An adventure. That’s what the Summer of 2022 was for the Kordatzkys. We camped up by the Canadian border. We took the boys on a Kerfoot Canopy Tour in Henderson, Minnesota. The girls traveled to Kansas City, MO. Not to mention all the camps and camping that happened.
We have had adventures in our own backyard as well including taking each family member to a different play or musical in Minneapolis and the surrounding twin cities area. We ended the summer with a team building experience or, in our case, a family-bonding one with Sandbox VR.
Because of the opening of the 2nd Twin Cities location in Eden Prairie, Sandbox VR offered our whole family comp tickets to enjoy an adventure in their virtual reality video gaming world. While we were given the tickets, the review is still completely my own.
We didn’t know what we were getting into, but Chris and I knew our kids would love it. Even if Mama was a little unsure about having any VR experiences.
What is Sandbox VR?
Sandbox VR is unlike anything you have experienced before. If you have done VR at home, this is completely different.
Instead of playing a video game on a console, you are actually immersed into a entire virtual world. You are completely and utterly immersed, as I said, into the virtual reality games. It’s a unique experience for private events of 2-6 people.
Here’s what to Expect at Sandbox VR:
After signing into your reservation, your host leads you to your game bay where you can safely store your personal items. Then you gear up. And let me tell you, when plunging completely into this virtual environment, you need ALL the gear: VR headset, a haptic vest, a backpack, and motion sensors on their wrists and ankles. The gear weighs about 25 pounds.
Each person chooses and is assigned an avatar.
Let me just say that I struggled with seeing my husband look a little like Jean Picard After a few minutes, I adjusted, but it was trippy (I have never used that word before but it seems like the only appropriate word to use).
Our Sandbox VR Experience
We decided to surprise the kids and didn’t tell them what we were doing. We drove up to Rosedale Mall, made our way through Potluck on the 2nd floor, and rode the escalator to the top floor.
Our kids were speechless. They couldn’t believe that we had arranged to be guests at a virtual reality arcade. We chose our adventure from one of the different games ultimately selecting Star Trek: Discovery. We followed Sammy our host to step one of gearing up.
When suiting up, Aaron and Ravinia as well as our host, Sammy, took us slowly through the process. We may have asked some of the most ridiculous questions, but they were extremely patient.
After our ankles and wrists and vests activated, we heading back into our room to put on our backpacks and vr goggles and receive our weapons: in our case we received “scanners” and “phasers.”
Here is what we experienced! (what you don’t see happening is me running around into my husband and kids trying to dodge the creepy Klingons)
Everyone who go through one of Sandbox VR’s simulators receives a couple of videos to share with their friends and family.
The Kordatzky’s Impressions of Sandbox VR
Venue Room: While the room seemed quite spacious, it isn’t as big as we expected. Because the sensors and readers need participants without a certain perimeter, the room shrinks by four feet all the way around. With six almost fully-grown or completely grown adults, we felt a little crammed.
Headset: We all wear goggles AND headsets. Sometimes it was a little difficult to hear the story whether it was because the earphones didn’t fit exactly properly or because our teammates were commenting and we couldn’t hear our instructions. Ultimately, it didn’t really matter because you just point and shoot at everything moving anyway.
Adrenaline Rush: Our hearts were pounding. We were screaming. We were jumping and running (or was that just me?). We were sweating profusely. I literally went into freeze response (Flight or Fight? I Freeze). Even though the game tells you to get down, I just stood in the pathway of the enemy phasers. Needless to say, I had to be revived a lot.
Know Before You Go (about Sandbox VR)
The equipment is heavy. The goggles come all the way around your nose. And it takes a minute to feel okay walking around “blind” because even though you feel like you will run into something, you won’t. (unless you are Gianna trying to escape the creepy Klingons that jump up in front of you and behind you and over you)
You will sweat. We weren’t sure if it was from the adrenaline coursing through our veins or the moving around, but either way, we were all dripping. So dress in comfortable lightweight clothing that you can move around in.
It’s normal to feel a little nauseous at first. We were not prepared for that feeling. Most of us got used to it. However, our youngest son got really tired at the end and that’s when he really started to feel yucky. Our oldest son–who dominated the game–could have done one event to the next event all day. It didn’t bother him at all.
If you start to feel a little woozy, you can take off your mask to get your bearings. Or I just closed my eyes.
Everyone screams. I got Aaron to admit that listening to the players scream is one of the best parts of his job. I can imagine how much fun that would be. But again, if something startles you or scares you, you can simply close your eyes. After I ran into my husband trying to outrun a VIDEO game, I realized that if I closed my eyes, nothing would happen to me.
Age recommendations 10+. The vests and equipment are designed for adults so smaller children will have difficulty with the googles and the vest and backpack. Also, even if you choose the most cartoonish game offered (The Curse of Davy Jones), there is the potential for bad dreams. This may or may not have happened to the Kordatzky family.
Sandbox VR Experiences and Locations
Where can you find Sandbox VR in Minnesota?
-“It was fun, exhilarating, exhausting, and cathartic. Cannot wait to try the other adventures.” -Debra, 5 Stars on Google
-“Best VR experience in MN.” -Taylor, 5 Stars on Google
New Location: Eden Prairie
-“Great memorable experience!!! Way beyond AWESOME! Staff was VERY helpful and friendly.” -Doris, 5 Stars on Google
-“This place is amazing! I’ve been to a few different VR places and this place blows them out of the water! We will be back to play the rest of the games!” -Evan, 5 Stars on Google
A Variety of Video Games to Choose From
- Deadwood Valley & Deadwood Mansion (both games where you shoot zombies)
- UFL — Unbound Fight League (sparring other players)
- Amber Sky 2088 (Robots versus Aliens)
- Star Trek Discovery (Shoot the Klingons and the flowerworms–that’s what we called them)
- Curse of Davy Jones (pirate adventure) — best for youngest members of the family
Links to Sandbox VR Website and Social Media
Looking for more fun with your teens and tweens?