During a preview tour of the new Aqua Entertainment Center, the laser tag arena was off-limits for photos.
“We want it to be a surprise for the public,” said Jason Serang, marketing manager for Aqua.
However, members of the Los Banos Elks Lodge 2510 and select media representatives were allowed the first public look at the pirate-themed arena Tuesday. The 34,000-square-foot entertainment center is located at 923 W. Pacheco Blvd., the site of the old Los Banos Cinemas.
In addition to the laser tag arena, a highly anticipated bowling alley, arcade with ticket redemption prizes and party room make up the entertainment center.
Serang expects the center to open by the end of July, but Aqua is waiting on Skee Ball machines and supplies for setting up the arcade redemption area, as well as small items such as decorations.
Once it opens, Aqua will operate every day, with extended hours on Friday and Saturday nights.
Members of the Elks Lodge and friends were allowed to bowl on practice mode and check out the arcade games.
Serang said the Elks Lodge was selected for its first tour because its membership includes young and old.
“I think this is outstanding,” said Luise Pyeatt, president of the Elks Lodge. “This is much needed in our community. I didn’t know what to expect; I heard it was an arcade.”
Pyeatt said it was important for kids from the Elks Lodge to check it out and give their feedback.
During the tour, Serang showed about 25 people around the center.
The seating area near the front doors of the center would serve food and soda products and includes a beer keg. Serang said the alcohol options could be expanded later.
The arcade area will feature a redemption area where players can trade in tickets for prizes. And the open party room area features spray-painted art on the walls, created by artists from Indiana.
The laser tag arena features a fluorescent glow pirate theme, and players will be able to take cover behind ship barricades, treasure chests and skulls.
The bowling area features 10 lanes. Members of the tour were urged to break in the shiny new bowling balls.
Aqua owner Yong Ye, General Manager Eric Liu and other employees conducted research into what the entertainment center should contain, Liu said.
At first, there was discussion of making the whole multimillion-dollar center a bowling alley. But after discussions with community leaders, including Mayor Mike Villalta, Liu said, the owners focused on various attractions.
Serang said the group gathered more than 2,000 surveys from the public about what entertainment they would like to see.
“We want to be a part of this community, this family,” Liu said.