A feast of fun houses

November 28, 1996

Grand Slam U.S.A.

8725 Loch Raven Blvd., Towson

(410) 661-4117

1717 Whitehead Road, Woodlawn

(410) 265-1060

Safe, wholesome atmosphere for sports-minded people, some video games for the less serious. Chips, soda, candy, other requisite junk food available on site. Business picks up as the weather gets cooler. Prices are "regular" and "prime time." Sample: Autocage ranges from $10 to $15 per 30 minutes, regular; $12 to $20 prime time. Basketball is $15 per 30 minutes, $20 during prime time. Prime-time is all day on weekends and weekdays after 5 p.m. from November through May. Call for additional pricing packages and details.

Gerstung Center

1400 Coppermine Terrace, Baltimore

(410) 337-7781

Rock climbing looks easier than it is, but who cares? Knowledgeable staff helps kids and adults come away feeling successful and more aware of certain underused muscles. It's a definite adventure, but price may be a factor: Walk-in climb session is $15. Climbers must pass a competency test (a one-time $30 fee includes registration, exam, and a 1.5-hour course or a same-day climb for experienced climbers). Shoe rental, $5; harness, $3; belay clip (a required contraption), $2. Climbers may bring their own equipment and use sneakers, if desired. Price packages are available. Reservations required. Hours: Monday and Wednesday 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 7 p.m.-10 p.m.; Friday 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 6 p.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday 5 p.m.-8 p.m.

Ultrazone

Eastpoint Mall

(410) 288-0880

Hours: Opens at 10 a.m. through the holiday season. Closes at midnight Monday-Thursday; at 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 p.m. Sunday. Prices are $6.50 per game for nonmembers. Kids Zone (ages 12 and under only) each Saturday, 10 a.m.-noon; $3.50 per game. Unsportsmanlike conduct or other rule violation leads to expulsion without refund. "We are very much an alcohol-free, drug-free, smoke-free zone thing," Blum emphasizes. On New Year's Eve, all ages are invited to a Students Against Driving Drunk "lockout" party from 8 p.m. to 12: 30 a.m. Call for price and other information.

Dave & Buster's

White Flint Mall, 11301 Rockville Pike (Route 355), about 1 hour from Baltimore

(410) 230-5151

Hours: 11 p.m.-1 a.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.- 2 a.m. Friday-Saturday; 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday. Free admission. Twenty dollars gets 100 chips on the power card; $10 gets 48. $5 gets 21. $1 gets 3 chips. Some games yield a handful of tickets, redeemable for prizes (a 19-inch color TV is 30,000; tickets may be stored up for use on later visits.) People under 21 may stay only until 10 p.m. and must be accompanied by an adult. Smoking is permitted everywhere except in the dining room. All major credit cards accepted. It's big-time fun, but power chips definitely have their price.

Checkered Flag Amusements Inc.

10907 Pulaski Highway, White Marsh

(410) 335-6393

Go-cart rides are $3.50 for four minutes. "Reasonable for as XTC much fun as you get," said Stephanie Dorman, a satisfied adult customer. The 10-acre facility features, in addition to go-carts, a family atmosphere, friendly staff, mini-golf, free beach volleyball

sites, a few video games, a pool table and tiny snack area. The clientele is "mainly teen-agers, but adults come up here to have fun with the kids, too," according to employee Craig Thompson.

Note: Bear in mind that while the adrenalin rush may generate some heat, a truly cold day could make for a long four minutes. Dress accordingly. Handy pit beef, pit turkey and pit ham kiosk is just next door.

Sports

10 Halesworth Road, Cockeysville

(410) 666-2227

Hours are 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday, Monday; 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday; and 10 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday; batting range costs $1.75 for 20 pitches, $4.50 for 60 pitches. Adventure Zone, with balls, bounce, tunnels, etc., costs $4 per hour, for young children only. Patrons under 16 must be accompanied by an adult after 10 p.m. Concession stand features stadium food. The center draws all ages, including a small contingent of senior citizens who are enamored of the simulated casino games ("Back in the old days, machines paid off in quarters," the manager says).

Looking for other such attractions? Many are listed in the yellow pages under "Amusements."

Pub Date: 11/28/96

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