Some of my fondest memories from childhood involve whizzing around a go-kart track while taunting my friends or entering a laser tag labyrinth to take on unwitting enemies without mercy.
Childhood inevitably passes, though. Too often, our capacity for fun and adventure goes with it. A large part of me still yearns for those frivolous experiences: riding roller coasters, playing arcade games and shooting rounds of mini golf. Luckily the Pensacola Bay Area has no shortage of activities to help travelers recapture the essence of their childhoods.
Forget Six Flags this summer, and take a trip down to the City of Five Flags to relive some of your more spirited years. Whether your idea of fun is getting lost in an arcade game or perfecting your mini golf swing, Pensacola will help you revive that childhood sense of wonder.
Here are our top five picks for places to act like a kid in The City of Five Flags:
Don’t let this fun activity escape you
Escape Zone 60, located near Pensacola International Airport, is a live, interactive, puzzle-solving game where visitors have 60 minutes to solve the challenge and escape the room. Each game follows its own narrative. In “asylum,” participants play the part of a reporter investigating allegations of mistreatment at an insane asylum. Once inside, the door is locked behind you, and you realize this could be your final assignment. Do you have what it takes to escape?
Enjoy some well-deserved Playtime
For those seeking a more relaxed diversion, Downtown Pensacola is also home to Play, a self-described “adult arcade.” Play attracts all kinds of local characters from arcade game enthusiasts to karaoke connoisseurs.
The community-centric bar will invoke the spirit of your youth while giving you the best ingredients of adulthood — with over 20 rotating microbrews, a combination of vintage and state of the art arcade games, pool tables, skeeball machines, air hockey and more.
Show off your swing at miniature golf
Tiki Island Golf and Games offers visitors the chance to test their golf game in a jungle-themed setting just steps from the sugar-white sand and turquoise water of Pensacola Beach. Once you’ve worked your way around the course, you and your friends can cool off with a few scoops from the indoor ice cream parlor. Tiki Island also offers a great variety of arcade games.
Need a little elbow room?
This Westside bar is a hidden gem. The Elbow Room, located just 10 minutes west of Downtown Pensacola has been supplying locals with pizza, beer and a laid-back atmosphere for over three generations. This dimly lit, quirky establishment — full of Star Trek memorabilia and Schlitz — offers patrons a hip getaway where they can listen to jukebox tunes, play board games and enjoy good food, good drinks and even better company.
Arcade Games, Go-karts & Carousels
For those who can’t resist the nostalgia of an amusement park, Sam’s Fun City offers a full day’s supply of fun, with over 20 rides and attractions for little and big kids alike. The Crossroads Arcade features more than 75 games and an indoor laser-tag arena. Outside, visitors will find go-kart tracks, a Ferris wheel, carousel, carnival rides and more.