When my family travels to California, it’s not usually for the fun or the sun. For the last 3 years we have been commuting every few months for clinic at UCLA, but that’s a whole other story. The back and forth trips have been mostly about “business” but a few times we have been able to squeeze in more fun than normal. This visit was one of those times. JA sometimes gets in the way, but this visit we had a chance to let kids be kids, in spite of arthritis!
Since I am associated with U.S. Family Guide, I have a chance to participate in and review some very cool family activities. When this opportunity popped up in LA during our visit window, and could work even with our clinic schedule, I jumped right on it. After all, I have teen boys, and we all know how much boys love things that go fast! A visit to SpeedZone LA was a great wrap up/reward after a long week of hospitals, doctors and tests. Although it was located in the City of Industry (not LA proper) this entertainment complex is only a short distance from all the family friendly activities (like the parks associated with that mouse) and provides a full day of fun for a fraction of the cost of a theme park.
Since Southern California was surprisingly rainy during our visit, we felt lucky to have a clear day for our time at SpeedZone. During inclement weather, none of the outdoor activities are operational, and those are the ones that make SpeedZone such a unique and fun attraction. There are no refunds for rain days, so it is important to plan accordingly! We were given 4 hour unlimited passes that allowed us to play mini-golf (two courses) race on every track, and use anything in the arcade that had a yellow scanner. Games with a red scanner used a different game card (for separate purchase) and were on a different system providing tickets for prize redemption similar to those you would see at a Chuck E. Cheese, Mountasia or Celebration Station type venue. Also available for extra purchase were games of mini bowling at “the Strike Zone” and refreshments through Johnny Rockets, the on-site bar and restaurant.
This was definitely a winner for us. Unlike other go kart tracks we had visited, SpeedZoneLA had FIVE feature tracks, each with a very different experience. There was Lil’ Thunder for kids between 42”-54”, the Grand Prix (for licensed drivers) and Turbo Track (standard Go Karts) for drivers at least 5 feet tall or for licensed divers in a “sidewinder” double car with a passenger at least 40” tall. Our favorites were the Slick Trax, a slick “drifter” track that allowed you to slide out on turns, and the Top Eliminator Dragster that allowed you to go up to 70 miles per hour on the straightaway. We had never experienced any cars like these, so the visit was worth this experience alone!
Visiting on a weekday, we really got to take advantage of everything SpeedZoneLA had to offer with little to no wait. The facilities were well maintained and fully staffed, and even if I had paid full price for our package, I would have been happy with the value for the money. Over and over again, my kids were saying things like they wished this was closer to home since so many of their friends would enjoy it as well. If it were in our area, it is something that I would definitely consider for a party or special event for a teen or tween, especially with the reasonable rates they had posted for parties and events.
In our case, especially with the low wait time, 4 hours was enough time to experience everything, and everyone was tired and ready to call it a day when our cards expired. For other special needs parents out there, I think its important to note a couple of things. Although there were several things (the game room, arcade games for ticket redemption, strike zone, mini golf) that could keep kids with mobility issues entertained, the big attraction is driving the cars, and that might be hard for a child confined to a chair or power scooter. The two mini golf courses are wheelchair accessible, and the sidewinder cars (doubles) are approved for use by kids in chairs, as long as they meet the minimum height restriction and their parent is the driver. How great is that? Fun for EVERYONE.
Fully mobile kids with JA may feel a little “beat up” after several runs in the go karts, but for my guys, it was worth it. We broke up some of the more active racing times with arcade games and a round of mini golf in order to help keep them from getting too sore. The facility is a manageable size, so getting around isn’t a big issue, even with JA kids. Although not arthritis related, I think it is important to mention that if you have any kids with hearing sensitivity issues or stimulation problems, this may not the place to be for them. It is very loud outside in the racing area, as well as inside the arcade. If you don’t have these issues, then SpeedZone LA is kid’s dream (even for those with limited mobility!) We were very happy for the chance to give it a try!
If you would like to visit SpeedZoneLA, check out their website for the most current information, coupons and discounts. Although I did receive passes in exchange for my review, the opinions expressed here are entirely my own.