Literally everyone who has ever played a Mario Kart game or gone go-karting has dreamed about a real life version of the game, but most go-kart tracks don’t even come close to the tracks in Mario Kart… Except for a small handful of them, anyways.
There’s an incredible go-kart track in Missouri called Branson Tracks and it takes the typical boring 2d go-kart tracks and turns them on their head like they got hit by a red shell. At Branson Tracks, their courses are multi-leveled, and shaped more like roller coasters than go-kart tracks. It’s very reminiscent of Mario Kart, but obviously they don’t call it that because they’d probabally get sued into oblivion.
Their tracks are literally next level. One of them has four floors, loops, and is a mile long. They don’t have any mystery boxes on the course, so while you will be able to race your buddies, you won’t be able to toss any shells at them. You’re also probabally not allowed to bring your own banana peels to toss onto the course, either.
There are tandem go-karts, multiple tracks, and a lot of other things to do there too. We have to imagine that people showing up in Nintendo cosplay isn’t something that never happens. In addition to the karts, they also have mini golf, stuff specifically for kids, solo karts, a water park, a ferris wheel, laser tag, lots to eat, and plenty of other ways to spend a ton of money in a short amount of time. But let’s be real, you’re going there for the go-kart track, and it’s about ten bucks to go on each track.
This track was built in 2011, and it’s 1200 feet long. It has four unique stories that you can ride on, and is made with 200 tons of steel.
The Branson Tracks website describes it as follows: “4-story spiral climb, 3-tiered down slope, rock and roll stage lights, logo that makes for a sweet tattoo!”
Here’s a video that gives you an idea what this track looks like in action:
This is the OG track, the first one at the park that took go-karting into the 21st century. From 2001, it’s three stories high, and the length of this course is 1,186 feet. It’s made out of wood, obviously, and has two full spirals, a blind peak, and some hardcore go-karters consider it their favorite.
The Lumberjack was originally a mini-golf course that was converted into a go-kart track, and will definitely fulfill your Mario Kart IRL dreams. Just to make things even more authentic, they have one of the last remaining “steam donkeys” on display, which is a piece of old-school logging equipment that hasn’t been used in ages.
There are other tracks too, including a shorter sprint course that’s just for adults who have a valid driver’s license. On the surface, it looks like a pretty standard course, but what sets it apart is that the max speeds have been cranked up to 40 mph and you can race them around at night, they light up the track.
Just in case you can’t make it over to Missouri, there’s another park opening up in time for the busy season in 2018 and this one is going to be in Niagara Falls, a beautiful waterfall surrounded by tourist traps. This particular park is on the Canadian side, so both Canada and America will have their own real-life versions of Mario Kart to check out soon.
The new go-kart attraction, at Clifton Hills in Niagara Falls in taking things to the next level, their Niagara Speedway is going to be the biggest attraction of its style in North America.
— Jeff Russo (@JeffRussoWKBW) August 16, 2017
Here’s another look a the upcoming Niagara Speedway as they near completion.
Here’s how the Clifton Hill website describes this upcoming attraction:
“North America’s largest elevated go-cart track facility. It’s like go-carts on steroids! This Coming Spring (2018) be sure to visit North America’s largest elevated go-cart track facility. The the first of its kind in Canada!
Niagara Speedway is a marriage of traditional go-karts with the added fun & excitement of an elevated coaster styled track. Test your driving skills along the straigt away, negotiate the hair -pin turns and climb the elevated ramp as you head for the checkered flag! To sum it up in a few words ”its like go-carts on steroids”!!!”
The people behind this new track have said that they’re inspired by Heavy Metal Highrise at Branson Tracks, and it’s hard to imagine that both parks weren’t influenced by Mario Kart.
The Mario Kart franchise has been a staple on Nintendo’s roster since the SNES version dropped all the way back in 1992.