A Second Chance at Childhood | QC After Dark

A Second Chance at Childhood

Throwback fun can make for the best experiences



Certain spaces and moments can trigger your nostalgia. For example, this weekend I took a trip to Folly Beach, just south of Charleston, as many of you know, for a 30th birthday party that came with its own hashtag: #thirtyflirtyanddying. We rented a three-story Airbnb that lent itself to a college-style house party, naturally.

By the time we'd gone through five handles of Tito's, and the majority of the group left, we found ourselves twiddling our thumbs on how to keep the weekend going. We spent a couple of hours at the beach on our last day and I watched the "gamers" romp in the sand. But once we were back at the house, there was only so much more we could do to entertain ourselves. Enter King of Cups.

If you haven't heard of this game, Google it. Nevertheless, it's one of those drinking card games that's played in college in which you learn very quickly the goal is simply to get everyone drunk.

With every card, I started feeling the weight of missing games and activities of moments passed.

It also reminded me that I've been wanting to create a bucket list of places to go in Charlotte where adults can relive the "glory years" of being big kids again. I went back to my little black book of things to do in Charlotte and I started planning the rest of my summer. So without further ado:

Roll around a skating rink. Why in the world did we ever let skating rinks die?! The boo and I were driving back to Charlotte from Myrtle Beach recently, coming up Independence Boulevard and I realized I'd completely forgotten about skating rinks when we passed Kate's Skating Rink. I don't know about you but throwing on a pair of roller skates after a couple cocktails sounds like a blast to me!

Roll some balls at the ol' alley. I was never a huge bowler growing up, but I certainly stirred up some trouble at our local bowling alley back home. But I can imagine I would totally enjoy an outing involving bowling with friends now (with the rails up of course). There's quite a few in the Queen City area but Ten Park Lanes in South End and Strike City at the EpiCentre are a great start!

Spend some quarters at an arcade bar. I've talked about the handful of arcade bars that have popped up around the Queen City in the past couple years plenty of times, and my fellow CL partiers recently did a tour of a few during their most recent Boozing on a Budget tour (which they did not invite me on, but I will surely be joining next time, sigh). Every time I play Galaga I have flashbacks of playing it with my mom while waiting for our clothes at the laundromat. What's your highest score? Check out my previous article or those of my Boozing on a Budget counterparts for a comparison of arcade bars throughout the city.

Jump around at a trampoline park. I was terrified of Chuck E. Cheese when I was a kid and never really cared for bounce houses at birthday parties. However, I can totally dig the idea of going to a trampoline park now! Granted, someone may break a leg now that we're older, or at the very least be too sore to walk for a few days, but an adult pizza party plus trampolines sounds like a big kid's dream come true if you ask me. There's DefyGravity in north Charlotte, Sky Zone Trampoline Park in Pineville and Urban Air in Mint Hill, so pick a direction and try one out.

Zap your friends at laser tag. I wish I'd been a fan of the sketchy laser tag bar when I was younger (clearly there's a common theme here), but there was something about running around in the dark that didn't excite me back then. Now, I'm like, who doesn't want to get lost in the dark with a few friends? Things may get interesting between the boo and I. *wink wink* Consider getting tagged by strangers and friends alike at Laser Quest on Park Road.

Swoon over zoo animals. Zoos and aquariums used to be the bane of my existence. They were hot, the day was long and walking felt like torture. But now I'm so obsessed with animals that when I was planning a special day for bae I chose Tiger World in Rockwell. In fact, I even booked an encounter with Ignacio aka Nacho, their newest attraction: a baby sloth! And let me tell you 10 minutes with him (at a not-so-affordable price) made my whole day! There's also Zootastic Park in Troutman and, if you're willing to make a little bit of a longer trip, the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro.

"There shall be an eternal summer in the grateful heart." That's what a sign said outside of a convenience store in Folly Beach.

As I reflect on that quote while planning the rest of my summer, I think, what better way to enjoy an eternal summer than to find experiences that incite a childlike excitement?