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STUDENT SURVIVAL GUIDE '09: Underage entertainment guide

Choose your own adventure: Shake off the bar blues with these booze-free hotspots


It's a Thursday night, your homework is done (or can be completely blown off until 10 p.m. on Sunday), and you're ready to go out. But you've been hitting up the same bars, dance clubs, and movie theaters for weeks. These types of places, while fun, can still get boring. Never fear: there's plenty to do in Rochester, and when you're sick of being in the same college groove as everyone else, you can get some friends and head out to do something different.

Be a kid again

For a sweet arcade, mini-golfing, or adult go-kart racing, head over to ClubhouseFunCenter (70 Jay Scutti Blvd, off Jefferson Road, 272-7888, clubhousefuncenter.com). It's close to RIT and MCC, and not far from other area colleges. The Clubhouse has a decent-sized arcade and a charming putt-putt course as well as some great go-kart tracks. Be careful, though: some of those kids are brutal drivers. Admission for both golfing and go-karts is $6 each, and the arcade is coin operated. The ClubhouseFunCenter is open until 11 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays, until midnight Fridays-Saturdays. During the winter it is open only on weekends, and go-karts and putt-putt may be closed depending on the weather.

            Another nearby mini-golf course/arcade is Adventure Landing (3340 W Ridge Rd, 225-5093, adventurelanding.com). It's home to a much larger arcade, outfitted with more than 100 games and a ticket redemption center for prizes. You can play some games of putt-putt on one of the three courses, or you can hit a homer in one of the large batting cages. If you're really feeling childish you can get your friends into the three-story WOW! Factory, loaded with thousands of foam balls you can throw, shoot, or dump onto unsuspecting enemies (or allies). Mini-golf costs $6.50 for one game or $7.50 for two; WOW! Factory tickets are $5 each. Mondays are a steal at the arcade with 100 tokens for $15. Adventure Landing is open until midnight Sundays-Thursdays, 1 a.m. Fridays-Saturdays.

            Go back to the days of roller skates and loud music at Horizon Fun FX (675 Ling Rd, 865-0493, horizonfunfx.com). For just a few bucks you can rent a pair of skates and take to the rink, shaking it to music played by the staff DJ. On most nights you can take pleasure in running over some fat kids, or you can go on adult-only Wednesdays nights (8-10:30 p.m.) to escape The Jonas Brothers and the other awful tween music. There is a café and a small arcade as well, so if you get tired you can take a break. Admission varies; open skate is $2, adult nights are $6, and skate rental costs $4. Open skate times are Tuesdays-Thursdays 10 a.m.-2 p.m., with an open skate pizza party night Wednesdays 5-8 p.m. ($8, includes unlimited pizza and pop).

High-energy entertainment

Maybe you need something more heart-pumping than mini-golf. If you're interested in starting a war, and ideally coming out the victor, consider the (mostly) non-violent game of laser tag, offered up at Laser Quest (2833 W. Ridge Rd, 225-0505, laserquest.com). Shoot your friends while you run around the multi-level arena complete with laser lights, fog, and loud music. You get to create a codename, and can play individually or on teams. Admission costs $8. Laser Quest is open until 9 p.m. on weeknights, 10 p.m. on weekends, with limited hours during the winter.

            If lasers seem too high tech, at Performance Paintball (1250 Scottsville Rd, 235-5290, reaperpb.com) you can have a fun-filled day shooting your friends with brightly colored paint. These things hurt like a bitch, so wear multiple layers of clothing and be prepared to go home with some bruises. Admission costs $20 per day and includes a rental package of a semi-automatic paintball gun, goggles, barrel cover, and unlimited compressed gas. After that it's $3 for 100 paint balls. For a few extra bucks you can rent other equipment, from chest protectors to fancy goggles. Call to set up some hours for your friends, or head out to open play on Saturdays 6-9 p.m. And newbies, don't worry too much; each group is supervised by safety referees.

            Sometime around the end of semester you will most definitely be sick of school. So get away from it all by going on a rock-climbing adventure at someplace like Rock Ventures (1044 University Ave., 442-5462, rockventures.net). It's the largest indoor rock-climbing facility in the United States, and was opened by an RIT professor who felt that even he needed some excitement in his life. Regular admission is $15 for three hours of free roam, and includes a harness and shoe rental. But before that you need to have safety training, which costs an additional $10. Rock Ventures is open Mondays-Saturdays noon-9 p.m., Sundays noon-6 p.m.

Asthma attack-free fun

For something more relaxing, you and your friends could head over to Look Ah Hookah (4139 W Henrietta Rd, 334-8340, lookahhookah.com). This smoking lounge offers different types of tobacco, including some fun fruity flavors. Plus it stages special events each week, such as belly dancing, pizza-and-movie night, karaoke, and more. Admission ranges from $9 to $15, and costs $8 for early birds on Thursdays. If you have a college ID you can save $2 on admission every day except Wednesdays. Look Ah Hookah is open Mondays-Wednesday 6 p.m.-midnight, Thursdays 4 p.m.-1 a.m., Fridays-Saturday 6 p.m.-2 a.m., and Sundays 2 p.m.-midnight, with seasonal hours during the winter. Call for updates.

            For some old-school fun try Fantasy Raceways (3787 Dewey Ave, 621-1373, fantasyraceways.com). Here you'll find tons of old arcade games to play, anything from Cruis'n USA to Donkey Kong to Pac-Man. Enjoy the neon lights throughout the shop and its hundreds of posters and racing- and game-related décor. It's not named "Raceways" for nothing, as it is home to dozens of slot car tracks available for play.

            For more couch-potato entertainment, check out the newly opened Cyberstorm Gaming (3047 W Henrietta Rd, in TownlinePlaza, 287-6287, cyberstormgaming.com), a LAN gaming facility with high-tech computers and console setups. You can come and play your MMO games, bring some friends and duke it out on Smash Bros. or Street Fighter, or join other video game fans for tournaments. A day pass costs $14 for play from open until close; year memberships are also available. Cyberstorm is open Sundays-Thursdays noon-11 p.m., Fridays-Saturdays noon-1 a.m.

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