Things to Do

While You Were Locked Down at Home, a Slew of Indoor Entertainment Centers Opened

They're great for bored teens and rainy days.

Fun Land of Fairfax has more than 100 arcade games. Photo courtesy of Fun Land.

The pandemic may not have been the best time to open a new business. So it’s a bit of a surprise—though perhaps a welcome one for parents of bored teens—that a handful of indoor entertainment centers sprang up while we were locked down.

Take Fun Land of Fairfax. Opened in September, this 50,000-square-foot complex in Centreville features more than 100 arcade games, plus go-carts, laser tag, a virtual-reality challenge, and a ropes course and zipline. Meanwhile, at Doyle’s Outpost in Alexandria—a new restaurant/bar with arcade games and virtual reality—a two-level, DC-themed laser-tag arena features a seated statue of Abraham Lincoln, à la the Lincoln Memorial.

According to industry reports, the market for family entertainment centers is growing worldwide. One factor explaining the rise: new technologies such as virtual reality. Another big reason: Malls, hit hard by online shopping even before Covid, are eager to attract foot traffic.

Potomac Mills, the shopping mecca in Woodbridge, for example, welcomed three new entertainment centers: Round 1 Bowling & Amusement, which besides bowling has karaoke booths, ping-pong, and arcade games; Defy trampoline park, where strategically positioned trampolines allow kids to slam-dunk a basketball or play extreme dodge ball; and Zava Zone, which offers yet more trampolines, plus ninja and ropes courses. Nervous about your kid bouncing on trampolines or climbing ropes with other patrons? Each indoor entertainment center is taking Covid precautions, including temperature checks, masks, and stepped-up cleaning.

Executive Editor

Sherri Dalphonse joined Washingtonian in 1986. She is the editor in charge of such consumer topics as travel, fitness, health, finance, and beauty, as well as the editor who handles such cover stories as Great Places to Work, Best of Washington, Day Trips, Hidden Gems, Top Doctors, and Great Small Towns. She lives in DC.