I’ll admit it. The last couple months have just gotten away from me. It feels like one minute we were enjoying those last sweet adventures of summer– and the next minute Halloween decorations started to appear around town 🙂
Today’s post was one of those end-of-summer adventures (which explains why we’re all wearing shorts and t-shirts in the photos even though this week we saw our first frost of the season), but I’m just now getting around to writing about it! It was the perfect last blast of summer for my crew, and frankly, I just couldn’t wait until next year to introduce you to this fun destination: Sonny’s Place in Somers, CT.
The good news though, is that this venue has some extra special seasonal activities (like a hayride, corn maze and pumpkin patch) going on right now. So not only will you be able to experience everything you see in today’s post, but you’ll also be able to check out their fall festivities!
The bad news is that there will only be two more weekends to do that before they pretty much close up shop for the winter (I’m sorry!).
Sonny’s Place is located in Somers, CT, which is situated northeast of Hartford and up near the Massachusetts border.
It’s a really lovely, scenic drive through this part of the state. It seems almost too rural to have such a big amusement complex located there. But just when you think your GPS must be wrong– there it is!
There is a big parking lot.
This covered patio area marks the entrance, but it’s actually over in that barn-like building off to the right where you pay for the activities (this front building is the snack bar– more on that later).
So you’ll head there first to get yourself some “Sonny Moni.”
I really love the way the admission system works here. Basically, you just load money onto a card (called “Sonny Moni”) and use that to pay for everything– activities AND food. So you can either just get one card for your whole family to share, or you can get individual ones for each kid so they can “budget” for what they want to spend on. Each activity has a per person price, and the funds are simply deducted from your card. You can even get bonus “Sonny Moni” for purchasing certain amounts.
All the rates are posted outside the admission window, but you can also find the most current pricing information on their website.
- Mini golf
- Go Karts
- Mini bowling
- Bounce Houses
- Monkey Motion
- Rock climbing wall
- Batting cages
- Zip line
- Snack bar that serves food and ice cream
Since we knew that we were planning to be there for a few hours at least, and that we’d need to eat at some point, we choose the $100 with 20% bonus option. That means that essentially we paid $100 for $120 worth of Sonny Moni on our card. This can be used for all of the activities and the snack bar too. I know it sounds like a lot of money, but if you think about it, $100 for a family of four to play and eat is not so bad!
Our first stop was mini golf.
It’s totally self-service. Clubs are out for the taking and you use your Sonny Moni card to get the golf balls.
It’s a pretty challenging course, and there are a lot of opportunities for the balls to end up in the water 🙂 But that makes it fun for different ages and skill levels (and it was easy to fish the balls out of the water). It’s also a very sunny area, with only one shady spot (a well-placed gazebo in the middle). Keep that in mind when deciding what time of day to play!
The mini golf also has a great view of the Go Karts! That was helpful in giving my guys something to watch while they were waiting their turn.
I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that pretty much the whole reason we decided to visit on this occasion is that finally both my boys met both the height and age requirements to ride in the Go Karts! (Sorry, but there was no way I was coming here until both of them could do Go Karts! Could you imagine the fall-out if the little guy wasn’t able to participate?!) It was just a bonus that Sonny’s Place has so many other fun activities as well!
So of course, the next stop after the mini golf had to be the Go Karts. Lucky for me, I got to use this whole “I need to take pictures for the blog” thing in order to avoid having to actually drive one myself. I don’t know why, but tiny cars always make me nervous. Plus, I really just wanted to enjoy the looks on my kids’ faces as they zoomed by 🙂
I am going to take a moment here and spell out the (current as of summer 2017) Go Kart rules (hopefully helping you to avoid accidental heartbreak).
TO BE A PASSENGER IN A GO KART YOU MUST BE AT LEAST:
- 36 inches tall
- AND 4 years old
So that’s both. 36 inches tall AND 4 years old. You can’t be one without the other. So if your kiddo is not yet 4, don’t even bother getting out that measuring stick. Clear?
TO BE A DRIVER OF A GO KART (without a passenger) YOU MUST BE AT LEAST:
- 52 inches tall
- AND 10 years old
Now, that’s just to drive WITHOUT a passenger. Your 10-year-old cannot drive around your 4-year-old, so don’t get any fancy ideas 🙂
Drivers of a passenger must be at least 16 years old and 52 inches tall.
Other rules are posted:
Okay, now that we are clear on the rules, it’s time to drive!
On your mark, get set, go!
You do get to use the gas pedal and brake, but according to my husband, the maximum speed of the car is controlled for you. There are times when you are allowed to go faster, but then they slow them down again. And when the ride is over, all the cars are slowed down automatically (also at the start). I meant to time the ride when it was my younger son’s turn (since I hadn’t thought to do that on the first round), but alas, I was so caught up in watching him smile as they drove laps, I completely forgot again! I think the ride lasted somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes. It was definitely long enough to go around the whole track several times. I’m not sure who had more fun though, the boys or their daddy!
Driving (or riding) sure can work up an appetite! So our next stop was the snack bar for some refueling 🙂
The window to order food is around the far side of that building above.
There is a nice variety of options like pizza, grilled chicken sandwiches, grilled cheese, salads, burgers, hot dogs, fries, onion rings. The prices seemed really reasonable too. I think all four of us ate for under $30. These are some of the menu items. (You can find the full menu online.)
