By Kathryn Van Druff
The happy, upbeat vibe of trampoline parks is unmistakable. Guests come to jump and play as they enjoy memorable experiences with family and friends. Most trampoline parks will agree that the introduction of new equipment or attractions helps to interest new guests while also keeping existing customers coming back.
Sarah Hatley, manager at Urban Air Trampoline Park’s Southlake, Texas, location, said that a current project will see a new Urban Air location opened nearby along with a café and all new attractions, like indoor skydiving and a Sky Zone.
“With Sky Zone, they can go on a little bar and go through the whole entire perimeter of the park, similar to a ropes course,” Hatley said. “We have a whole new bunch of attractions. We’re really excited about the new expansion deal we have going on.”
Additionally, Urban Air Southlake may also add a rock climbing wall to complement its existing trampoline infrastructure. These enhancements are slated for the fall or winter of this year.
Regular replacement of trampolines and equipment assures a safer jumping environment for all trampoline park guests. Ongoing inspections help to prevent injuries and safety incidents.
“As far as replacing the trampolines, we replace as we go,” said Heidi Nagel, owner of Zero Gravity Trampoline Park in Mounds View, Minn. “We do regular maintenance, checking for regular wear and tear. They are examined weekly. It all varies depending on the courts. If you’re in the basketball area, it wears faster, and the open jump arena wears slower.”
Nagel said her trampoline park will add some type of new attraction or enhancement but has yet to find the inspiration to drive an update. Her park celebrated seven years in business at this single location and it’s only a matter of time until something new erupts. Currently, she said the summertime is her slow season and the wintertime sees the majority of the park’s annual visitation.
For some trampoline parks, like Big Time Trampoline Fun Center in Westminster, Colo., state regulations mandate all aspects of trampoline park equipment, even down to the smallest details.
“Everything from the springs to the kinds of vacuums we have,” said Jon Vasquez, flight leader and shift lead. “It was just put into Colorado two to three years ago. It’s kind of a recent thing. All trampoline parks go through the state for modification, addition, anything for the park.”
The facility runs as many as 50 birthday parties in a single weekend, running them from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. All ages come to play or watch their kids and grandchildren having fun. Big Time Trampoline Fun Center currently offers trampolines and a tumble track area, dodgeball, basketball, obstacle courses, and little kiddie playhouses, as well as an arcade, a crash-pad pillow, and a wrecking ball activity, among others.
Vasquez noted that the center always bring in new equipment to replace the old attractions, typically within the same theme. The owners are looking to expand to new facilities in the future as the current building has no room for expansion.
Nicole Cochetti serves as general manager and director of marketing and park operations at Flight Albany in Colony, N.Y. She said the park has begun a transformation with a few different inflatables, a mechanical bull, and other attractions. Flight Albany also features an indoor Nerf arena, called Flight Battle, which is made with foam flooring and complete with obstacles and barriers where guests can enjoy playful combat in a colorful and exciting setting. The park also recently renovated its kiddie court area to swap a few trampolines and a foam pit with a three-story soft play structure for kids 46 inches and under. The response has been very positive.
“We know that you have to stay fresh and just keep things new to really stay alive in this industry,” Cochetti said. “There’s always going to be new kids coming in, but we work to keep it something they haven’t seen before, especially with competition. We’ve got two trampoline parks within 10 miles and another within 20-30 miles away, so with that, we have to make sure not only is our service the best service out there, but our attractions are and pulling in different age groups.”
The park’s visitation has definitely increased over the past couple of years, Cochetti said. When attendance numbers start to flatten out, that’s usually a telltale sign that new attractions and programs are in order to bring in a new crowd and appease old customers.
“We are always involved in different trampoline park industry events,” Cochetti added. “We took a lot from the IETP conference last year, revamping birthday party programs, and we’ll go back to see what we can do. We like to see the trends out there but also like to be ahead of the game. We want to see what we can do with it and build on top of that attraction. We’re constantly moving. I don’t think we would be ‘stale’ for even a year and a half—then we get bored and change something up.”
At Freefall Trampoline Park in Bethlehem, Pa., the manager on duty tracks the condition of all the equipment daily and the owner inspects everything personally at the beginning of each month. Items are replaced on an as-needed basis, often prior to the expiration of the equipment’s recommended lifespan.
“We replace at least a trampoline once per month,” said Michael Badway, co-owner of Freefall Trampoline Park in Bethlehem, Pa. “The lifetime of a trampoline is about 10 years, and we do keep track. We replace at the five-year mark. We opened in November 2015 and we are looking at full replacement around 2020, which is half-life. We’d rather be safe than sorry. That’s how me and the business work—we’d rather replace sooner and not have to worry than try to test the water and something goes wrong. The reason we opened was to give a fun environment for kids to come and have fun and we don’t want to take that chance.”
Badway noted that his park pulls in about 10,000 jumpers per month. With business a little flat, he looks to add a new attraction every 12 to 18 months to keep things fresh. The park updated its kids’ tower and slide in April 2017, along with Extreme Air, which allows guests to jump 20 feet in the air. A top-secret expansion is underway and currently there’s nothing like it indoors in the entire state of Pennsylvania. The expansion is slated to take place in 2019.
“What we’re happy about is that Freefall is the only Freefall in the United States,” said Badway. “We’re the mom and pop where there’s other ones, the corporations, the name brand. We’ve actually overtaken the name brand in the Lehigh Valley. People think of trampoline parks in the Lehigh Valley and they think Freefall. We’re excited about that. We work to stay on cutting edge, add a new attraction every 12 to 18 months, to be relevant in the community, and be relevant a long time so we can get to the point where we can give back to the community as well—that’s the ultimate goal.”