There is no shortage of great indoor play spaces around the greater Houston area, that's for sure. And unique additions like Glowzone are what make that play scene so great - this indoor spot is lit by black lights and glowing colored lights and full of fun. From the go-karts to geometric climbing walls, there is so much to do it's impossible to feel bored. It's a great indoor playground for families with preschool-age children through teenagers. (And even just adults!)
There are two locations in Houston - Katy and Willowbrook. While the layouts slightly differ, the main attractions are the same. Ticket options range from all-day access to play by the hour (or multiple hours) to a la carte pricing for different attractions. This can be a little overwhelming for newcomers, but ended up being perfect for me as I have two children at varying ages and heights, giving them different access abilities to the games, rides, and obstacle courses.
They also have daily specials to sweeten (and cheapen!) the deal, which is what we ended up taking advantage of. Buy one get one free admission on a random Tuesday? Done and done. After you pick your admission access you're given a swipe card that's preloaded to your preferences and the green light to go.
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Walking out of the lobby and into the large, open, DARK play area is like stepping into a whole different world. Your eyes can't help but be drawn to all the neon attractions; it's hard to know where to go first! We went with something safe to start: blacklight mini golf. My four-year-old is a mini pro (read: he's decent - mom pride!) and my two-year-old loves to walk balls over to the hole and drop them in, then throw her hands in the air in victory, so it was the perfect place for us to start while we assessed the situation.
Mini glow golf for with my minis. Photo by Rachael Cherry.
There are nine different attractions/areas to choose from, each with different height/age restrictions:
- Glow Mini Golf
- Spin Zone Bumper Cars
- Soft City
- Scale the City Climbing
- Ninja Course
- Skyscraper Ropes Course
- Lazer Maze
- Bazooka Ball
The Spin Zone Bumper Cars ended up being a big hit with my oldest. He had never done bumper cars before, and these are dizzyingly fun, spinning out of control at times. We came back for multiple bumpy drives and belly laughs. My daughter was peeved (to put it nicely) that she was too short to drive any cars, so after a very loud protest that everyone in the building heard I shuffled her away to Soft City while my husband and son slammed their cars into nearby walls and other cars.
The go-kart track is great for racers of all ages. Photo courtesy Glowzone/Via Facebook
Soft City is THE place for toddlers visiting GlowZone. Guests have to be under 7 years of age to play, making it a safe haven for the littles. The City is comprised of slides, climbing structures, tunnels, and soft spaces, so toddlers and little kids can safely climb up and down without worry of getting hurt. One trip down a slide was all it took to win my daughter back, and she happily climbed to her heart's content while we waited.
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We also tried a portion of Scale the City Climbing, which boasts several different climbing structures of varying heights, allowing people of all abilities to test their climbing skills. While we stuck to the smallest rock climbing wall, which both kids loved because it also had interactive games projected on it, I am definitely excited to come back when my son is a little taller and he can test his hand at some of the taller walls. Rock climbing is a favorite of mine, so I'm hoping my kids have a knack for it, too!
Rock climbing meets pinball. Photo by Rachael Cherry.
The Ninja Course and Skyscraper Ropes Course were - unfortunately - out of our height-range. Both test balance and coordination, and everyone participating in them were doing so with big smiles on their faces. The Ninja Course mimics the famed America Ninja Warrior courses, giving kids the opportunity to see if they would have what it takes to compete on the show. The Skyscraper Ropes Course doesn't just test your balance, but also your stomach strength. Kids are suspended above the ground in safety harnesses and have to navigate across nets and ropes to get from one end to the other.
From there we checked out the Lazer Maze, which ended up being one of the highlights of our trip. Guests can pick from a maze of lasers that they have to crawl around without touching to reach the prize or can do Bean Buster, where the goal is touch as many of the lasers as possible before time's up. Bean Buster is where it's at for moms of littles! My kids ran back and forth over and over trying to hit all the lasers, and the second the timer went off they were outside swiping their play card to do it again. That game alone was worth it; kids running back and forth at full speed over and over again? I'm all in for that! Next time I'm bringing them right before nap time...
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The one place we skipped that we could have done was the Arcade, much to my son's dismay. It was exactly what you would expect, though, packed with game favorites like Ski Ball, motorcycle riding, and other interactive games, and players can win tickets to redeem for prizes at the Glow Shop.
Our end game was Bazooka Ball, which is a mash-up of paint(less) ball and laser tag, and it was a favorite with the entire family. Each player is given a gun that shoots out softballs and a target to hit. You're broken up into teams, given your half of the course, and then given a timeframe to hit the targets on the opposing walls. I'm pretty sure we didn't play it right at all, but it was just my family playing and everyone had a blast.
All in all, GlowZone was a glowing addition to our list of play spaces to visit. While the pricing is a little steep, it's definitely a treat we'll indulge in from time to time, especially when we need to take a break from our usual, well-lit favorites.
Tips for visiting GlowZone:
- Wear close-toed shoes when visiting and bring socks.
- Check the Daily Specials before visiting for the deal of the day.
- Prepare yourself for a day of fun - once you're there it's going to be hard to want to leave!
Top photo courtesy Glowzone via Facebook