Play mini golf on a blacklight course. Credit: Kate Missine
The scene was hopping: The catchy beat of dance tunes thumped around us, and a disco ball rotated overhead, glinting in the darkened, neon-lit space.
No, I was not reliving my pre-kid glory days at a glitzy nightclub. But the new venue where I was spending a rainy Sunday afternoon with my kids was by no means any less fun. And, let's face it, about as much fun as I can handle these days!
My kids and I were, in fact, checking out all of the fun at Monster Mini Golf, a newly opened destination in Bellevue’s Factoria Mall. The family entertainment hot spot joins the shopping center’s other indoor-play favorites, The Slime Factory and Funtastic Playtorium.
Family entertainment hot spot
Monster Mini Golf owners Sanket and Sheetal, a husband-and-wife team who moved to the area from the East Coast, got the idea of offering a rainy-day alternative to outdoor putt-putt courses when they spotted a lack of local indoor options.
“We noticed that there weren’t a lot of indoor things for kids to do, especially around the Bellevue area,” says Sheetal. “We used to love playing mini golf back East, and with the weather here often bad, we thought — why is no one doing this?”
So, the couple reached out to one of their favorite haunts back in New Jersey, a franchise with locations in multiple states, and jumped into launching the first Monster Mini Golf in the Pacific Northwest.
Teeing off, monster–style
The novel concept is certainly one of its kind in the area. We walked through the arcade to the star of the show at the back: a darkened 18-hole miniature golf course, aglow with funky blacklights. Armed with fluorescent clubs and glowing golf balls, we were given a few simple play rules at the entrance, and then we set off on our game.
The theme is, true to the name, all about the monsters. A trio of playful “Zombears,” a moving green troll and a giant clown head were just some of the characters to greet us. The vibe is wacky rather than scary, and all ages are welcome, but use your judgment if your little is extra sensitive.
One of the highlights were the colorful, incredibly detailed murals decorating all of the walls, all hand-painted by a local Bellevue artist. The murals feature fantastical Pacific Northwest–inspired motifs.
In short, there’s no getting bored here while you wait for your turn to putt. Everywhere we turned, there was yet another surprise to discover: fun facts scrawled on the walls, a talking tree, an alien popping out of a barrel.
A background of upbeat music kept up the party-like atmosphere. The carpeted mini golf layout was easy to navigate, with the overall level being just challenging enough for my 7- and 13-year-olds. It took us around an hour to complete the course.
One word of caution: With so much going on, families with kiddos who are sensitive to sensory input may want to gauge the stimuli level before committing to play.
Lanes and lasers
Playtime wasn’t over once we made our final swings on the mini golf course. There was plenty more to explore, starting with a round of bowling. The bowling here is a simplified and scaled-down version of the regular game, which I personally loved for its convenience.
The four-lane alley makes for a quick, easy game with no shoe changes required and smaller, lightweight balls designed specifically for little hands. This made it a breeze for my younger son to bowl alongside his big brother.
My duo then made their way to the laser maze. It’s a “Mission Impossible”-style heist that intrigued even my typically too-cool-for-everything middle schooler. The challenge required them to make their way across a room crisscrossed by laser beams, while avoiding interrupting the beams.
Onlookers can watch the action on the TV screen outside. Choosing the two-player mode required them to cooperate, which they actually did for once, as they accomplished the mission. Score!
Finally, it was time for some arcade games. There were all of the familiar favorites, such as Skee-ball, air hockey and racing simulators. But we headed first to what I was told was the most popular attraction: Virtual Rabbids. This is a VR experience where you join some cute and mildly psychotic bunnies on a wild ride.
Afterwards, my kids tried their luck at winning some arcade tickets, which they promptly redeemed for candy from the prize counter. Prizes on offer include all of the standard loot. The arcade uses reloadable payment cards, with most games ranging from around $1.50 to $2 per play. The bowling, laser maze and VR games also work conveniently as part of the arcade, payable with the cards.
Monster Mini Golf also hosts birthday parties, with two dedicated party rooms in the back set up with tables and spooky thematic décor.
We polished off our visit to Factoria with a pit stop at the Amazon Fresh store next door, where the kids enjoyed the novelty of scanning my phone to enter and walking right out with our goodies. There are also multiple other kid-friendly dining options at the mall, including Panera Bread, Red Robin, Panda Express and others.
I left with two very happy kids as well as the satisfaction of a play-filled afternoon that would otherwise likely have been spent on the couch. Monster Mini Golf brings another option for exciting indoor fun to the Eastside, especially for tweens and teens aging out of indoor playgrounds.
We’ll certainly be back for another round of fun on a rainy weekend.
If you go ...
Find it: Monster Mini Golf Bellevue is located inside Factoria Mall at 4080 Factoria Blvd. S.E. in Bellevue. There is ample free parking in the lot.
Hours: The facility is open daily, noon–9 p.m., Sunday–Thursday, and noon–10 p.m., Friday–Saturday. You don’t need a reservation, just walk in.
Cost: Activities are priced separately, with several package-deal options available. Load money onto a card for arcade games.
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