Tips to Improve Your Business: Preventative and Routine Maintenance for Leisure Entertainment Facilities

February 21, 2011

Handling maintenance isn’t the most exciting part of owning and/or operating a leisure entertainment facility, that honor probably goes to such tasks as selecting new rides and attractions or coming up with new promotions. However, proper preventative and routine maintenance is a must, for the safety of all guests, as well as to ensure an appearance that cultivates repeat business rather than sending visitors scurrying for a new favorite place to spend their money when they want to have fun outside the home.

Devising written checklists and/or other documentation pertaining to various maintenance procedures that must be performed, and exactly how often, is an absolute must. Without these, some important step is bound to fall through the cracks at one time or another, according to Tim Sorge, owner of Swings-N-Things Family Fun Park & Paintball Village in Olmstead Township, Ohio. Swings-N-Things’ policy outlines maintenance-related steps that are to be followed every day before the facility opens. For example, it includes a specification that the entire rail line on the go-kart track gets a thorough going-over (and, if necessary, a “tweaking”), and that opening of the attraction is to be delayed until any necessary maintenance is performed.

Similarly, a checklist in force at Wheels Family Fun Park in Durham, N.C., features guidelines for, among many other things, examining the operation of arcade games (daily) and walking the miniature golf course to look for tears in the carpet that may need repair (weekly), said Becky Olbrych, co-owner. At Jungle Rapids in Wilmington, N.C., tires on go-karts are scheduled for monthly replacement. Such preventive maintenance costs $40 per car, but it is preferable to laying out a $2,500 deductible plus the insurance claim should a tire become flat from lack of care, according to Robert Rippy, owner.

For 49’er Family Fun Park in Grass Valley, Calif., the maintenance checklist for the four-and-a-half acre facility includes going over every piece of equipment, and every inch of the grounds every day.  Daily maintenance on all components comprises about four hours per day on go-karts, two hours on games and the miniature golf course, and the remainder, other areas and overseeing the general areas of the park.

Steps for maintenance of any kind—no matter what the schedule—should be as specific as possible. For instance, Jane Farrell Turf & Carpets suggests that leisure entertainment facilities with a mini-golf component break documented maintenance procedures into daily and weekly/bi-monthly categories, as well as lay out procedures for specific problems. Notably, loose debris should be removed from the course carpet daily, using a standard vacuum cleaner on the fairway, but only a vacuum without a beater bar for the rough and bunker carpet. Sweeping or hosing is suggested for heavier debris, like large chunks of dirt. Each week, sweeping or hosing of heavier debris should be performed, and a rinse of the carpet with a garden hose should occur on a monthly basis.

For embedded soil, a carpet rake or soft bristle brush can be used for loosening purposes and followed with a thorough rinse of water from a garden hose. To eliminate mold and/or mildew, operators can prepare a solution of three parts bleach to one part water, then spray it on the affected area(s) and allow it to soak for 15 minutes. This step should be followed by a thorough rinse with water; if white film residue appears, the water rinse can be repeated until it disappears.  On an annual or bi-annual basis, all grass should be cleaned via hot or cold water extraction, but no detergent.

Operators should also remember that many variables, including use, weather conditions and type of attraction, sometimes warrant carrying out inspections and performing maintenance even more frequently than once a day. Richard Knudson, owner of Twain Harte Miniature Golf in Twain Harte, Calif., spends every day clearing debris from surrounding trees from the course and its walkways. “We have to keep it clean daily, and sometimes many times a day,” he said.

Industry News

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Welcomes New Curator Andi Kornak

The Zoological Programs Division of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo welcomed its new Curator of Carnivores and Large Mammals, Andi Kornak, to Cleveland this week.

A Michigan native, she started her professional zoo career at Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek, Mich., working her way up from zookeeper to curator of collections in just eight years. She has a bachelor’s of science degree from Michigan State University and is currently working toward her master’s in interdisciplinary studies (zoo and aquarium leadership) through George Mason University in Virginia.

Her long career has given her experience with many different kinds of animals including giraffes, snow leopards, Red River hogs, cotton-top tamarins, red capped and black mangabeys, Colobus monkeys, African wild dogs, storks, cranes and various types of gazelles. She also helped supervise the construction and development of Binder Park’s Wild Africa exhibit, including researching the animal care protocols and procedures for the new animals that accompanied it.

However, there are a few large mammals she hasn’t had the chance to work with, and they are some of the main reasons she jumped at the chance to come to Cleveland.

“I’m definitely looking forward to working with all the different bear species you have here,” Kornak said. “And of course the elephants and rhinos, too.”

The new curator is coming on board just in time to help Cleveland Metroparks Zoo open its new exhibit, African Elephant Crossing, on May 5.

2011 AMOA Council of Affiliated States Meets in Tampa, Fla.

– Over 40 Industry Leaders Representing 25 States Gathered to Discuss Common Interests and Pursue Shared Goals –

The Amusement and Music Operators Association (AMOA) Annual Council of Affiliated States Meeting was held Feb. 10-12 in Tampa, Fla. Representatives from 25 states met to share information about what is happening in the coin-op industry. This annual gathering of representatives from coin-op trade associations around the country continues to be regarded as one of the industry’s most valuable venues for networking and information-sharing purposes.

The event provides industry leaders with an opportunity to stay connected through state reports about issues that affect the industry, an update on legislative issues and ongoing lobbying efforts, and networking with fellow coin-op leaders from across the country. In prior years, coin-op execs gathered at the fall AMOA Expo, but with the joining of the two industry shows in the spring, it was felt that this meeting could fill the void created by the recent change.

Michael Zolandz of SNR Denton, AMOA Legal Counsel, provided a well-rounded legislative update and lobbying session that was made up of a two-part manufacturers’ panel and an operators’ panel with discussions on gaming, licensing and taxation, and the on-going smoking ban battles.

Presiding over the meeting was State Association Committee Chairman Rick LaFleur of North Dakota, and State Association Sub-Committee Chair Mary Lavine of Wisconsin. The theme of the 2011 State Meeting was: “Re-Invent Your State Association,” with a special focus on: Membership Recruitment/Retention; Taxation; Gaming; and Defining the Mission.

The Manufacturer Sponsors were given an opportunity to talk about new product ideas and technologies that will help the coin-op industry. During this time, Frank Seninsky of Amusement Entertainment Management (and AMOA Past President 1999-2000), representing the state of New Jersey, presented a report on GameALERT, a new low-cost, real-time business information system for token based locations.

Volume About Walt Disney World Resort Published

In October 2011, the Walt Disney World Resort celebrates its 40th Anniversary. To commemorate this anniversary, Ayefour Publishing is proud to announce the publication of “Four Decades of Magic: Celebrating the First Forty Years of Disney World.” 

The company also published “Project Future: The Inside Story Behind the Creation of Disney World” by Chad Emerson and “Vault of Walt” by Jim Korkis.

The new book brings together over 20 of the world’s leading Disney experts in a compilation of essays exploring many of the most magical moments from Disney World’s first 40 years.

Sega Offer Free Freight on Four Games

Sega is offering up to $350 per game in free freight on four games. The offer is valid until March 31, 2011, and applies to shipments made to any destination in the Continental United States.

Both Sonic Basketball and Sonic Air Hockey come with free ticket dispensers.  All Sonic Basketball Games come with a Free Link Kit (linkable up to 12.)

The Pigs ‘Might’ Fly game features a lever activator, intuitive game play and high quality graphics. And Cuckoo Clock is a quick-reaction game that tests players’ reflexes as they try to stop the swinging clock pendulum to win tickets and try for the jackpot bonus.

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