Marvin Walder/The Broadside
The Sun Mountain Fun Center has been a go-to locally owned spot for families in Bend since it opened in 1995, and now it’s undergoing some of its biggest changes ever during its fourth renovation. Last summer, the Fun Center started work on a 2 million dollar overhaul, and now it’s nearing its final stages. There’s also a variety of new attractions and offerings for guests that aim to modernize the Sun Mountain Fun Center and create a more family-oriented environment in a style that many local breweries have opted for.
The first thing that customers will notice is the largely re-done styling of the interior. There has been a shift away from the very crazy 90’s neon style that is reminiscent of older fun centers. Now, the interior features a very rustic industrial vibe with strong influences from the styling found in local breweries and also largely in homage to the Old Mill. This kind of styling aims to be more appealing towards older audiences as well so that people such as parents and young adults can also enjoy the more local and authentic styling without feeling out of place. The bowling has also been re-done, featuring new machines and seating areas, creating a much more comfortable and modernized atmosphere for bowlers.
Some of the other cosmetic changes include the removal of a few pool tables and the relocation of the bumper cars to what was previously the reservable party room behind the arcade. With this space, there has been a newly created bar and seating area in the front of the Fun Center. With future plans to create patio seating and a large openable garage door, and a revamp of food and drink offerings, the Fun Center is aiming to create a more enjoyable and brewery-style dining and hangout experience for guests.
The second most major change is the newly constructed laser tag arena that features black lights, neon barrels, smoke machines, and plenty of hiding spots. The arena has a garage and wrecking yard theme, evident by the massive claw and the affectionately known “steaming pile of garbage” in the center of the arena. The arena is also littered with shootable targets and gates, which allow for around 50 laser tag game modes that are available to the public. Surprisingly, the arena also has a second-story area in the center that is available via two ramps on either side. The planning for the arena took 8 months and the removal of 6 bowling lanes to create space for the construction. One silver linings of the COVID-19 restrictions on recreational activities this winter is that it has allowed the Fun Center to go all-in on finishing construction, and now the arena is ready for some intense laser battles.
The arcade has also seen renovations with the addition of 20 new machines, re-painting and carpeting, and the newly added Hologate VR system. The Hologate VR system allows for 4 players to simultaneously play a number of games together, and it features some seriously impressive hardware. The VR headsets used are the top-of-the-line HTC Vive Pros which are tracked in 3d space and allow players to physically walk around and interact with a virtual environment. These headsets are then run by pulley-supported cables to six custom-built desktops that feature water cooling and some serious GPU power from Nvidia. For those who are new to VR and even those that regularly enjoy it, this is quite the worthy way to experience it.
These additions and cosmetic reworks have given the Sun Mountain Fun Center that shiny new toy feel, and will likely provide great entertainment for many guests to come. There are also plans to touch up the exterior of the building and some of the outdoor attractions in the coming year. Currently, the Sun Mountain Fun Center’s temporary hours are Wednesday to Sunday from 12-8 pm. The lack of hours comes mainly from a lack of staff. Scott Ramsay, the owner of the Sun Mountain Fun Center, commented:
“Coming out of the COVID epidemic we are finding it challenging to hire enough people to open back up without regular hours, so we are forced to operate on a much-reduced schedule until we can find enough people to work all of the available hours and shifts. We are always looking for upbeat people of all ages to help us provide a safe fun environment for families to spend time together.”
For those who are interested in learning more, or applying for employment, check out the Sun Mountain Fun Center website.