Question 8: Big bold prediction: What will the adventure park industry look like in 5 or 10 years?
Micah: My hope is that we are all part of a well-developed industry that provides adventurous activity options to the public, with a broad range of safety data to support businesses. I also hope there is a reasonable and effective regulatory process that is consistent across the U.S., equipping us to deliver quality experiences across the industry.
Paul: Unlike anything we can imagine today. Virtual harnesses, carbon nanotube helmets, and Headrush is going to solve this whole gravity thing … OK, maybe not. What I do think we will see is consolidation of smaller parks into larger brands, more venture capital allowing for bigger and badder parks, and more people enjoying themselves in an immensely enjoyable activity.
Jim: The industry will be more regulated but will still be growing. This is a very creative industry. Adventure parks will continue to provide a marvelous experience to the public. I see this industry having some similarities to whitewater rafting, which has been around for 40-plus years and is still kicking.
Ryan: I think that aerial adventure parks and zip line tours are here to stay—they are not a fad that will be gone in 5-10 years. I think that zip tours will continue to do well, and that aerial parks are just at the beginning of popularity. A lot of people don’t know what an aerial park is at this point. I think that we will see a big change with that in the next 5 years.
I believe that there will be a very recognizable program to accredit aerial courses in the near future, and that end users will start to seek out courses that are accredited. This program will help end users, state regulators, and insurance companies understand that courses are following proper installation, maintenance, and operation standards and that the course meets a specified set of industry standards.
Tim: Companies that do not adhere to high standards will fail. Many smaller companies will be absorbed by companies that have good financial backing, good design teams, and integrity. Custom-built tree canopy tour courses that fit the environment they are built in will be the trend. Cookie-cutter aerial adventure parks will fold. And everyone will move toward continuous belays for safety and cost effectiveness. 😉
Valdo: Vibrant! Colorful! We’ll see growth of adventure parks both indoors and outdoors. We will see an explosion of different adventure concepts and the mixing of traditionally separate play elements, like employing a water slide to exit an adventure park. We are exploring with a client the possibility of building an adventure park five or six feet above a lake, so if guests fall they land in the water. People have their dreams, and they can go in unexpected directions.