Bright lights, colorful games, laser tag, escape rooms, food and fun! The new Family Entertainment Center at Arenas Sports Issaquah has it all. (The second Family Entertainment Center is located at Arena Sports Mill Creek). We got a chance to visit the Issaquah location and my kids were thrilled to have a variety of activities to choose from.
Registration required: special experiences
Open the doors to a large facility (once the location of a fitness center) with employees greeting you right from the start to acquaint you with your many options for fun.
Walk-ins for the arcade and FunZone are welcome, but sign up at the front desk for open times to join a group for laser tag or to book a room for the golf simulation or escape rooms, located on the upper floor. The entertainment center can get crowded and busy, especially on school days off and weekends. It’s best to book special experiences ahead of time. The cost of these experiences varies between $14 and $20 per participant.
FunZone: Bounce houses
My kids are 9 and 11 and immediately gravitated to the arcade games. How could they not? With so many lights flashing and colors beaming through the room, it was easy to get distracted.
With some prodding and a promise to come back to play games, I was able to move them along to the other side of the building and down a hallway to the FunZone. And man…were these kids having fun! The crowd was much different. Young kids kicked off their shoes, walked around from house to house, and chose one to play in. Joyful laughter rang in this smaller section of the facility, as kids bounced inside the pirate ship-shaped house, slid down the very tall slide, or played basketball on the inflatable court.
A special farm-themed bouncy house is set to the right of the room for babies and toddlers. Parents were allowed to accompany their children into this inflatable so they didn’t have to worry about their little kids getting trampled on or lost in the crowd of the older children in this room.
School break camps and other activities
Many of the children wore colored jerseys on the day that we visited, which indicated that they were part of a camp, offered by Arena Sports. Young camp counselors corralled and monitored groups of children as they squealed, bouncing from house to house and game to game. This seemed like a great option for parents who needed childcare and/or activities during winter, spring and summer breaks. Check the Arena Sports website for more details.
After having spoken with the owner of Arena Sports, Don Crowe, he informed me that his team is working on programs for children with special needs, as well as other events, like parent’s night out. He also spoke about a future expansion that included a zip line and rope course (similar to their Mill Creek facility).
Games: new and old
The Arcade & Virtual Reality Games is by far the most attractive feature with hundreds of games to play individually or in a group. Classics like skeeball, Pac-Man, and grabber games ignited my nostalgia for boardwalk arcades. Other games include Mario Cart, Halo, piano tiles, Jurassic Park, air hockey, virtual reality and so much more. They even had a life-size Hungry Hungry Hippo game, fun for any group of four.
How it works: cards and credits
The Arena Sports Family Entertainment Center can be a costly outing. But with some planning and preparation about how much you want to spend, families can come away having had a fun and budget-friendly day at the center.
Games are played on a credit system. Purchase your card at the kiosk along with a set amount of credits. The more credits you purchase the more bonus (free) credits you’ll receive. Recharge your card at any time. Games vary by credit, but my boys found that most of the games required more credit than they had on the card, especially if they wanted to play many games and more than once.
For a more cost-conscious option check out the bounce & play package that allows time for 2-hours of unlimited gameplay and time in the FunZone too for $34.95/person, Tuesdays-Fridays. For kids who are too old or don’t want to partake in the FunZone, another option is the tag & play package that gives you 2-hours of unlimited arcade play and 1 game of laser tag for $34.95/person, Wednesdays-Fridays, 4 p.m. to close.
Note: At the end of your evening, keep your card for your return. Recharge your card and avoid fees.
Rewards and prizes
Located near the welcome desk is a huge wall of prizes. Each game that you play gives you a number of points/or tickets on your card. An attendant let us know that all games, except the special experiences (laser tag, golf, escape rooms and virtual reality) offer a number of points. Points equal prizes. Depending on the number of points you have on your card, choose from a number of items on display– candy to plastic swords, small toys, bouncy balls, hot wheels, game cards and more. Many of the items that my kids set their sights on would require multiple trips to the Arena (which we were planning to do anyway, prize or no prize).
Done playing, want food
You don’t have to go very far to enjoy a meal at this activity center. Arena Sports has its own restaurant within the building. Serving family favorites like pizzas, burgers, fries and wings – there’s something for everyone. Salads are also offered for a healthier option. Grab a seat and order from your phone, using the menu and QR code on placards at each table. Not into the tech? Flag down a waiter, who is happy to help. We indulged in burgers and fries. My kids thought it was “So good! We ate the whole thing!”
Beer, wine and cocktails are also available at the bar. Snacks from home are not allowed but there’s plenty of seating to regroup, nosh on the restaurant’s appetizer plate, and take a break when your group needs it.
We’ll be back!
Arena Sports Family Entertainment Center was a fun experience. We loved the variety of eye-catching and engaging games, the spacious venue, and the cleanliness of the facility. The thoughtful open layout made games easily accessible with little crowding.
As we got into the car, my kids both asked, “When can we go back?” Clearly, it was a successful outing. We’re already making plans to try out the escape and simulation rooms, next time.
If you go:
- Family Entertainment Center at Arena Sports Issaquah: 2115 NW Poplar Way, Issaquah 98027
- Family Entertainment Center at Arena Sports Mill: 13500 Bothell Everett Hwy Suite A, Mill Creek 98012
- Hours of operation
- Cost: See the website for more details about special packages that include time in the arcade and FunZone or laser tag room.