We’ve all been there. It’s a Thursday night, you haven’t made plans for the weekend yet, and you just can’t bear the thought of another dinner out, even if it’s at that hot new restaurant that everybody’s talking about. It’s so easy to fall victim to the trap of getting all the small talk of the day out of the way before the appetizer arrives and then catching yourself sneaking peeks at your phone to see which of your friends are having more fun than you are.
You need to shake things up! Get out of your comfort zone and try out some date ideas that are a little more unusual and which encourage new kinds of interaction. These options are also great for group dates in case you want to load up a car-load of friends for an evening of fun.
Go Out and Try to Get Out at The Escape Game
Nashville has several escape-type experiences, but the most popular is The Escape Game, with three locations in Downtown, Berry Hill and at Opry Mills. The premise of these games is simple, just get yourself and your group out of a locked room by solving various puzzles and accomplishing certain tasks. Where it gets interesting is in the details and execution of the individual puzzles since The Escape Game offers multiple scenarios at each location, each with creative plotlines and new mysteries to solve in less than an hour to win the game.
You can pick from different difficulty levels, and most games can be played by 2-8 people, but the more the merrier when it comes to solving the conundrums. Each game begins with a video to immerse contestants in the specific world that the game is set in and the task at hand. You may be asked to recover a stolen painting, find some treasure or escape from a prison cell, but in every scenario it takes teamwork and organization to solve the puzzles along the way.
Expect the unexpected, because the games masters love to throw curveballs at the players during the course of the adventure, and nobody said it would be easy. The Escape Game is a great way for friends to learn more about each other or to help encourage collaboration among a team. Don’t feel too bad if you don’t solve all the puzzles, they promise to let you out after an hour, and you can always try another scenario again later.
Experience a Really Virtual Good Time at Digital Worlds VR
It’s just a short drive south of Nashville to Digital Worlds VR near Cool Springs, but it’s literally a world away, a digital world. This adult version of an arcade uses hi-tech goggles to place guests in a virtual world where they can play all sorts of games and experience visuals that would be impossible to encounter here on Earth. If you’re the sort who gets car sick or at an IMAX movie, don’t worry about that in the world of virtual reality. The reason you feel ill is because your brain can’t reconcile what your eyes are seeing with where it thinks it is in space. In a VR experience, you’re still moving around and the visuals behave just like your brain would expect them to in real life.
The play spaces are ten feet by ten feet, but the worlds you can experience with the goggles on are limitless. The trained staff will help you choose your game or experience and guide you through how to use your VR equipment. Players rent stations by the hour like at a bowling alley, and you can share the space with multiple players sharing a single headset to play individual games or rent multiple stations and headsets for multi-player games.
Like you’d expect, there are all sorts of games to play, from shooters where you might fight a horde of zombies or target shooting galleries to horror experiences where you make your way through haunted mansions. You can also play virtual versions of escape games that require you to solve puzzles using your goggles and the hand controllers to manipulate items in space.
If sports are your thing, you can box, race cars, play football or ride on a hoverbike like a character from Star Wars. Digital Worlds VR also offers straight-up workout experiences where you’ll burn plenty of real calories in a virtual world. Even if you don’t like games, you can embrace your creative side with modules that let you paint in a 3D space or play virtual drums with a pair of lightsabers. You don’t have to pick just one game; it’s no problem for the staff to switch you between different games whenever you want. They’ll even offer a free 15-minute trial experience for you to try out VR if there’s an available station when you arrive.
Fly Through the Trees at Adventureworks
Located on 40 acres along a ridge near the Harpeth River, Adventureworks is laid out in an old growth forest that are the basis for many different thrilling experiences. An aerial adventure course offers the chance to walk, climb or swing across a series of cables, ropes and logs that take you progressively higher into the treetops. Safety is of paramount importance, and all participants receive training before they enter the course. Trained staff members make sure that everyone is properly clipped in to safety cables and watch over all the fun.
The canopy zip tour is a classic zipline experience, allowing you to travel along cables from platform to platform high up in the trees. Once a month around the time of the full moon, they even offer moonlight tours where you arrive at dusk and glide like a bird illuminated by the shine of the moon. Especially good for an exciting date is the Couples Adventure, a six-hour experience from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm the second Saturday of each month.
Adventureworks has designed this particular experience as a chance for couples to try “fun and challenging initiatives that focus on bonding as partners, developing strong, reliable communication, dialoguing about how to overcome obstacles—and having fun in the process.” Facilitators work with the couples to help them learn to climb among the trees, cross swinging bridges, make bold leaps off towers and to learn how to support each other on and off the ground. They take special care to ensure that guests who might not be in (ahem) the best shape can still take part in the fun safely and enjoyably.
Best of all, there’s very little chance in any of these three date options that you’ll have the time or inclination to stare at your phone. Leave it in the car and cut loose!