Flying and Fighting Zombies in Valley Forge, PA
Jan 01, 2017 02:26PM
By Vanessa Orr
iFly Indoor Skydiving
Holding my laser machine gun at the ready, I slowly rounded the corner of the dingy shower room, trying to spot the crazed toys and creepy zombies that I knew were lying in wait. While I’m not a huge fan of things that jump out at me, the weight of the gun gave me confidence as I maneuvered around lockers and made my way through Area 2200, where the monsters that you don’t kill…kill you.
I knew the experience, located in Arnold’s Family Fun Center in Oaks, PA, was going to be a little different than typical laser tag, but I didn’t expect to feel quite so unnerved by the atmosphere of this post-apocalyptic world. Set in what used to be the old BF Goodrich Tire Factory, Area 2200 takes advantage of its location to add some pretty grungy realism to this role-playing game. And while I jumped at the chance to try my skill in the only permanent combat laser tag site in the U.S., I have to admit that finding myself in a warehouse full of haunted toys—creepy clowns included—made for a pretty intense interactive adventure.
I’m not going to say that I did well—I’d be pushing up daisies, if this were real life—but at least I now know that I need to make better preparations for the zombie apocalypse. And I had a great time at Arnold’s, which is a must-stop if you’re in the Valley Forge, PA area. While the area is most familiar for its Revolutionary War-era history, there are also a lot of great family-friendly attractions for folks looking for something a little different.
In addition to Area 2200, Arnold’s also boasts a bowling center, bumper cars, black light mini-golf, and my personal favorite—go-karts! I had no idea how fast these things could go, or how much strength it takes to make a sharp turn, until I put on a helmet, hopped on the main track, and took off! I have to admit that when time was up, I was pretty beat (and missing power steering) —something to keep in mind when you’re trying to tire out your kids.
After this adventure, I was more than ready to take the American Treasure Tour, which is located a short walk away on the other side of the warehouse building. It’s hard to explain how surreal this guided tram tour is—imagine everything that you’ve ever wanted to collect in one place…and then multiply that by 1,000.
The American Treasure Tour features everything from classic automobiles and motorcycles to model airplanes, circus and carnival memorabilia (creepy clown alert!), dolls and dollhouses, patriotic and holiday collections and more—all belonging to one anonymous collector. My personal favorite is the huge collection of animatronic store displays, ranging from giggling Eskimos to dancing stuffed animals that used to be used to entice people into stores. You won't believe how chockfull this warehouse is—every time you turn around, you see something different.
I used to hesitate to recommend this tour because you had to have a big group to visit; I’m thrilled to say that it is now open to individuals on Saturdays from 10 to 3 p.m. and individuals can also visit during the week through custom and exclusive tours. Check the website for more information.
A special note to music lovers—The American Treasure Tour boasts the largest collection of automatic music in the world—including a Wurlitzer that is the only machine of its kind in existence and an Estey Pipe Organ that is one of only three in the world—so plan to spend some serious time enjoying the sounds of the more than 150 musical machines on display.
Speaking of enjoyment, I made one final stop while in the area—iFly Indoor Skydiving in King of Prussia, PA. I fell head over heels (pun intended) with this experience—imagine being able to fly without the use of parachutes or planes—just the wind holding you aloft. Despite being semi-afraid of heights, I’d always wanted to fly in a wind tunnel, and I wasn’t disappointed. I was pretty impressed with my ability to stay airborne, until I watched the instructors doing a little freestyle performance—man, have I got a lot to learn.
The session starts with a short, funny video that tells you all the safety information you need to know, then you put on a jumpsuit and helmet, and off you go! An instructor stays in the tunnel with you and holds on to your suit so that you don’t take off into the stratosphere, and if you’re willing, will take you on a wild whirling ride at the end of your session that at least in my case, left me wanting more. Unfortunately, there is no iFly in Pittsburgh, so you’ll have to drive before you can fly.
For more information, including prices and hours, visit Arnold’s Family Fun Center at www.ArnoldsFFC.com; The American Treasure Tour at www.AmericanTreasureTour.com and iFly Indoor Skydiving at www.iflyworld.com/king-of-prussia.