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As the market matured, parks evolved from pure trampolining into more varied active entertainment centers. Adding ropes courses, zip lines, ninja courses, and parkour elements meant a rebrand from “trampoline park” was in order. Urban Air, one of the fastest-growing franchises in America, is now calling itself an Adventure Park. Even the association rebranded as the International Adventure and Trampoline Park Association this year.
While Valo Motion had early success in this market with their augmented and mixed reality attractions, it’s only in the last couple of years we have seen virtual reality headsets show up in trampoline and adventure parks.
The first large-scale deployment of VR in an adventure park was probably Hologate, which was installed in dozens of Urban Air locations. More recently Urban Air has been rolling out their VR Portal, a custom version of the Spree Arena free-roam system. Ranging from 600–1000 square feet, it allows up to 10 players to run, jump, and play together in fun, casual games. Spree has perfected the design of multiplayer, social VR games for kids.
Trampoline and adventure parks focus on active, healthy, and even thrilling entertainment. While Spree is getting a foothold in the market for the core, younger crowd, some other implementations of VR appeal to the more extreme customers.
ParadropVR from Frontgrid offers the opportunity to safely experience the thrill of paragliding. Using a custom control system, riders sit in a harness and use hand controls to steer, rise and drop. ParadropVR features three environments to fly in, including natural and fantasy landscapes. Like paragliding, ParadropVR offers competitive experiences, with an app coming that will let flyers track their stats and scores.
JUMP from Limitless Flight offers the most extreme VR experience yet. It’s a virtual wingsuit flying experience. Flyers don a real wingsuit, with the “parachute” pack hiding a mounting connection to a massive hydraulic harness system. Flyers “jump” out of a simulated airplane. The combination of wind turbines and the harness put them in a flying position that’s as close to wingsuiting as you can get without risking your life.
JUMP is still in prototype mode, but if you’re interested, I can make an intro to the founders.
On the tamer end of the spectrum is VRsenal’s Synth Riders. It’s a VR music rhythm game where players must use their arms and legs to duck, sway, and “ride” waves of light in sync with the music. VR games have proven to be excellent modes of exercise, with the Virtual Reality Fitness Institute even ranking VR games based on their equivalent to traditional exercise. They rate Synth Riders as equivalent to an elliptical machine. I can validate that as my Apple Watch showed my heart rate up to 150 beats per minute after a 3-minute round at the recent IATP Expo.
Virtuix Omni Arena is another active VR platform that gets your heart pumping. Using their proprietary VR treadmill system, the Omni Arena pits four players in competitive esports games. It’s the closest you can get to running in VR.
Trampoline and adventure parks have plenty of options to utilize virtual reality now. While it will be at least a few more years before we have headsets that could be implemented on trampolines, for operators willing to explore the technology, IAAPA will have plenty on offer for them.
“Trampoline and adventure parks focus on active, healthy and even thrilling entertainment.“