Baton Rouge will soon be home to an “extreme” trampoline park, which will feature 10,000 square feet of trampolines with a large open trampoline field, at what’s now a warehouse at 10300 Perkins Road.
Case Lawrence, owner and developer of Area51 Ultimate Trampoline Park, said the Baton Rouge facility will be his ninth.
Lawrence said he originally hoped to add a New Orleans location but had difficulty finding a suitable building for a trampoline park.
“We’re fixing up the whole building so we’re looking at $1.2 million,” Lawrence said of the Baton Rouge facility. “Typically, we have $800,000, $900,000 invested,” he said, but the Perkins Road warehouse is older and requires a full retrofit.
That will include heating and air conditioning and sprinkler systems, Lawrence said.
Area51 will have wide areas of large square, floor-level trampoline pads, unlike the typical round trampolines found in backyards. The features include a trampoline dodgeball stadium, an Aerial Ninja Obstacle Course and foam pits with more than 25,000 cubes of foam.
Customers pay for jumping time “per hour” with pricing between $8 and $12 per hour. The center also will have Club 51 — weekend nights with laser lighting and live DJ music.
Trampoline parks’ main customers are children and young adults, Lawrence said, and the Baton Rouge area has plenty of both.
Lawrence said his company recently opened a park in Birmingham, Ala., and expects to open another in Knoxville, Tenn.
“We like the SEC (Southeastern Conference) schools,” Lawrence said. “We think they’re good demographic matches for us.”
Lawrence also has two parks each in California and Virginia, as well as locations in South Carolina and New Mexico.
Typically, people don’t travel long distances to a trampoline park, Lawrence said. But the lack of a New Orleans park should draw some people to the Baton Rouge facility, he said.
The typical park draws around 8,000 to 10,000 visitors a month, Lawrence said. The facilities get lots of birthday parties and corporations for team-building exercises, although anyone can just come in and jump.
Area51 also will offer trampoline fitness classes. The company usually works with local trainers — people certified to teach Zumba and that sort of thing — to teach them “the way of the trampoline,” Lawrence said.
The company said there about 50 parks operating in the United States with total annual revenue for the industry at almost $100 million.
Lawrence said trampoline parks are a lot safer than people might think.
“People associate the word trampoline with injuries and danger, but this is about the most controlled environment you can experience a trampoline in,” Lawrence said.
Lawrence’s trampoline parks average around two incidents per 1,000 jumpers, he said. He said that injury rate is lower than any major team sport, even bowling.
The parks also carry insurance, Lawrence said, but jumping on a trampoline is an extreme sport. Everyone who comes in and jumps must first sign a waiver, he said. These types of waivers are becoming common in a lot of recreation venues.
Lawrence said he is an attorney by trade and developed commercial real estate for about 10 years. In 2008, the markets crashed and he began looking for a different line of business. Trampoline parks caught his eye.
His company leases rather than buys locations for its trampoline parks, Lawrence said.