OMAHA, Neb (KMTV) — If you are suffering from cabin fever, some family fun outside the house may be in order. The Amazing Pizza Machine is a possible destination. It's filled with games, rides and attractions and is also home to the largest restaurant in Nebraska. 3 News Now Anchor Serese Cole shows us what changes are being made to make sure your time there is safe and enjoyable.
When Nichole Hooks wants to treat her kids to a little food and fun, she knows exactly where to go.
"They get to play things we normally don't get to do at home," Hooks said.
The Amazing Pizza Machine has been entertaining kids of all ages for nearly 15 years in Omaha.
"We're a 60,000 square foot, all-indoors restaurant and family entertainment center...so you can enjoy unlimited buffet while you're here," said Amazing Pizza Machine Vice President Allen Wachter.
There are 170 arcade games.
"Plus thrill rides and attractions including bumper cars and go-carts," Wachter added.
But when COVID-19 hit last year, it was game over for the entertainment center. The doors were closed for four months.
"The blessing of the 16 weeks is it allowed us to — listen to government officials, industry partners, our vendor providers — to develop a safety plan," Wachter said.
He said that plan started with reducing capacity to about one-third. They also developed a strategy for keeping the games clean.
A team wipes down surfaces daily with a special solution.
"We already got great compliments about our cleanliness and our sanitation procedures, but with COVID, you have to take it to another level and do disinfecting as well. That's where the extra-new chemicals come in,' Wachter explained.
The Amazing Pizza Machine also tripled the amount of sanitizing stations, and now all players are spaced out to improve social distancing. In addition, a popular climbing area was temporarily closed.
"With the amount of touching that goes on, we just knew that we could not keep up. Constantly wiping that down would be a full-time job for one person," Wachter explained.
When it comes to dining at The Amazing Pizza Machine, there are other precautions. They offer disposable gloves at the buffet line in case anyone is worried about touching the serving utensils.
While the buffet is open to families, you now have to request your silverware from the buffet station. You can get your own drinks, but every refill now requires guests to get a new cup.
"In our dining rooms, we took out an extra row of tables and limited seating to no more than eight guests per table," Wachter shared.
In case you forget any of that...
"We love signs. You'll see lots of lots of signs around," he said.
"We have noticed that they are taking precautions," said Hooks.
It gives Nichole peace of mind and her kids an overdue outing.
"They sleep much better when they have been able to run around and be active all day long as opposed to being stuck at home," Hooks said.
All the rides are wiped down after every use now at The Amazing Pizza Machine, so it will take a little longer to get on. Also, it's now open Wednesday through Sunday. You can read the entire safety and sanitation policy and check out some of the new additions on www.amazingpizzamachine.com
The Amazing Pizza Machine is located in the Millard Plaza at 13955 South Plaza.