The familiar sound of a Go Kart engine is almost muffled by the laughter and squeals of delight from parents and children alike as they race around the track at Control Tower’s All-4-Fun recreation complex, just off Route 7 near the Albany International Airport.
There’s something about riding in a motor-powered “racing” vehicle that turns on even the most experienced driver — even one who has driven his own car for 30 or 40 years.
The Go Karts at All-4-Fun are powered by Honda motors, and although they resemble mini racing cars, they are actually more like drivable lawn mowers. Their top speed is a safe 15 mph, even though it appears they are going much faster.
“Ever since the good weather has come around, we are booked solid most days, especially during the weekends,” said manager Dave Testo of Latham. “This time of year, we get constant customers. I can’t believe it. We get people in their 70s, all the way down to kids in their early teens or even younger.”
Each ride is about four or five minutes, and drivers must be at least 56 inches tall.
“The kids love it, but so does everyone else,” Testo said. “We get some adults coming here after work, and believe it or not, we’ve been getting a lot of teachers now that school is over. Everyone loves to drive.”
The price is right: $8 for a two-person Go Kart or $6 for singles.
“We only allow eight carts on the track at the same time. That’s good for safety, so that the track doesn’t get too jammed up,” Testo said.
The Go Karts themselves are designed with safety in mind — despite the fact that they are open-air vehicles, drivers and passengers are locked in with a seat belt, and the body of the vehicle is lined with heavy rubber. Drivers are not allowed to bump into each other. This is not a bumper car track.
“This is the first time I ever did this,” said Al Prezio of Colonie. He and his teenage son, Alex, took advantage of a beautiful sunny day to participate in several different facets of the All-4-Fun complex, which also includes a snack bar/ice cream shop, batting cage and miniature golf.
“It’s sort of like when you get into a golf cart. You still get that same thrill driving around. It’s a nice experience all around,” Prezio said.
“I had a good time,” added Alex.
Karen Lind of Niskayuna brought four children to drive the Go Karts and get some ice cream. “It’s hard to find something for them to do, now that school is out,” she said. “This is a great place. It’s close by for us. We’ve been here several times before. I know the Go Karts are safe, and the kids love them.”
Most of the Go Kart drivers took time out for some soft ice cream or a game of mini golf on their visit, which included a great view of airplanes taking off and landing at the airport.
Here’s a link to all the stories we’ve written about fun things to do this summer. And share your ideas for Summer Days at www.dailygazette.com/summerdays or at [email protected]
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