When Darlene McNaughton was raising three kids in Juneau, she could see there wasn't much for them to do.
"My youngest is 21 now, and he enjoys this," she said at the entrance to her new indoor laser tag course at The Party Zone.
She opened the party supply store on Oct. 15 in the former Williams Express building at 6585 Glacier Highway in Lemon Creek. Arcade games and Juneau's first laser tag course opened two weeks ago, and she plans her grand opening this weekend.
"Kids need a place where they can hang out," she said. The Party Zone includes a snack bar, air hockey and pool tables and other games to play.
She had a few arcade games when she owned House of Gifts in the Nugget Mall. The Party Zone evolved from House of Gifts, which got into the party supply business, she said.
Laser tag became popular in the 1980s. Participants at Party Zone go into the course armed with "phasers," which use a combination of radio frequency, laser and fiber-optic technology to target and shoot. The course is a dimly lit maze, with high-tech music, strobe lights and fog that captures the beams from the phasers.
"We have control of the fog," McNaughton said, noting it can be adjusted to meet participants' preferences.
People pay for 10-minute sessions and can go as individuals or part of a group, she explained. People receive scorecards when they leave.
Interest isn't limited to kids, she said. Earlier this week, she said a couple of adults from a church group came in dressed in suits. They put on the laser tag vests and went at it.
A single 10-minute session runs $7, but McNaughton offers cards that allow people to buy five sessions and get the sixth for free. She also sells 20 sessions for $100.
The game area opens at 2 p.m. weekdays and noon on weekends. It's open until 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and midnight Fridays and Saturdays.
Tony Carroll can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.