Monster Mini Golf: A Scary Good Time
Glow-in-the dark golf. Because daylight is for sissies.
Let’s face it. Miniature golf with miniature kids can be painful. They don’t know how to hold the club or hit the ball, let alone actually aim it to go through the windmill, down the hill and into the cup. When you’re not stuck waiting for you own brood to get through a hole, you’re forced to wait for some other family to finish theirs so you can move on down the course.
So when I heard about a place that has glow-in-the-dark miniature golf, my first thought was, “Because golfing in daylight’s not hard enough?”
My galpal Melanie had just been to a birthday party at a Monster Mini Golf in North Jersey, and she said the kids had a blast on the monster themed, blacklight lined indoor course, while the parents sat around kicking themselves for not being the one to think of this first. Melanie is a closet entrepreneur, and has been on the hunt for ‘the next great kids party place” idea so she can chuck her job and set up shop. If Monster Mini Golf got her thumbs up, I figured it was worth enduring a round of putt putt with twin five year-olds to see what the buzz was about.
Now, my family vacations in Myrtle Beach every summer, so we have seen more than our share of mini golf courses. We’ve seen jungle themed courses, pirate themed courses, dinosaur themed courses, even a course with a talking dragon that pops out of a castle and breathes fire over our heads. But we’ve never seen anything like this.
The Monster Mini Golf on Rt.9 in Marlboro is an indoor, glow-in-the-dark mini golf course with 2 private party rooms, special effects, a live DJ, plus arcade games and prizes. And did I mention it’s monster themed? I’m talking mutilated zombies, sinister skeletons, menacing jack-o-lanterns, evil clowns and other haunted house favorites at every turn. Instead of the typical golf “green”, you putt on black carpeting lined with glow-in-the-dark paint, using, of course, a glow-in-the-dark putter and golf ball. It is something to experience.
Obviously, one has to question the idea of mixing a family-friendly activity with décor that is the stuff of nightmares, but the whole thing is a frightfully good time, even for young ones. Maybe it’s all the neon-colored paint everywhere, illuminated by all those blacklights. We were advised to wear white so as to glow brightly, which we, and all of the “actual” monsters did. Also, the live DJ spinning old pop tunes really ups the fun factor. It’s hard to feel afraid when you’re bopping your head to Madonna or Bananarama.
My own kids were too tough (or stupid?) to be scared by the Frankenstein and other macabre animatronics that pop up unexpectedly while you’re putting. Not that I’m surprised. Halloween is their favorite holiday, and they all thought Ripley’s Believe It or Not! was hysterically funny. Especially the guy with a horn growing out of his skull. I like to attribute their thick skin to good (or reckless?) parenting.
Anyway, I think the litmus test for whether your own kids can handle Monster Mini Golf goes something like this: Do they watch The Nightmare Before Christmas over and over? Did they think Coraline was cute? Can they sit through the voodoo scenes in The Princess and the Frog without covering their eyes? If you answered yes to any of the above, you’re most likely fine. But if your kids cried during Shrek, it’s probably a no go.
The course itself, while not the biggest or most challenging, does offer enough quirks and tricks to make it fun and competitive, without the frustration of those windmills and sand traps that trap you there for what feels like hours. And, there’s so much ghoulish eye-candy to look at that you’re never bored when waiting for your turn. My seven year-old Luke went there for his friend Aidan’s party, and he and the other kids wore glow-in-the-dark vampire teeth from their goody-bags while they played, which itself was a sight.
As strange as it sounds, adding monsters and the dark really make it more enjoyable to play miniature golf with kids. Like my friend Melanie predicted, the Monster Golf folks are on to something big. What’s next? Monster-themed inflatable bounce places? Zombie-filled party gyms? Evil clowns on the playground? I, and my deranged offspring, can only hope.
Monster Mini Golf: 314 US Hwy 9, Marlboro, NJ – 732-414-2900
Little Monsters: $6:50
Big Monsters: $7.50
Party Packages start at $200 for 12 children