The Madison market is flush with sports-themed facilities designed for birthday parties, family outings and other events.
There are climbing walls, spaces packed with inflatables and venues for gymnastics, ball sports and other athletic endeavors. Laser tag has been popular for years, while bowling centers have been staples for decades.
But trampolines are now all the rage.
Rockin' Jump opened a 30,000-square-foot trampoline park in late 2015 at 2700 Novation Parkway just off Rimrock Road, near the Beltline and Highway 14. And now Sky Zone, the largest trampoline park operator in the country, has entered the competitive fray.
Bron Launsby, who has four other Sky Zones around the country, has opened a $2 million-plus facility near the Culver's along the Beltline. The 25,000-square-foot space between Northern Tool and Pet World features dozens of trampolines and two large dodgeball courts that can each accommodate two teams of 10 battling it out with rubber playground balls.
"From my perspective, there are 650,000 people (in the region) and this is a very young, active community," Launsby said. "The type of environment that I think most are looking for is an activity they can share with their kids. This is something the whole family can do. Parents have less time and they want to (have) more quality time with their kids."
Founded in 2004, Sky Zone has more than 134 franchises across the U.S. and Canada as well as Mexico, Australia and Saudi Arabia. Launsby, 45, a St. Louis native who came to Wisconsin to work for Kohl's as a product developer, opened his first Sky Zone in 2013 in Waukesha, followed by Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 2014 and Fenton, Missouri in 2015. Launsby will open his sixth location next month in Fairview Heights, Illinois, another suburb of St. Louis.
One of the newest additions to the brand is a scaled-down simulation of the obstacle course seen on television's "Ninja Warrior" series. The Madison Sky Zone is one of less than 20 in the franchise with the course. Other features include a jousting pit and three "Sky Slam" courts where players can use a trampoline to slam dunk basketballs on rims that are 5 feet, 8 feet and 10 feet high. The facility also includes a climbing wall with a foam pit so that climbers don't have to be roped in while climbing; a swiveling sky ladder like you'd find at a carnival; and an airbag jump where players can jump from a trampoline onto an inflated bag.
The facility also has three party rooms, a cafe seating area and a snack bar with baked-to-order pizza. Birthday packages start at $249 for 10 people and 60 minutes of jump time, two large pizzas and two pitchers of soda. Open jump prices are $16 for 60 minutes; $20 for 90 minutes and $24 for 120 minutes.
But it's not just kids who are taking part. There are dodgeball tournaments, leagues, exercise classes and corporate and group events aimed at the adult crowd.
"If you went into a Sky Zone four years ago it would have been primarily younger kids, between 7 and 13," Launsby said. "As we've progressed a little bit, that's still our core age but we're appealing to a lot older crowd."