My children are perfect angels—sometimes. They can also be devils, and, yes, I’ve definitely pondered how I could get back at them for all the times they’ve driven me crazy. That’s why I couldn’t resist booking a session for my family of four at Archery Games Denver, Colorado’s only archery dodgeball arena.
Inside a boxy warehouse near Highway 76 and Sheridan Boulevard, an industrial-chic lounge opens to a clean, 3,300-square-foot playing field with several inflatable barriers. Foam-tipped arrows are piled up in the middle of the court, in the safety zone, but before grabbing those, you’ll suit up for 15 minutes of target practice.
“No previous archery experience is needed to play,” says Jesse Warlick, owner of Archery Games Denver. During target practice, trained instructors teach participants how to hold and load their bows. Archery Games Denver is open to all ages, but children will have the most fun if they’re seven or older. “It takes strength and coordination to load the arrows,” says Warlick.
Show up in workout gear and comfortable shoes: You’re going to get sweaty darting around the arena, trying to eliminate opponents with arrows during a series of classic, dodgeball-themed games. The first—“Zombie Apocalypse”—is a warm-up match designed to introduce newbies to their equipment. “Players are never ‘out’ when they’re tagged, they just cross over to the other side and keep firing,” says Warlick.
My children, ages six and eight, struggled with their bows initially, but by the time we got to the third game—“Medic”—they were old pros. I’d been looking forward to pummeling them, but they kept tagging me out instead. Luckily, getting hit doesn’t hurt. The arrows are engineered so they won’t leave bruises or paintball-style welts. Masks, which are provided, are required on the playing field, minimizing the risk of injury to the eyes and face.
Referees oversee eight unique games, and sessions usually end with a dog-eat-dog elimination contest that’ll get everyone’s heart pumping. After an hour as an archer, my arm was sore—I’d gotten my workout for the day—and everyone in my family was smiling. That’s hard to beat on a dreary winter Sunday.
- Check it Out:
- 5405 W. 56th Ave., Unit D, Arvada
- Need to Know:
- Thursdays and Fridays, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Private bookings are available Monday through Wednesday.
- 75-minute sessions are $25 per player.
- Insider Secret:
- Thursday and Friday night games draw a high concentration of adult players. Families with younger children might feel more comfortable shooting arrows on the weekends, when more kids are on the playing field. You can also book a private game for up to 20 players through Archery Games Denver’s online booking system—a great option for middle or high school parties.