There’s just something kids love about water balloons. Perhaps it’s the adult-sanctioned ability to throw something at another person. Or maybe it’s the simple act of getting soaking wet on a hot day. Whatever the attraction is, Crackerjax nails it.
But, I’m getting a little ahead of myself. I recently found myself in an unusual position. I suddenly had a houseful of boys – my two sons and two sons of family friends – to care for. Their ages span from 4 to 14, which means playing video games in our small playroom was entertaining for only so long. Enter Crackerjax. The North Scottsdale amusement center turned out to be my saving grace.
With both indoor and outdoor amusements, it’s perfect for spending time and burning energy year-round, although during summer months, you should get there early to enjoy a game of miniature golf before it gets too hot. After a quick game in which it was immediately clear that none of us were very good players (I literally hit a ball out of the park, which is a good thing only when you’re playing baseball), we got to the stuff the boys really wanted to do: go-karts.
Our age – and height – mix turned out to work really well for our group. The two older boys, 10 and 14, went over to the big go-karts while the younger two, 4 and 8, headed over to the smaller Jax Trax. Kids who are just missing the height requirement to drive one of the big go-karts, may be tall enough to ride as a passenger with someone who is at least 18. That’s what we did, although the discovery that I wasn’t very good made for a slightly boring ride for my kiddo.
One of the center’s unique attractions is the bumper boats. The kids revved up small boats and cooled off by driving them underneath the waterfall (note to self: Next time, bring towels).
For one price, you get a wristband that includes each of those activities, but there’s also the option to check out a few other fun attractions, including the aforementioned water balloons. These aren’t the water balloons you remember from your childhood. For $5, competitors can enter Water Wars and get 12 balloons to shoot at their opponents using a water balloon launcher. Again: The perfect remedy for a hot Scottsdale day, but not so perfect for your car’s seats.
Crackerjax also offers batting cages, laser tag, arcade and the Bungy Dome, in which you can leap up to 30 feet in the air. And with a restaurant inside, you can sit down for a bite to eat before heading back outside for more fun or staying cool in the arcade. Insider tip: Laser tag doesn’t open until noon, so there’s plenty of time to hit the attractions before it gets too hot and head inside for a game.
By the time we left, the boys were spent, and most of them were still wet. Next time, I’ll just be sure to bring the towels.