Urban Air Adventure Park launches indoor skydiving in Ft. Worth

AT: Tim Baldwin

FT. WORTH, Texas — On February 9, the latest Urban Air Adventure Park to open — now totaling 67 — offers a first: indoor skydiving. While standalone indoor skydiving facilities populate the country, this is the first instance of such recreation appearing at an indoor active family entertainment center.

“This is a major announcement for Urban Air,” said CEO Michael Browning. “We are using patented, innovative technology to give our guests a world-class experience. What makes this encounter unique is that park patrons can choose to skydive only, or they can fly in addition to enjoying an array of other attractions and signature rides.”

Various packages give the customer the freedom to select the best fit for their available time, interests and budget. Families choosing skydiving get two flying experiences within the tunnel. Those opting for the Platinum Package gets the skydiving experience and everything else Urban Air Adventure Park has to offer for $49.99.

“One of our slogans is ‘Get Up, Get Fly,’” said Michael Calloway, marketing manager. “How can we take what we do to the next level, how can we elevate innovation — literally and figuratively? Indoor skydiving brings more to the table. This provides the wind tunnel with all these other attractions.”

In total, the new Urban Air Ft. Worth boasts 40,000 square feet of activities. Decked out with color-changing LED lighting, the center also offers eight private birthday rooms.

In addition to skydiving, the facility offers Sky Rider Indoor Coaster, a signature attraction that secures visitors in a harness from which they fly almost 30 feet above spectators below on a suspended rail. The track length is 331 feet and features eight curves causing riders to swing outward.

Physical activities include Warrior Obstacle Course featuring four lanes of American Ninja-style obstacles, Ultimate Dodge Ball and Wipeout which pits athletes against a moving beam. Climbing walls, a ropes course and a soft area playground for kids nine and under expand the options.

Leap of Faith is one of the newer Urban Air offerings. “Standing on a platform 20 feet in the air, people literally jump to the bag on the other side. There’s no tension when you jump, but it will catch you,” said Calloway. 

“When you say ‘family entertainment,’ we really go out to ensure guests can come in and play together and enjoy quality time,” said Jay Thomas, chief commercial officer. “The decision for including indoor skydiving was a dream of Michael Browning, our CEO; he is an amazing innovator, he was the first to create the indoor adventure concept.”

In addition to the introduction of skydiving, Thomas reported that the children’s play structure is the largest Urban Air has ever included.

“We call it the Adventure Hub,” he said. “The Sky Rider takes off from the top. That’s a good three-and-a-half stories in the air.”

Maria Goodman, director of creative development and innovation, likes the empowering message behind all the activity. “We have a brand-new look for our mascot, Urbie. In our new T-shirt designs, you will see him with very empowering messages for our guests. Kids that have knocked out their opponent on our Battle Beam raise their joust up and feel very empowered for that moment, whether they realize it or not. Kids in our T-shirts will have messages of ‘I’ve activated awesome’ or ‘I’m a warrior.’ People can associate that feeling and carry it with them,” she told Amusement Today.

“Innovation really does differentiate you from everybody else,” Goodman added. “It’s an epic responsibility. We want Urban Air franchisees to know that we have their backs. They put trust in our brand. Attractions can be duplicated [elsewhere], but we have an in-house attractions team; their devotion is incredible. Our franchisees are going to have access to IP overlays we have coming. We are going to innovate the way people play with products and experience ride attractions. We’re going to add story telling touches, but we’re on a mission to gamify experiences. We’re in it to win it; we’re going to rev it up and extend the play patterns of our attractions.”

A unique aspect of this particular facility is that it was a from-the-ground-up project. More frequently, Urban Air has brought new life to vacated spaces in retail areas. Thomas approximated that only about five percent of their properties are built that way. The disadvantage is that it takes longer to complete, but the advantages allow them to build as high as they want and design the structures the way they want.

With the first Urban Air opening in 2011, the growth of the company is exceptionally strong.

“Our goal is to have 300 locations open by 2020,” said Thomas. “We have another great innovation that is going to be introduced in June.”

This article appears in the MARCH 2019 issue of Amusement Today.
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