If you have tried to get in on a weekend night at the Rec Room, South Edmonton Common’s newest hot spot, you already know it’s a popular place for adults to have a drink and have some fun. What you might not know is that during the day, it’s a great spot for families! We recently spent the afternoon at having some fine eats, playing some games and generally having a blast. So drop your heavy jackets at the free coat check and get ready! Here are our top 5 reasons your next family date should be at the Rec Room!
1. Three10 The dining room at the Rec Room is called Three10, after our country’s 3 territories and 10 provinces. The menu focuses on Canadian food like BC seafood and Alberta beef. They also have a kids menu that was deemed by my kids to be “a taste sensation.” The kids menu offers entrees that are pretty standard for North American kids menus (chicken strips, burgers, mac and cheese) but the sides offer some nice options like Parmesan charred broccoli and smoked meat devilled eggs (my kids were BIG fans) for a welcome change from what you see on other kids menus. The kids meals include popcorn for a starter and a choice of dessert, including the option for a gourmet doughnut (see #5.)
2. Arcade Games in The Yard My kids are very into video games. They love them so much they watch other people playing video games on YouTube. Sometimes I find them setting up elaborate obstacle courses in the basement so they can act out video games. So “The Yard” in the Rec Room is probably what my guys envision heaven to be. With over 120 arcade games, they happily played until the credits ran out. Instead of requiring tokens, credits are loaded onto a bracelet that is held in front of each machine to deduct the required amounts. Credits (as well as the tickets won to put towards your prizes at the end) are loaded onto a bracelet, and automatically calculated and tracked on the bracelet. This means you don’t have to keep track of how much belongs to who, a good thing if you have more than one kid with you! Credits start at 25 cents each (the more you buy the less expensive they work out to be) with the games mostly clocking in around 6 credits per round.
3. The Trophy Case prizes aren’t total crap: If you have spent any time at kid focused arcades, you are familiar with the redemption booth and it’s attendant swag: vampire teeth that cut your mouth, rock hard “fruit” chews, tattoos that adhere unevenly, jewellery that may or may not give you a rash. The choices in The Trophy Case have an older focus than the ones you will find at the kids’ places (think shot glasses, etc) but there are a few things that the kids like too. Mine each chose a small stuffie that was not rock hard or strange smelling, so it is already ahead of what they won at the carnival last summer…
4. Control V Dubbed Canada’s first virtual reality arcade, Control V is made up of several dark cubicles each kitted out with a virtual reality mask, and hand held controllers to navigate your virtual self through the games. There is also a screen that displays what the person in the mask is seeing in VR, to make it easier for your family to shout helpful advice like “Not like that Mom!” You can purchase time in increments of 15 minutes. Personally I found it terrifying and lasted about 5 minutes, but my children, who are obviously citizens of the future took to it fairly easily after they got the hang of it, and would have stayed much longer had I not been suffering vertigo and terror.
5. Donuts at The Shed The doughnuts at the Rec Room merit their own category, because yum! First you choose which doughnut you want (we opted for the chocolate/marshmallow/graham cookie goodness of the S’more) then you choose one of the custard fillings–the day we went featured banana custard and maple cream. If you are a grown up, you can add a shot (literally a syringe filled with liquor) of Bailey’s, Kahlua, or Canadian Club Maple Whisky into the middle to “pump it up.” You can find these bastions of temptation at “The Shed” which very conveniently overlooks the arcade games if you are a mom who just wants to sit down and enjoy her liquor doughnut while the kids play.
In addition to these, there is bowling, a wood-fired pizza restaurant, and a driving simulator that professional race car drivers use to practice. For the over 18s, there is ax throwing and a calendar of varied entertainment. A family could easily spend a lot of money and time here, but for a once in a while treat, the Rec Room is a truly entertaining way to spend an afternoon or a special occasion!
Many thanks to the Rec Room for hosting my family. The opinions, as ever, are my own. ~JM