By Kelly Youngblood
Call me crazy, but planning my children’s birthday parties has always been fun for me. I’ve got three kids ages 9, 6, and 4, which means I’ve planned a lot of parties in my day. In fact, some quick addition tells me I’ve planned 19 parties. Wow, that’s a lot of cake!
We’ve already done many of the popular birthday party venue options available in the Champaign-Urbana area, so this year I was looking for something we could do at home.
Of course, the downside to having a party at home is figuring out how to entertain a large group of kids. Kids these days are hard to impress!
So, I desperately started looking for something that would keep the party goers busy (preferably OUTSIDE) and make for a memorable party. (After all, I do have a reputation to uphold.)
And that’s when I lucked out and stumbled upon a dream-come-true birthday party idea for my soon-to-be 9-year-old boy: Alpha Dog Entertainment Mobile Laser Tag.
In a nutshell, these guys were great and I would definitely recommend them to a friend. The party went off without a hitch except for a slight rain delay, but that’s just the risk you take when having an outdoor party.
Alpha Dog offers private, mobile laser tag parties at nearly any location you want. The party can be outdoors or indoors, during the day or night. The only requirement is that the space is one basketball court in length and width.
The owner, Justin Penrod of Ludlow, arrived at my house right on time to start setting up the “battlefield” in our yard, which consisted of inflatables and such.
The setup took about an hour, during which time I served pizza and let the kids run around. (They mostly stared longingly at the equipment being set up.)
When it was time to begin, Penrod explained the rules of each game and how the equipment worked. Basically, the kids run around and try to avoid getting “hit.” A beeping noise goes off if they do.
They played several different games such as Capture the Flag, The Hunger Games (the kid’s choice favorite) and Black Hawk Down. Penrod said the games are always changing and new ones are always being developed or improved.
The kids (all 20 of them!) had a blast. While most of them were around 9 or 10 years old, the youngest players participating were 7.
Only 12 can play at a time (six vs. six) so some kids had to rotate in and out of each game. I was a bit worried they might get bored sitting out but they never did; they actually really enjoyed just watching the others play. Plus, they probably needed the rest anyway — it’s a lot of running. So make sure you have cold drinks on hand to help keep the kids hydrated.
There is a two-hour minimum on private parties. The cost is $250. That amount was well worth it to me because I didn’t have to do a thing. They were completely in charge of entertaining 20 kids for me. That’s money well spent in my book.
At the end of the day, my son had a fantastic birthday party and his friends had a great time too. They’re still talking about it!