And the thrill of speed.
For adults, Traxx Racing in Mukilteo is a place to escape the gloom of winter and relive those childhood fantasies of being a race car driver.
For kids, going to Traxx would be like being part of a Disney "Cars" movie.
For families, Traxx can be that wintertime godsend on a rainy cold weekend when everyone's asking "What are we going to do today?"
Traxx Racing is an indoor racing track where adults and kids can run laps in high-performance go-karts that go fast and propel drivers inches above the ground for that thrill of really feeling the pedal hitting the metal.
"You are going about 35 mph, but you are only inches off the cement out there so you're feeling like you are doing double that," said Traxx employee Chris Kruse, who has been with the company for 13 years.
Traxx is as cheery as it is thrilling. In a seating area outside the building, a circle of bright yellow Adirondack chairs beckon visitors to relax before the big ride.
Inside, the lobby sparkles in glossy reds and yellows and lots of chrome, with tables shaped like the Corvette chassis and a cement floor splattered in a rainbow of paints as if Jackson Pollock had a hand in the design.
Adults can sign up to drive on the 14-turn road course. A typical lap takes about 21 or 22 seconds so expect to be able to finish about 20 laps in a nine-minute session.
Nine minutes is plenty of time to feel exhausted and exhilarated.
"You don't realize the upper-arm strength that goes into driving these karts," Kruse said. "It's not like your car where you sip your coffee. In these, your power steering doesn't work for you. You have to have both hands on the wheel and really be driving it."
There's also the thrill for those more competitive racer types who like to be at the front of the pack in time trials.
Traxx gives drivers computerized race results, and those top speeders get their names and times up on the Traxx wall of fame.
"To be honest, some people really like to see their names up," Kruse said. "We don't have a prize but the most valuable thing is the bragging rights."
Traxx also runs the "TRAXX 100" endurance race on the last Tuesday of every month.
For kids ages 6 to 10, Traxx provides identical though smaller and slower gas-powered karts that kids drive on a heavily padded L-shaped course with four turns. These karts go 10 mph.
"Ten mph is about fast enough for a 6-year-old to get a thrill," Kruse said.
For kids' birthday parties, track attendants are on hand to quickly get young drivers geared up and on the go. During parties that are held upstairs at Traxx, the arcade machines are free and guests have a private room.
There are also battery-powered "Lightning McQueen" karts for the wee ones, ages 3 to 5.
Traxx offers a variety of party packages and daily specials, from corporate team-building events to family nights and nights just for women.
You can do other things at Traxx besides racing: There's a 24-foot climbing wall; pool tables and air hockey; a bouncy basketball house; and a Velcro sticky wall where you strap into a Velcro suit then bounce and try to stick to the wall.
Traxx has been in business for 14 years.
Kruse said the company's goal over the years has been to try to innovate so "there's something here for everybody."
Theresa Goffredo: 425-339-3424; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Start your engines
Traxx Racing, 4329 Chennault Beach Road, Mukilteo; 425-493-8729; www.traxxracing.com; email@example.com
Racing hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Cost: $18.25 for adults, and $5.50 to $12 for kids, depending on age.
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