Summer Road Trip: Lasertag Adventure
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- Milwaukee’s 8 can’t-miss shows of summer 2013 (non-Summerfest edition)
- The A.V. Club’s publicly intoxicated guide to Milwaukee summer festivals, 2013 edition
In our bi-weekly Summer Road Trip series, we venture outside the city limits in search of good, clean, and inexpensive summer fun. Starting close to home and working our way out, we’ll cover everything from indoor laser tag arenas in Waukesha to illicit swimming quarries in Redgranite.
Summer Road Trip destination: Lasertag Adventure
Distance from Milwaukee: 16.7 miles
Southeastern Wisconsin is going through something of a laser tag renaissance. Lasertag Adventure, nestled in an industrial park between a Wal-Mart and Goodwill, may be hard to find, but it’s worth the search. Like many other laser tag proprietors, the owners went looking for a paintball facility and ended up with laser tag. Less mess, less inventory, and a broader appeal.
Lasertag Adventure is the longest running laser tag joint in the area. It opened in 2007 and proved that even during a recession, people still wanted to spend money to pretend to shoot their friends in the face. The cycle of attendance evens out during the summer, but no matter which night the call of duty comes, there should be worthy opponents ready to battle. (Though, like most laser tag places, adults prefer weeknights and legions of kids descend on the weekends; the weeknights are home to better deals anyway.)
One of the major reasons Lasertag Adventure stands out as a summer road trip destination is its theming. Laser tag naturally lends itself to a sci-fi theme, but the owners wanted something a little different. They went with a lost temple ruin/Indiana Jones-style feel. Fans of the old Nickelodeon show Legends Of The Hidden Temple will feel right at home running around and under a strangely mobile Mayan face. There is also a running scoreboard located inside the arena, ready to let everyone know who has the biggest target on their back. A constantly whirring fog machine also allows visual confirmation of the laser beams. If the dry-ice fumes get to you, head up to the second level and snipe till your heart’s content.
The big advantage Lasertag Adventure has over other facilities is the sheer amount of games it offers. Sure, there’s the deathmatch and other basic team stuff, but get the right group together and the possibilities open up. “Space Marine” and “D&D” give each player a different role with different powers and abilities. “Highlander” becomes every player for themselves until there is only one left. “Lock-On” recalls the Mountain Dew-fuelled frenzies of late night Duke Nukem sessions, giving everyone a rocket launcher and tossing in telltale beeps of the radar lock.
The best way to get into one of these more obscure games is to book the venue for a private party. Kids’ birthdays are an obvious choice, though folks might notice mom and dad having just as much fun working out marital issues in the arena. Post-prom and bachelor parties are not unheard of, but the best way to keep the kids out of a laser tag experience is to book a corporate event. Companies like GE Medical and Clear Channel have gone this route. It’s a win-win: The boss gets to feel like she’s an outside-the-box thinker that should be working at Google, and the office gets to run around and have fun instead of awkwardly standing around and eating ice cream or whatever.
The owner of Lasertag Adventure is looking to expand into a new location. Competition is tighter in Milwaukee, but the western suburbs are wide open. If a place like this can survive an out-of-the-way location and a rough local economy, it should be able to thrive in a second set-up.