WHO: Laura (Mom), Everett (age 7) and Ames (age 3)
WHAT: Stars and Strikes Family Entertainment Center
WHERE: 333 N. Lowry St., Smyrna
WHEN: Sun - Thu 10 a.m. - 12 a.m., Fri 10 a.m. - 2 a.m., Sat 9 a.m. - 2 a.m.
ADMISSION: Entry is free; pay based on activities (visit website for daily deals & packages); parking is free
ADDITIONAL INFO: Full service restaurant & bar with food service at bowling lanes. If you have kids with sensory concerns, be aware that there are bright lights and loud music/sounds.
CONTACT: 678-965-5707 | starsandstrikes.com
The boys and I celebrated surviving cold and flu season with a trip to Smyrna to check out Stars and Strikes Family Entertainment Center last week. Stars and Strikes offers hours of indoor entertainment for kids and adults alike. The large center boasts a restaurant, bar, bowling alley, arcade, “escape” game, bumper cars and laser tag. They also host birthday parties with separate party rooms.
We began our visit with a bowling game. We did not have a wait for a lane during our visit on a Friday afternoon, although I have heard that wait times exist during busier days and times. You can reserve VIP lanes in advance online or by phone. The bowling alley is the nicest that I’ve been to; the consoles are similar to iPads, and the overhead screens offer encouraging phrases (which our crew appreciated!). Bumpers can be set up for some players and not others to make the game fun for all ages and abilities. Dragon shaped ramps can be used by little bowlers and lightweight balls are available at shoe rental. Keep in mind when renting shoes that they run big, so shoot small to avoid shoe shenanigans when the kids are raring to go.
The bowling fun ramped up for the boys when it became cosmic bowling and we got to continue playing in the dark with black lights and big television screens. Cosmic bowling begins Friday evenings and continues through the weekend. The music and flashing lights made for more of a dance party than a bowling experience in the end. While you are bowling, servers come to your lane to take any food and drink orders you would like to place. A kids' menu is available, offering items like chicken tenders, burgers, wings, grilled cheese, hot dogs and cheese pizza. We ordered a kid’s pizza from a very attentive server who also offered to help us switch out shoe sizes and made sure our bumpers were set up appropriately.
After bowling we decided to check out the arcade. Cards similar to credit cards are loaded for the kids which they can scan at each game they wish to play. The cards also track tickets collected which can be redeemed for prizes following play. A wide variety of games are offered, although my boys stuck with the car racing game that allowed them to compete with each other. Everett says he thinks they played the racing game 12 times!
The highlight of our trip came at the end when we played a family game of laser tag. Ames, at age 3, had some difficulty donning the laser tag vest so we were quite a pair as I wore the vest and followed him around as he carried the laser tag gun. This gave us some good laughs and allowed Everett an easy win. The laser tag staff was helpful and played along with us because we were a small group. The laser tag room was two stories which are full of areas to hide and explore. Although Ames thought he would be scared, he and Everett agree it was the best part of their visit.
I spoke with several employees at Stars and Strikes and found that the best time to visit with younger children is during the day or early afternoon on weekdays. Saturday and Sunday mornings are also manageable, although the center can become very busy on weekends, especially in the evenings. The crowd becomes older as the evening progresses. One of the friendly employees recommends visiting on Tuesdays to take advantage of the “Unlimited Tuesday” deal — it allows unlimited arcade play for $9.99 per person (or unlimited bowling and shoe rental), and you can pay an additional $4.99 to add unlimited laser tag and bumper cars to your package.