Urban Air Adventure parks are not new to Arizona, with their family-fun locations in Ahwatukee, Peoria and Queen Creek.
But the one that will be coming to Gilbert will be a lot different from those three and most of its 154 indoor parks nationwide.
The 10-year-old, Dallas-based family fun franchise has picked Gilbert for its flagship corporate western showcase.
And the two-story, 50,000-square-foot park it plans to open by year’s end at E. Williams Field Road and S. Santan Village Parkway will that will have unique attractions.
Those include an electric go-kart track and laser tag field spanning both floors, multi-level rope-climbing, an enormous inflatable landing pad perched below a series of trampolines and a “runway tumble track for flipping, handspringing and cartwheeling.
Those features will augment the rock-climbing and bounce-house-type walls, dodge-ball areas and trapezes that have made Urban Air Adventure Parks popular haunts for kids and families and go-to destinations for corporate team building and other adult gatherings.
“It’s going to have our premium attractions,” said Josh Wall, Urban Air’s executive vice president and chief franchise officer.
“It’s what we call our version 2.5 park and that’s going to help us really put our best foot forward to the East Valley and show them what an Urban Air experience can be like.”
And it won’t just be a showcase for only East Valley or even just for Arizona investors who might want an Urban Air franchise of their own.
Wall envisions groups throughout the west coming to the Gilbert location.
“As we have more and more interested franchise groups that want to diversify their business investments by getting into the number one entertainment franchise in the country,” Wall said, “we want them to see the product, test the product, bring their children to the products or the grandchildren and really see what it’s like to play within an Urban Air Adventure Park.
“So, we will likely have monthly meetings there where we will have interested franchise groups come through and spend time with us.”
There are reasons why Entrepreneur magazine’s annual list of the top 500 best franchise opportunities listed Urban Air Adventure Park number 1 – and why even with the pandemic, the company has 60 more locations in its development pipeline.
The parks have been a big draw not only for families but also for adults who plan corporate events, parties and other gatherings.
They are drawn by huge trampolines, “slam-dunk tracks” that enables flying leaps for basketball baskets, mammoth jungle-gyms, ropes courses and even a “sky rider coaster” that enables guests to “fly” in a harness along a track affixed to the ceiling.
The parks also are equipped with an area where kids under 7 can play on smaller trampolines under the parents’ watchful eyes.
The company sees the pandemic as having increased interest in and demand for “location-based family entertainment.”
“Now more than ever, families are in search of more ways to engage their kids in an entertaining, learning and social environment,” Walls said.
Wall said 22 of the 33 parks the company opened last year were opened after the pandemic first struck the nation.
And even before the first quarter of 2021 ended, Wall said, “our parks are doing so well in 2021 they are out-indexing even our 2019 numbers.”