There’s also ice cream.
Orders are picked up at the window inside.
It was such a beautiful day, we chose to sit in the covered outdoor seating area.
You’ll get a pager to alert you when your food is ready, so you can go ahead and sit down anywhere (no need to wait near the pickup window). It did take longer than we’d normally expect from a snack bar for our food to be ready (I’d read some other reviews out there in cyberspace that said the same), but the kids entertained themselves pretty well by watching the birds hopping around beneath the tables looking for crumbs. Still, you might not want to wait until your crew is starving before placing your order. So that if it takes a few minutes longer than expected, you won’t have a mutiny on your hands 🙂
That pager buzzed not a moment too soon! And hubby swept in with trays of food just in time to dissolve an argument between the boys about whether or not that bird was a seagull (it was not).
While we’re over here, I’ll let you know that there is a restroom located on the side of this building closest to the road.
I can’t remember if there is a changing station in there or not. I want to say no, but I could be confusing this with one of the other half dozen places I’ve been in the 2 months since my visit here (I have got to learn to take notes!).
After lunch we decided it was a good time for games (and air conditioning) in the arcade.
The arcade has a nice variety of games so that even small kids have something to play. There were several machines out of order that day, but there was definitely enough to keep the boys busy for a while. You can use your Sonny Moni card here to play all the games. The cost is indicated on the scanner.
Also, any tickets won will be automatically uploaded to the card.
I will say that this is the one place where our “one card for the whole family” approach broke down. The kids wanted to go in opposite directions and I found myself behaving much like a pinball trying to activate this game here and that game there (because why would they ever want to play the same game at the same time?). Fortunately, that problem can be easily solved by loading some money on another Sonny Moni card.
In the back corner we found one of those claw machine where you could try your luck plucking out an inflatable ball.
To my astonishment, I was able to nab this cute emoji ball for the little guy.
I was so proud of my mad claw grabbing skills when I noticed this sign:
Turns out everyone wins a ball on this one. Bad for my ego. Good for parents who want to know there’s a guaranteed prize for their kiddos here.
In this area you’ll also find the mini bowling.
Just FYI, there is also another restroom located in this area of the arcade.
Before we left the arcade the kids had to cash in their tickets for some prizes. I will say that I thought the prizes here were pretty nice as arcade prizes go. My kids didn’t play enough games to win tons of tickets and yet they still walked away with some neat things.
It was getting late and we still hadn’t even made it around the back to the bounce houses and other gravity-defying contraptions.
Hubby also wanted a turn in the batting cages. So we decided to let the kids have a few minutes in the bounce houses while he took a few swings. The bounce houses are available for 30-minute sessions and the kids get bracelets with a start time on them (so you’ll want to purchase these from the admissions desk right before you plan to use them).
I think I was just so tired by this point that I had given up taking pictures because I have no pictures of the kids playing in the bounce houses. None! I’m even a little surprised by that myself. I must have been exhausted!
We could easily have stayed for longer that day (and given the fact that they are getting ready to install a new, but historic, carousel at Sonny’s Place–and laser tag we hear too–soon there will be even more to do!), but all our Sonny Moni was spent and that seemed like a good indication that it was time to call it quits.
Driving back through the sparsely populated countryside, it would be easy to feel like the whole place had been some kind of elaborate mirage. But I promise you it’s there! And I think it will be part of our summertime memories for years to come.
Seasonal; hours and attractions vary by time of year. Please check their website for the most current information.
The price of most activities ranges from about $2/per person to $9/per person. Prior to participating, you purchase a “Sonny Moni” card with the amount of money you would like to spend. You then use that card to pay for activities. Check their website for the cost of specific activities.
You can put any amount of money on your card, but you will receive the following bonus cash for these amounts:
Sonny Moni Fun Cards (Used For Arcade & All Other Attractions)
Purchase $20 or More – 10% Bonus
Purchase $35 or More – 15% Bonus
Purchase $100 or More – 20% Bonus
If you plan to stay for awhile, do a lot of the activities, and eat there, we found that the $100 card–with the $20 extra bonus cash for a total of $120–was a good deal; we were able to use it for the activities AND to pay for food at the snack bar. As a family of four, that really came out to just $25/person for the whole experience!
Stroller Friendly: YES
Coffee Mug Friendly: NO. No outside food or beverages allowed.
Baby Changing Station: Oh gosh, I can’t remember. This is what happens when I wait too long to write my posts! I want to say no in the one we used (at the front). There is another restroom in the arcade that we did not check out.
Parking: YES. Parking is FREE.
Food for Sale: YES. Find details on the food here.
Outside Food Allowed: NO. No outside food or beverages allowed.
Cash Required: NO. You can use a credit card to purchase your “Sonny Moni” card.
Age Recommendations: All ages are welcome here (we certainly saw plenty of little ones in strollers!). However, to ride what I consider to be the main attraction, the Go Karts, kids need to be at least 36 inches tall AND 4 years old (they must be 10 years old and 52 inches tall to drive). So just be aware of that so no one goes home brokenhearted 🙂
Dress Code: NO.
Evening/Weekend Hours: YES
Discounts: Bonus cash for putting certain dollar amounts on your “Sonny Moni” card. See “Pricing” section above for details. Be sure to check their website, for the most up-to-date information.
Birthday Party Venue: YES. Get more info here.
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