Biz Beat

Shoot ‘em up safely at Turlock’s Ten Pin Fun Center; laser tag arena with tank opens

If you’ve ever felt like shooting your friends — with love and lasers — then Ten Pin Fun Center has a new attraction for you.

The massive family entertainment center in Turlock’s Monte Vista Crossings shopping center unveiled its two-story laser tag arena Thursday, about two months after its official May opening. The 10,000-square-foot attraction features a military-style tank, second-story catwalk, vintage truck and plenty of other places to ambush those nearest and dearest to you.

Since opening in May, Ten Pin Fun Center has attracted crowds this summer who have come for its 34 lanes of bowling, arcade games and restaurant. The laser tag arena took more time to finish, but now the state-of-the-art Call of Duty-style game allows players to explore an industrial setting while searching for competitors to vanquish.

“From Modesto to Merced, there’s nothing else like this,” said Nate Straubinger, spokesman for the complex. “I mean, who else has a large metal tank?”

Tucked in the back corner of the center’s arcade, the arena offers players several different styles of games to play — from a free-for-all shoot ‘em up to team competitions and even a zombie mode. Instead of wearing sensor harnesses, the arena uses sensor headbands. Guns can also be customized, and you can choose between a lighter model or a heavier, more realistic model before entering battle.

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IT tech Josue Irizarry explains how the laser guns work in the new laser tag arena at Ten Pin Fun Center in Turlock, Calif., Thursday, July 25, 2019. Andy Alfaro aalfaro@modbee.com

Once inside, the darkened arena is filled with small rooms, half walls and other obstacles — including the hulking tank at the centerpiece of the first floor. Custom-built in Oakdale, the tank was inspired by World War I- and II-era tanks. Combined with the black lights, fog machine and faux bullet holes in the wall, it makes for a convincing urban battleground.

Games run $9 on weekdays and $12 on weekends. Depending on play mode, sessions last from about 14 to 18 minutes depending on scenario (though game length times may change based on customer feedback). Each session can have up to 24 people playing, so you can come with friends or play strangers.

For serious players, the game allows them to create a profile and level up with perks after repeated plays. Bookings are currently first-come, first-serve, but the whole arena can also be rented out for private parties or corporate events.

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Brian Tognazzini, 10, right, and Kaitlyn, 12, play a game in the new laser tag arena at Ten Pin Fun Center in Turlock, Calif., Thursday, July 25, 2019. Andy Alfaro aalfaro@modbee.com

The arena is the last of the originally planned attractions to open in the $18 million center, which also includes a shaded outdoor bocce ball court, beer garden, three full bars and more. It also marks the return of a bowling alley to Turlock for the first time in more than 20 years, since Divine Gardens closed in 1997.

Bowling leagues will start in September. Gaming General Manager Austin Kooken said there is still space in their 18 leagues for more bowlers to join. He estimates that so far the majority of players who have signed up have been from Turlock, proving that the pent-up demand was there for the bowling lanes.

And don’t expect the laser tag opening to be the last new activity at Ten Pin. Live music, happy hour specials and more have already been added to the lineup.

“We’re never going to stop expanding our options for entertainment,” Kooken said. “We have bowling leagues starting in the fall, college and professional football nights with special menus and drink specials, live music near the fire pits on the weekends, and a planned weekend brunch menu that will have the best bottomless mimosa deal in town.”

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A player runs through the new laser tag arena at Ten Pin Fun Center in Turlock, Calif., Thursday, July 25, 2019. Andy Alfaro aalfaro@modbee.com

The laser tag arena at Ten Pin Fun Center, 3700 Countryside Drive, is open during the complex’s regular hours from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, call 209-850-8500 or visit www.tenpinfun.com.

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Marijke Rowland writes about new business, restaurant and retail developments. She has been with The Modesto Bee since 1997 covering a variety of topics including arts and entertainment. Her Business Beat column runs midweek and Sundays. And it’s pronounced Mar-eye-ke.
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