This experience was originally reported on in November 2019, and all images were taken prior to social distancing and mask practices.
Amped Virtual Reality is Great for Kids, Teens and Adults
So many of my friends get stuck on family outing ideas once their oldest kids hit late elementary/middle school. Where can you go where your husband, teenager and kindergartener will all be actively engaged?
You go to Amped Virtual Reality.
My family (kids ages 5 – 11…and a husband!) all were completely engrossed in this virtual reality wonderland for two hours, and they still didn’t want to stop!
“I thought it was really amazing,” said my 11 year old daughter. “It’s really exciting to be in the game!”
Amped Virtual Reality is Great With Safety Precautions
While our original trip took place pre-covid, I was back at Amped Reality a few weeks ago for a girls’ night and I was impressed with their safety precautions. I’ve been to other activity center experiences since the pandemic and I’ve only felt truly safe at Amped Reality.
The nature of play at Amped is already set up for social distancing, as you need a large buffer around you to play the games. They’ve even installed netting and other barriers for extra security between persons when needed.
THE AMPED REALITY EXPERIENCE
Step Inside & Be Transported to an Out of This World Experience
From the outside, Amped Virtual Reality looks like an average storefront in the Ridgemoor Plaza on 28th Street (just west of Woodland Mall).
Once you step in, though, you kind of feel like you’re in another dimension. Lit by black light, there are two large rooms with several individual stations. Stations are marked by white cubes for sitting (if you wish), a headset, and a large screen overhead.
The player wears the headset, and everyone else can watch their adventures on the large screen.
The night we went Trevor was on hand. As owner Greg Wander’s son, he knows the place pretty well. He expertly showed us the ropes and explained how the stations worked.
He easily moved between adult and kids, helping us each on our own level. Even my super shy kindergartener was comfortable with Trevor!
Don a Headset and be Pulled Into any Reality you Could Imagine
I thought I was just going to watch my adventurous kids and husband travel through space and time at Amped Virtual Reality, but I ended up with my own headset went on some crazy adventures!
Trevor told me I had to walk the plank first, explaining that Richie’s Plank is one of the most popular games.
Trevor did NOT tell me that I’d feel my heart in my throat as I stood out on a skinny little plank about 40 stories high, where even the slightest move could send me plummeting hundreds of feet off a skyscraper.
He didn’t tell me that even though I was standing on a safe, secure floor in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that my brain would tell me that I’m NOT safe and that I’d stumble and nearly fall on the ground, convinced I was falling to my death.
Richie’s Plank was Super Terrifying and Super Fun
And I didn’t even have the gall to step off the plank and see what happened. My husband did. He’s brave like that. But he’s never told me about it. I guess some escapades at Amped Virtual Reality are too crazy to explain.
I also flew around a metropolis, attempting to put out fires. I tried keeping time with the musical speed game Beat Saber.
I even swam up to a manatee! And a great white shark!
I tried many games and nearly fell on the ground or shrieked in fear each time. It was so realistic!
BIG VARIETY OF EXPERIENCES
My Kids Sampled it All at Amped Virtual Reality, and Every Game was a Winner
I was a little nervous about which games my 5 year old son could play. He’s not reading yet, and I worried that the games require you to navigate to a menu or may even have prompts within them. But none of this stopped him. If he needed help choosing a game, Trevor was there. He also got help from his sisters.
Most of the time, though, he was off in his own little world, holding a slingshot with Angry Birds in it, slashing fruit with swords, riding a rollercoaster or exploring the dinosaurs in Jurassic World. (Confession, the realistic dinosaur in the first scene was enough fun for him and he didn’t play it long.)
“I liked it!” Gus told me afterward. “I think it was fun!”
Games Range from Entertaining Voyages to Tests of Skill to Terrifying Experiences
So Richie’s Plank was pretty exhilarating. But I also got to swim in the bottom of the ocean and explore sea creatures up close. I think I preferred the exploration games and wish I had had time to walk the planet through Google Earth.
But then, toward the end of our time, my 11 year old and my husband ventured into the world of nightmares. They put on headsets and faced their fears.
“Face your Fears is very legit!” my 11 year old said. “It’s very real. It’s literally scary.”
Watching People Play at Amped Virtual Reality is Half the Fun
It’s also really funny to watch people experience Face Your Fears. My family was sitting next to each other playing individual games, heads swinging around as they’re trying to endure the terror, all yelping in fear or jumping away from some imaginary foe.
In one episode you’re sitting in a bed. You cannot walk or go anywhere – you can only look around. It’s dark and stormy and as the lightening flashes you notice things change in your room. Something is moved. A door is suddenly open or closed. SOMEONE IS SUDDENLY THERE LOOKING YOU IN THE EYE!!
You Must Have Your Kid’s Next Birthday Party at Amped Virtual Reality
When I asked my kids if they wanted to go to Amped Virtual Reality again, they yelled unanimously, “Yes! Tomorrow!”
“I want to have a birthday party there!”
Amped Virtual Reality is a total fun zone for birthdays, corporate events, or any other celebration you can think of.
That’s because at Amped Virtual Reality, everyone has an incredible virtual reality experience while also being able to interact with each other. When you go to a movie or even an activity center, you’re either super focused on the movie, or kids are scattered everywhere playing.
I like that at Amped Virtual Reality, I could walk around and watch each of my kids playing a game. I could sit and quietly watch their screens, or I could chat with the person sitting next to me. I could even play a game myself!
Amped Virtual Reality is set up so that all different interest levels can enjoy their time.
Kids can even get a themed birthday party (for extra charge) at Amped Virtual Reality. Options include Marvel, Mandalorian, MINECRAFT, Glow and more.
My Kids Really Want a Robot Party
My kids were dazzled by the “build your own robots” at Amped Virtual Reality. These bots can climb a string, walk along the ground, or even hold a marker and draw!
I think a Robot Party would be a really cool field trip idea, or maybe even fun to bring the robots to your classroom.
Amped Virtual Reality is Great for STEM Education, Too
Speaking of classrooms, Amped Virtual Reality is portable, and loves bringing learning to life through STEM virtual reality. Their Amped Reality GO program allows students to experience outer space, the ocean, volcanoes and many other places through their interactive 3-D system.
PLAN YOUR TRIP TODAY
Amped Virtual Reality is a Thrilling, Memorable Experience
No matter how you choose to enjoy Amped Virtual Reality, it’s going to be a blast.
Station rentals are $30 for one hour – unless you have a membership. Memberships make station rentals significantly cheaper, and are a great Christmas idea. You’d basically be buying them the ultimate travel and game experience.
I love that the station rentals are not limited to one person! If 3 of you wanted to split time at the same station, you can do that! One plays, and the others watch. (I personally think this is the most fun option.) Additional time is often discounted.
Amped Virtual Reality is truly a one-of-a-kind experience in Grand Rapids. We played so many more games than I could even write about, and they were all extremely captivating. My kids have been ready to go back ever since we walked out the door.