Monday, April 15, 2024

Game On!

By Chris Williams

From throwing axes to racing go-karts, everybody wins when teambuilding takes a sporty turn. 

Step away from the Zoom call. Put the spreadsheets aside. Exit the conference room. If you want to foster collaboration and strengthen bonds among colleagues, it helps to break a sweat, have some fun and engage in a little friendly competition. Whether it’s during a multiday meeting or an afternoon retreat with your office mates, Michigan offers countless ways to take a sporty approach to teambuilding.

High Caliber Karting and Entertainment


Home to two indoor racetracks featuring Michigan’s fastest electric go-karts, High Caliber Karting and Entertainment provides an instant adrenaline boost. When not careening down the tracks at 50 mph, guests can enjoy a Rage Room, Throw Bowling, Pocket Soccer, an arcade and 16 digital axe-throwing arenas. “The only people who aren’t going to have fun are people who don’t like fun,” says General Manager Zach Bingham. The venue’s six meeting spaces—including four VIP rooms—can accommodate groups ranging from eight to 150, with food available from two bars. Groups can choose from a variety of activities or rent the entire facility. 

Locked460 Escape Rooms

Grand Rapids 

Sometimes the most riveting competitions require breaking a mental sweat. Locked460 is one of Michigan’s premier escape room destinations and has been named the #1 Fun Thing to Do in Grand Rapids by TripAdvisor five times since 2017. Groups can rent any of the three themed escape rooms or reserve the entire facility. Each room is recommended for six to eight people, with a maximum capacity of 28 for all three. The $25-per-person fee is reduced to $21 for groups of 17 or more. Food and beverage setups are available, but food is not provided; several restaurants are available within walking distance. 

Feather Bowling at Bath City Bistro

Mount Clemens 

A combination of bocce ball and shuffleboard, feather bowling is an unusual and engaging way to forge team bonds. Players slide a wooden disc down a lane and try to get closest to a pigeon feather that’s planted in the center of the trough at the end of the lane. For more than 25 years, Bath City Bistro has been one of metro Detroit’s only feather bowling destinations. “People come to us for the competition and because the food is excellent,” says Event Coordinator Louise Cebalt. Bath City Bistro offers three lanes for feather bowling, which can be reserved for private events and groups of 20 or more, and catered buffets that include pizza, pasta, salads and entrées like Michigan cherry chicken and New York strip steak. Discounted group rates are available on weekdays. 

TreeRunner Adventure Park 

Grand Rapids 

Take your group to new heights at this aerial park, featuring ziplines and multiple challenges throughout its seven trails. With a variety of courses available and ongoing special events, including Glow Nights on summer weekends, no two visits are the same. All levels of fitness and appetites for adventure can be accommodated. “There are trails available for climbers from the beginner level to expert,” says Guest Experience Manager Destiny Campbell. “Schools, youth groups and sports teams visit our park frequently and love that they can always find a challenge in the trees. We regularly host corporate groups that participate in our various team-building activities and also just enjoy climbing together.” Guests can bring their own food and beverages into the park to enjoy at picnic tables. Tickets range from $35-$45. TreeRunner also has locations in Rochester and West Bloomfield, Michigan, and Raleigh, North Carolina.

Detroit Axe

Metro Detroit 

Axe throwing has become a popular group activity, thanks both to its novelty and accessibility. Detroit Axe co-owner Geoff Kretchmer says most novice axe flingers find they’re better at it than they could have imagined. “They think it’s going to be difficult, but our axe masters show them how to do it,” he says. “They’re surprised at just how easy it is.” Detroit Axe operates three locations in metro Detroit: Clinton Township, Ferndale and Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood. Each has its own take on food, beverage and entertainment options, including full bars, buffets and board games. Event rates and rentals are available for groups of 36 or more.


Auburn Hills 

Take your game to the extreme at Topgolf, a golf experience featuring high-tech games designed for players of all skill levels. It’s a fun experience, the company’s website promises, “even if you’re getting more holes-in-nones than holes-in-ones.” The three-story facility offers covered and heated bays, making it a popular destination throughout the year. Between games, guests can enjoy food and beverages prepared by Topgolf’s executive chef. “It’s all first class,” says Bob Raymond, director of sales. “We strive to go above and beyond.” For groups and special events, Topgolf offers a variety of bay rental 
and catering options, as well numerous event enhancements, including live leaderboards, personal coaches and team gifts. 



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