Halloween is thought of as a holiday for children, but that hasn't stopped fanatics from around the country creating haunted holiday attractions so terrifying and realistic they're best reserved for adults only. One you can visit beginning in September is the Netherworld Haunted House in Atlanta, which uses Hollywood-level production values to scare guests who roam freely through the dark attraction.
Act Like a Kid Again at These 22 Amusements for Adults
While still fun for adults, amusement parks cater primarily to young children, the ones most excited by meeting fictional characters and riding the teacups. But what about the adults — childless and otherwise — who want a more age-appropriate source of fun and thrills? Thankfully, the market for interactive, adult-oriented entertainment has been growing. Here are just some of the entertaining options available around the world.
There were only 22 escape rooms in the US as of 2014; today, there are more than 2,000, prompting groups of friends, family, and coworkers to put their problem-solving skills and creativity to the test in faux-high-stakes challenges. Breakout KC, with two locations in Kansas City, is one of the nation's best-rated escape rooms with all-ages-appropriate themes and settings ranging from a Civil War enemy bunker to a Y2K party gone wrong.
Virtual reality (VR) headsets are still too expensive for many, but anyone eager to experience the new frontier in interactive gaming can try it out at one of the myriad virtual reality lounges opening in many major metropolitan areas, featuring dozens of VR games and films available to view for hourly- or day-rates. The Western hemisphere's largest lounge is VR World in New York, with two levels of flight simulators, zombie-shooting games, and more.
Interactive theater makes the audiences more involved in the dramatic action, whether by sharing the setting, turning audience members into characters, or asking for suggestions as in improv comedy. "Sleep No More" in New York combines film noir tropes with Shakespeare's "Macbeth" in a multilevel warehouse space that spectators walk through at their own pace. They can admire the intricate set design while following the characters' dialogue as they wish.
Safari or wildlife parks go above and beyond traditional zoos by letting exotic animals roam freely, letting visitors view them from private or provided vehicles. One of the nation's best and largest of these is the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, where the Africa Tram offers expansive views of the semi-arid landscape and the more than 300 species who live there.
High ropes courses and other adventure parks let kids and adults zipline, climb, or otherwise explore natural landscapes. In North Georgia, the Historic Banning Mills Park preserves the ecosystems of the Snake Creek Forge for experiential forest tours, rock-wall climbing, kayaking, horseback riding, and "power free falling."
The largest building in Kentucky is actually a underground limestone mine, which became home to the world's largest indoor mountain bike park in 2015. In addition to more than 12 miles of obstacle-ridden bike trails, the Louisville Mega Cavern also offers underground ziplining tours, ropes courses, and tram tours, plus one of the nation's best holiday light displays when the season comes around.
Remember playing with Tonka trucks in the sandbox as a kid? Well, now you can do it with the real thing, thanks to heavy equipment playgrounds for adults like Dig This in Las Vegas. For packages starting at $169, any adult or supervised child over age eight can operate Caterpillar tractors, bulldozers, and excavators, and have fun digging trenches or obliterating junked automobiles.
The St. Louis City Museum is less a museum and more an industrial playground equally suited to adults and children, with four floors of caves, slides, and climbing courses connecting architectural exhibits, arts areas, and a cabin serving alcoholic beverages. While kids are allowed, after 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult — and the museum is open until midnight both days. Admission starts at $15.
Less adrenaline-fueled than the average ziplining adventure, the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park outside Vancouver lets guests get a bird's-eye view of the forest and go at their own pace. Adult admission ($47) covers all-day access to seven suspended footbridges, complimentary guided nature tours, and the new Cliffwalk, hanging 700 feet above a granite canyon. Get 30 percent off summer admission by going after 5 p.m. daily.
South Korea's Jeju Island is home to the nation's only sex-centric theme park, mostly comprised of more than 100 outdoor sculptures depicting human sex organs and intimate positions — some of them interactive. Often a destination for newlyweds from the nation's mainland, Loveland is for ages 20 and up.
Right beside the Berlin Wall lies Europe's largest inner-city beach, an attraction called BeachMitte with 20,000 square meters for beach volleyball, soccer, and frisbee, as well as the three-story high wire structure called MountMitte. The architectural marvel has more than 1,000 unique features and three levels of varying difficulties.
Superkilen in Copenhagen is a public park built around a 750-meter cycle track with several color-coded pavilions celebrating biodiversity with specially-imported plant life and architectural touches like swings from Iraq and a Moroccan public fountain. The entirely-free area is well-suited for parkour, field games, outdoor picnics, or just strolling through some of the Denmark's best public art.
If exploring the Austrian Alps on foot isn't thrilling enough for you, try experiencing them via high wires and whitewater rafts at the nation's largest outdoor leisure park, Area 47 in Tyrol. Other activities at the park built along the shimmering Otztal River include ziplining, motosports, a wakeboarding obstacle course, and a slide whose riders reach speeds up to 27 miles per hour.
La Cite du Vin is a theme park devoted entirely to wine in the heart of French wine country, Bordeaux. There aren't many thrills to be had here, just bottle-shaped architectural flourishes and 20 different wine-themed exhibits covering the beloved beverage's history and cultural influence. There's also a leisurely river boat ride and, of course, a tasting room.
BH Mallorca is a Spanish island resort that frequently plays host to some of Europe's biggest EDM (electronic dance music) artists and events. It's also home to the world's first adults-only water park, with an unparalleled collection of high-octane slides whose riders speed up to 38 miles per hour and, in one case, even complete a 360-degree loop.
A Hollywood attraction for adults with a love for the macabre, this museum lets visitors thumb through serial killer-related memorabilia, morgue photos, taxidermied animals, execution devices, and exhibits on major death-related events like the Heaven's Gate mass suicide. With a second location now opened in New Orleans, the Museum of Death isn't cheery, but will keep you enraptured through a 45-minute self-guided tour ($17).
Laser tag is another kid-oriented attraction that's become more adult-friendly in recent years. But those seeking the very best in laser tag will have to visit Finland in the dead of winter, when event company Virta Tuotanto organizes their Winter Laser World. Teams use glowing bow-and-arrow-style laser weapons (no one under 10 can play) to outwit one another in trenches dug out of the snow. There's also a "Hunger Games"-themed version.
The International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. is a museum with several escape rooms built-in. Visitors can learn about one of the world's most exciting yet closely-guarded professions before role-playing through their own interactive spy adventure. General museum admission is $21, and a spy mission combo ticket for players 12 and over is $30.
Golfing doesn't have to entail a whole day of driving between holes — companies like Topgolf, with 5 locations in the Western US, make it more like bowling, with driving range bays from which guests hit microchipped golf balls to score points and hit targets. Bays cost $25 per hour and can host up to six people.
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