time, they seemingly appeared out of nowhere.
The party planning was super easy. About a week before our event, I received a call from Ultrazone’s party-planner. We brought our own cake, but everything else was part of the package including pizza from Pizza Schmizza. All the party details were worked out in advance, and there were absolutely no unpleasant surprises before, during, or after the party.
The party format was ideal and worked well for our large group. We started off with a game of laser tag, followed by pizza, then a second game of laser tag, followed by cake. This works well because the kids were so excited to play a game right away. It would have been hard to keep them waiting. For a glimpse into the action, check-out their video, which provides a nice overview of the experience.
Caveats: Their birthday party package covers up to eight participants, two games of laser tag, two large pizzas, party host and room, and free soda. Additional participants will cost $20 each. An additional pizza will be included for each additional four participants.
Most likely, you will not have the laser tag arena solely for your group, because up to 36 people can play at one time. Party participants will interact with other groups for any particular game. If your group is big, you may have to split participants among one or more teams. I was concerned about this, but it wasn’t a big deal at all.
Distance from Portland: Here is a Google Map.
Recommended Ages: This is an activity that can entertain a wide variety of age groups. It’s recommended for ages 7 through adult. Kids who are 6 years might be okay with adult supervision. You may want to discuss this with your party planner. My 6-year old was fine, but it’s dark, it’s pretty loud, and sometimes, rather chaotic. Also note that if you’re an adult in the arena, you must wear a vest and participate in the game.
Parental Stress Factor: Very low stress, if you’re there for a party, Ultrazone makes everything easy!
Physical Difficulty: Another reason to be cautious with kids 6 and under is the size and weight of the vests, which might be uncomfortable for some small kids. Since there is no running in the arena, the physical difficulty is not much of an issue.
Family Fun Factor: A fun activity for the whole family. My wife didn’t play either game, but I think she wanted to get into the action!
Weather Considerations: Perfect rainy day activity, and Ultrazone is open year round.
Insider Info: If you have a birthday party, plan on two hours, which was the perfect amount of time. They have a pretty good collection of video games, but tokens are not included in the party package. If you want to have games included, they can arrange that beyond the price of the party package. Therefore, if you don’t want your kids whining about playing video games, bring some extra cash for games.
Up to 36 players can be in the laser tag arena for a game. They do not close the arena off during parties, so expect to be in with other groups. I thought this would be a big deal, but the place is big enough to make this a non-issue. However, your best chance to get the arena to yourself would be on a Sunday morning (11am) right as they open.
Other Posts of Interest...
Opal Creek - Family Workshops on September 7th, 2009
Pier Park: Disc Golf, Skateboarding and Swimming on September 27th, 2009
The Little Gym - Birthday Party on June 5th, 2012