POTC Spotlight: Electric Castle’s Wunderland

Weekend events not to be missed:

Washington Country Fair runs Thursday – Sunday at the Washington County Fair Complex. Free general admission, parking is $5 or just ride the MAX direct.

Iranian Festival on Saturday, August 1st in the South Park Blocks of Portland State University.

– The 15th Annual Bones and Brew Festival occurs this Saturday and Sunday in the Pearl. $3 suggested donation.

– Bank of America cardholders can receive free admission to the Portland Art Museum and the Pittock Mansion this Saturday and Sunday with Bank of America’s Museums on Us promotion.

– Sunday is the first Sunday of August, which means OMSI admission is just $2 for all and a chance to catch the featured exhibit “CSI: The Experience.”

POTC Spotlight: Wunderland

This week’s POTC spotlight is on one of my favorite diversions as a kid: nickel video arcade games. Fortunately, here in the Portland area we have Electric Castle to thank for keeping the tradition alive with their four Portland-area locations, with another outpost in Salem. I still remember their jingle that would play on the TV, with their slogan “Loads of fun for only nickels!” That still rings true today: pay a one-time admission charge (from $2-$3) and then get those nickels ready for some gaming action!

Depending on location, you’ll find driving games, shooters, Star Wars, Star Trek, classic arcades, pinball and more. And while there are still some games only needing a nickel, many of the games require 2-4 nickels, with a focus on those skill-type games that get you tickets that are exchanged for prizes (just like the Chuckee Cheese prize redemption).

Wunderland is worth a visit a couple times a year for a few hours’ worth of cheap entertainment. We time our visits to coincide with the bonus coupons available on their web site. There’s always a BOGO (buy-one, get-one free) coupon, but every few weeks they will have a new promotion that could get you double prize point redemption, free admissions or an unbeatable offer of buying an admission and getting up to x-number of nickels free (we once received 60 nickels for $2.50 admission–we actually made $.50!).

For even more entertainment bang for your buck, the locations at SE Belmont and in Milwaukie also offer low-cost second-run movies. At $2.50 per head, this is a separate admission charge. You don’t have to go to Wunderland just for the games, you can go just for the low-cost movie showings. Or go for both! With 2 screens, Wunderland is able to play up to six movies per day with shows beginning around noon and lasting well into the evening. How can they do this? Simple: both locations used to be actual movie theaters! Back in the day, I would pay for a PG-flick and sneak into the rated-R movies at the Avalon (how else was I supposed to watch ‘Creepshow‘ without parental permission?). Nice to see it still survive, along with the old Milwaukie Tri-Cinemas.

Alas, go treat yourself to a cheap movie–all locations also have affordable popcorn, soda pop, candy and ice cream. Beginning tomorrow Friday, July 31st and running until Thursday, August 6th, check out these summer blockbusters: Star Trek, Terminator, X-Men: Wolverine, Monsters vs Aliens, Night at the Museum, Land of the Lost and Angels & Demons. Oh yeah, they are also air-conditioned–a great place to escape from our recent days of summer heat! Thanks for reading and come back on Monday for another blog post.

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