Indoor amusement centers are facilities that provide entertainment primarily or exclusively in an indoor environment. They are perfect for family fun, a ladies night out, Monday Night Football, parties, and corporate events. Indoor amusement centers have the ability to offer activities for everyone of all ages at one time or by targeting different demographics by “dayparts”.  These facilities typically include an anchor like bowling, go karts, casino, a hotel or restaurant along with attractions like arcades, laser tag, miniature golf, virtual reality and more.

Below are five of the top amusement centers in America by category. Each of the top amusement centers share similar features, rides, and games, making it easy to understand how they came to be so successful.

Traditional FEC:

Indoor Amusement Center Roller Coaster

Malibu Jack’s Indoor Theme Park in Lexington, KY

Malibu Jack’s has three locations in Kentucky. The facility provides a wide area of attractions for the whole family. Their success comes from their large size, meticulous cleanliness, great customer service, and ability to sell groups and parties

The list of activities at Malibu Jack’s Lexington, KY include:

  • Twist N Shout Coaster
  • Go Karts
  • Laser Tag
  • 4D Motion Dark Ride and Xrider
  • Ferris Wheel
  • Mini Golf
  • Arcade 
  • Bowling 
  • Bounce Area for Small Kids
  • Spin Zone Bumper Cars
  • Virtual Reality

Honorable Mention: Scene 75 (multiple locations in the midwest)

High End Small FootPrint FEC:

10K Alley at JW Marriott Marco Island

10K Alley is part of the JW Marriott Marco Island. This location was added as an amenity during a several hundred million dollar addition to the property. The indoor entertainment center is relatively small in size at roughly 12,000 square feet, but it provides a unique, high-end FEC experience and Gastro Pub. 

The facility is successful due to the high end theming that appeals to both companies and high net worth clients. 10K Alley is often booked for corporate buyouts but also serves as a great amenity for families on vacation, especially when the weather is bad.

The list of activities at 10K Alley include:

  • Small ball boutique bowling
  • Highly themed mini-golf 
  • Gastro pub
  • Arcade
  • Virtual reality
  • Gold Simulators

Indoor Amusement Park

3 Nickelodeon Universe East Rutherford, NJ

The Nickelodeon Universe location in Rutherford, NJ called Nickelodeon Universe, gets high marks for being the biggest indoor park in the western hemisphere, sprawling  across 8.5 acres. 

Based on a nickelodeon theme with characters from popular shows, the park is geared towards older kids and adults with indoor roller coasters and the world’s tallest indoor spinning drop tower.  

The activities available include:

  • Roller coasters
  • Carnival rides
  • Ferris wheel
  • Arcade all highly themed to Nickelodeon properties

Bowling Based FEC (BEC)

Indoor Amusement Centers Bowling

4 Lucky Strikes Wrigleyville

Lucky Strikes is a famous chain of high-class, bowling based entertainment centers.  Each location is custom designed and unique, but always includes great food and fun.  The Wrigleyville location in Chicago is 30,000 square feet overlooking the famous Wrigley Field.

The attractions at Lucky Strike Include:

  • Bowling
  • 2 Video walls and 4k screens throughout
  • Over 100 arcade games
  • Great food and drink Menu
  • Private space for groups and events

Cinema FEC

5 Movie Theater Anchored Cinergy Entertainment – Amarillo, TX

Cinergy Entertainment is the premier Cinema Entertainment Center operator in the world.  Based in Texas, they certainly fit the saying “Everything is Bigger in Texas.”  This entertainment center is over 100,000 sq ft and offers far more than movies.

Cinergy offers:

  • Theaters
  • Bowling
  • Escape rooms
  • Virtual reality
  • Ropes course
  • XD dark ride
  • Laser tag
  • Bar and restaurant
  • Arcade

What Makes An Amusement Center A Success

indoor amusement center success

Taking a look at the top five amusement centers in America, there are a few common factors that make them successful. 

Variety – No one wants to be bored at a place where they are supposed to be entertained. Each of the most popular amusement centers offer more than a single anchor attraction like trampolines or inflatables. From roller-coasters and ferris wheels to a large selection of both modern and classic arcade games, there’s an activity for everyone. Visitors can come multiple times for a  different experience each visit.

Modern Rides and Games – Along with variety is  the importance of keeping up with trends. Classic rides like go-karting and carousels will always be popular, but to keep new generations interested, amusement centers are spending money on virtual reality games and rides. The investment may be pricey to start, but they will improve any amusement center and bring in new customers.

Quality Food and Beverage – Gone are the days of giving the customer some popcorn, a hotdog, some candy and a coke. Most of the top indoor entertainment centers provide quality food and beverage. This helps sell to adults, keep people in the facility longer, and allow the facility to offer great corporate and group events.

Arcades – All of the above facilities offer arcades and that is no accident. Having a high quality redemption arcade drives much of the profitability in indoor family entertainment centers.

The first place to start when considering building or even attending an Indoor Entertainment Center is the anchor. If you  want a relaxing social experience then you might choose a high end small footprint FEC like 10K Alley or a bowling based center like Lucky Strike. If you are looking for non-stop action, then Cinergy Entertainment, Nickelodeon, or Malibu Jacks might be a better fit.