So how did a game that uses unequal parts of basketball, lacrosse, and bumper cars come to Chicago? It is a story of intrigue and blind, reckless determination.
Unlike some unpublished reports, it didn’t begin with a blindfold, a map, and a dart. But it did begin with a question. Where in the world are a bunch of people in need of fun but unable to go outside several months a year? The answer…Lombard, Illinois. In 1993, Sam Elias, our founder, moved from Florida to Chicago to bring the people what they always wanted: 4,000 square feet to bump cars, cross check, slam dunk, and embarrass themselves without getting arrested. And as it happened…this was an extremely good idea.
People needed a release from the nine to five and from Tuesday night bowling. In fact, the desire was even greater than Sam expected. So three years later another location opened near downtown Chicago and eight years after that another popped up in Vernon Hills. Then, to the delight of daredevils and adrenaline junkies everywhere, we added laser tag facilities and bowling!
So that’s the story of how Whirlyball exploded on the Chicago scene, and we’re sticking to it.
Well, most of it.
In 1962, the owner of an automotive shop in Salt Lake City got the idea for WhirlyBall when he saw his son playing a game similar to hockey with a stick and a tin can while driving a golf cart. This was how the world’s first and only mechanized team sport was born.
After many years were spent on working to develop a more agile, differently-powered bumper car, the first WhirlyBall court opened in 1980.
Today, although there are many versions and locations around the country, the three Chicagoland WhirlyBall locations remain the most successful. Our new Chicago WhirlyBall located in the Bucktown area is the largest in the world at approximately 50,000 square feet, and touts three courts, a beautiful multi-level lasertag arena, 12 bowling lanes, a large dedicated event space and rooftop terrace with a view of the city’s skyline!
Franchise opportunities are available and there is someone who would love to speak to you about the possibilities! Simply complete the form below and a representative will reach out to you.