Jumpin Fun Inflata Park opened in Lakewood Ranch last weekend.
Billed as the largest inflatable adventure park in the United States, Jumpin Fun Inflata Park opened in Lakewood Ranch last weekend.
Walking onto the 15,000 square foot bouncy playground was a little overwhelming — so much to do. I leaped around, checking everything out, and then — reverting back into my childhood self — tackled my colleague.
Now in full kid-mode, I screamed and rolled around, raced other kids on obstacle courses, climbing up inflatable ladders and diving face first down slides.
In a big, open bouncy area, I performed some tight backflips (my specialty). I felt pretty proud of myself until a 5-year-old outdid me with a triple backflip. I thought I would be the king of this park, but these kids were smoking me. How am I tired already?
In line for the Zip Rail Coaster, little chumps kept cutting me in line, and I thought, “Do I look like somebody’s mom or something?” Feeling old for the first time in my life, I asked some kids how old they thought I was. They said 12. OK.
The Zip Rail Coaster was my favorite part. I zoomed over and around the entire park, screaming and thinking, “I am the king of this park.”
Before Jumpin Fun Inflata Park opened last weekend, it was called Jumpin Fun Sports, which was a trampoline park. The owner, Brett Morrow, saw the inflatable park trend taking over Europe in the past year and decided to bring it here, creating what he says is the largest inflatable adventure park in the United States.
“The inflatable theme park industry is about 15-16 months old in Europe,” Morrow said. “Worldwide, it’s new, and we’re the pioneer in the U.S.”
After researching the world’s largest inflatable theme park in Ireland and talking to the owner about its success, Morrow and his partner, Marc Rosenthal, decided to take the jump. The trampoline park closed Aug. 11 and reopened as an inflatable park Labor Day weekend. Lines were out the door, Morrow said, with 1,500 admissions.
“In family entertainment centers, whether you’re Disney, Busch Gardens or any big amusement park, if you’re not adding a new ride or creating a new portion of a park — if you’re not innovating, you’re disintegrating,” he said. “So we saw after six years that there was a need to innovate.”
Based on business from the past week, and the 26 birthday parties booked for next weekend, Morrow seems confident in his latest venture. With his trampoline park, it took him only 18 months to see a return on investment, and this is looking even better, he said.
There are 15 different interactive elements of the park, and the manufacturer of the inflatable parts, Galaxy Multi Rides, is based in Port Charlotte. More than 50 teenagers are employed at the park right now, and over the past six years, Morrow has employed more than 360.
“Most of them have their first job here, and we typically only lose them to graduation, when they go to university or into trade in the next step in their lives,” he said. “It’s been very rewarding. We take our mentorship of these teenagers seriously.”
While parents are encouraged to play along with their kids, there are also long couches, and football is playing on the TVs. On Oct. 1, the park will get its beer and wine license, so drinks will be available for parents who are not playing inside the park.