Chuck E. Cheese
I like to be honest with you all. And I will say that Sarah C. and I were dreading going to Chuck E. Cheese. My dread was related to a birthday party I had at Chuck E.'s as a kid in Maryland, and losing a special bracelet to the Chuck E. ball pit (not sure if Sarah had such seedy secrets to cause her dread). But we love you blog readers and know that a blog about Family Activities in the Triangle has to include this stop.
Good news: it wasn't that bad!! More good news: no ball pit to lose things in!! Hooray!
In fact, Chuck E.'s has come a long way since my memories of it. This place was very clean and well lit. There are still the singing mechanical characters, of course (every half an hour!). There is still cheap pizza and eats, but they have now added a salad bar. The food isn't going to be appearing in any foodie blogs around here, but it looked decent.
And there are loads and loads of arcade games to play. I mean, loads. They run the gambit of ages and skill (we were fans of the fish game that required absolutely no skill but lots of banging of keys). Although no pinball. Is pinball out of fashion now?
Games are tokens, generally just 1, to play. One token costs a quarter. But your newspaper or local mailer will most likely have a coupon you can clip before you go (check the website too). At the end of play, you get tickets you trade in for prizes.
At Chuck E. Cheese's there is even a little "hamster run" for kids. You know the kind I mean, where they are all in tubes and tunnels up in the sky. Kids love it, and it is free to play in it at Chuck E.'s.
In fact, entrance to the entire place is free. The only thing you have to pay for is food, if you want it, and games, if you want to play. Another great thing about the place? The hours. It is open all the time, from 9 am until 9 pm or 10 pm depending on the day. We were there at 10 am on a gloomy Wednesday looking for something to do.
One thing I found really difficult to stomach was the sheer noise of this place. We were the only people in there (again, it was a 10 am on a Wednesday) and it was sooooo loud with the games, music, tv videos, and singing characters. I can't imagine how loud it must get with screaming, excited kids added in to the mix.
Chuck E. Cheese is really popular for birthday parties (as yours truly has experience with) for good reason: everything is in one spot! Food, variety of entertainment, and plenty of seating. So if you want to use the spot, book early!
And don't be scared.
Chuck E. Cheese
Hours: Sun-Thur 9am-9pm, Fri-Sat 9am-10pm
3724 Mayfair Street