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The tactical nerf gun arena at VR Escape Reality is the only one of its kind in the country, according to owner Chris Starr.

The summer can be a difficult time for working families to keep kids busy and occupied.

The pandemic only further limits options for parents around town as it forced the city’s popular summer camp programs to reduce capacity in the name of social distancing.

That’s where private businesses like VR Escape Reality come in. The virtual reality arcade, located above La Vita Dolce on Swanson Avenue, recently began offering its own version of summer camp for kids.

Owner Chris Starr likes to call his business “Havasu’s only true family entertainment center.” In addition to the VR arcade, he recently added a room for Nerf gun wars, and he has several rows of classic arcade games.

When the pandemic hit, Starr saw the opportunity to fill a need for families with children. His summer camps allow participants to use the virtual reality equipment for games as well as educational content.

“It’s a very structured program,” says Starr. “The kids spend time at each station and about one-third of their days are spent learning on our STEM-accredited virtual reality educational content. They’re learning while they’re having fun.”

Each camp runs Wednesday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m. over the course of a month. Starr says there will be a camp each of the next two months. Spots are limited to 10 due to social distancing recommendations.

Lunch is served by La Vita Dolce, VR Escape Reality’s downstairs neighbor, and is included in the $249 price tag.

“Most of the time, kids in summer camps are sitting in a gym all day and might get to do one or two exciting things each week,” Starr said. “We present a much more exciting opportunity. We’ve gotten a great response from our customers.”

Meanwhile, Lake Havasu City’s parks and recreation department continues to offer its traditional summer camps. Sunshine Camp runs through July 16. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the camps are operating at a limited capacity. The program is only able to take 45 children at each of its three elementary school sites, Jamaica, Smoketree and Nautilus.

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