Dr Vadim Chelom is a Veterinarian, a writer and an educator. You can read his blog at www.doctor-pets.com
Published October 23rd 2011
There are places of which we think with special fondness - not just because of what they are but because of how they are imprinted in our memory. For me 'Sidetracked' is one such place.
It's where we went as teenagers for our 'laser skirmish' fix (no judging please – we were a geeky bunch). It's where I took my wife-to-be for a date of mini-golf. It's where I took my toddlers to play a miniature version of ten pin bowling when the real thing seemed too large (and the bowling ball would always end up in the 'gutter'). So the day when I took my eight-year-old along - just the two of us, father and son, I felt a special excitement. At last here was a little miniature me old enough to feel what I felt all those years ago.
But I am getting ahead of myself. 'Sidetracked' is located at 370 Huntingdale Rd. South Oakleigh. There is ample free parking, entry is free and all game prices are on par with other amusement venues. Inside you will find old fashioned entertainment for just about any age and taste. There is the mini golf – a bit basic, but never fails to excite a toddler.
The 'mini bowling', as I mentioned earlier, is a scaled down version of the real thing. This means no need for bowling shoes and the balls are small enough for little hands to hold comfortably. Older kids will enjoy the racing carts. Those are real petrol driven carts, they make lots of smoke and noise and go quite fast on the purpose built undercover track. For those with a naughty streak, they also do well at bumping the other drivers you don't like so much (just make sure you do it when the attendant is not looking).
There is the usual smuttering of $2 arcade-style games, which comes handy when you are waiting your turn for the 'laser skirmish'. Ah, the 'laser skirmish' – as a high-schooler I have spend countless hours in its' dark corridors clutching my laser weapon looking for a target (preferably an unsuspecting toddler) destined for speedy 'eradication'.
The game attendant stared perplexedly at my 'multiple game discount' card carefully preserved from a generation ago. 'We don't issue those any more' he said, confused. 'I will honour it for you but I don't think we have issued cards like this since about, oh I don't know, nineteen-ninety - ...' Please, hold it right there. I feel old enough already.
No surprises that both my son and I enjoyed the day. I am still holding out for the time when I can bring my youngest daughter to 'Sidetracked'. I might have to wait a while – she has just turned one.