In 2004 an avant-garde American entrepreneur spent $2 million on the arena for an ill-conceived new professional sport coined “Sky Zone”; involving 6 feet high rotating hoops and daring acrobatics. The concept ultimately lost traction but fortunately the interest of local skateboarders prompted a change in purpose for the doomed facility, and a new craze was born. A decade later the ‘trampoline park’ is still going strong with hundreds of US and Australian locations; and is finally bouncing its way to UK shores this year.
There’s a close race for the title of Scotland’s first park: Air Space in East Kilbride and Ryze in Glasgow’s Kinning Park both aim to open their doors by the year’s end. Ryze have experienced some delays over permissions with the council, as the old News International printworks they’re refurbishing is a listed building. The East Kilbride venue is being opened by outdoor specialists Go Ape!, but the Glasgow curating company, Ryze, are industry veterans; with a successful park in Hong Kong and over 20 affiliated parks in the states. A similar Ryze entertainment centre is set open in Dalkeith in Edinburgh around the same time as Glasgow.
Glasgow’s Ryze will boast 10,000 square feet of interconnected bouncing fun, including trampolines at a 45 degree angle for those physics defying leaps. Falling isn’t an issue when there are pits filled with oceans of foam bricks on the sidelines to cushion your poorly executed backflip. As well as basketball hoops for some truly epic dunks that would make an NBA all-star jealous, the venue will host trampoline dodgeball for those with a competitive streak. Sporadically placed parkour boxes allow the more acrobatically-minded to get creative.
The venues will host themed nights and clubnights at weekends, as well as multiple aerobic classes said to put even the fittest through their paces. Modern life is an increasingly sedentary affair; there’s no denying it. Preoccupying combinations of long work hours and bewitching technology have helped to put exercise rates at an all time low. Concepts like this may just save us from turning to stone by a monitor and will perhaps help to motivate us all to aim a little higher with our fitness goals.