02/10/2022

Penelope Tours

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Urban Air Adventure Park combines the best of what’s around for high-thrills fun | Life & Culture

Urban Air Adventure Park combines the best of what’s around for high-thrills fun | Life & Culture

There’s nothing quite like the sweet embrace provided by tens of thousands of plastic antimicrobial balls. 

When your arms give out, you misplace a step, or if you just want to fall into a ball pit, they are there to catch your fall at the “Warrior Course” at the new Urban Air Adventure Park in Lancaster. The course is one of more than a dozen that fill nearly every inch of the 60,000-square-foot space once known as Wolf Furniture. 

Urban Air, which also has locations in Downingtown and Trexlertown, fashions itself as a combination of all the best parts of similar, single-use “action” courses. There are the requisite amount of trampoline areas, some outfitted for basketball and dodgeball. There are “Ninja Warrior”-adjacent obstacle courses designed to test participants’ quick thinking and athleticism. Throw in a two-story laser tag area, a one-of-a-kind go kart track and a tubes playground, and suddenly you have got an entire day’s worth of fun on the docket. 

“What we did is take a little of everything and put it in one place,” says Courtney Trout, marketing and development manager at Urbain Air. “What’s so unique about this company, is that every attraction can be something else later. For example, this dodgeball space can be outfitted for augmented reality one day. Say you’re in there and it’s space themed, so instead of throwing balls at each other, you’re throwing it at a spaceship, and it explodes, and you get a point.” 

Trout says that the space is designed for kids, and “kids of all ages.” 

“Parents get half-off of any passes to play with their kids, they don’t pay anything to sit down and do their work or play on their phones,” Trout says. “We want to encourage everyone, you know, come in and make a memory with your kids. Smile, get sweaty and be active, all together.” 

Construction at the space has been ongoing since December of last year, and as recently as this week, as Urban Air prepares for a Wednesday opening. Nearly 120 employees, mostly teenagers, have been receiving rigorous training to serve essentially as “land lifeguards,” as Trout puts it.

“Trampolines, people think they are fun, but if you put two or three people in one trampoline, that can lead to injuries,” Trout explains. “So, they have to be able to police small children and adults that are incorrect. Teaching this generation to be vocal has been a challenge. They’re all comfortable on their phones, say anything, post anything, but get them in a human interaction? It has to be, ‘Our number one priority is safety, I’m sorry, you can’t do this.’” 

On the day of LNP|LancasterOnline’s visit to the facility, teams of employees were running time trials to perfect the loading in and out process of the go-kart track down to a total of three minutes. With top speeds of 25 miles per hour, the electric karts zip from one turn to the next, partially crossing overhead of the nearby laser tag course. According to Trout, the day-glow color scheme and pumping music is rave-themed, which will presumably keep the “adventurers” at a fever pitch while running from one attraction to the next. 

Aside from the action courses, Urban Air features a full-service restaurant, with items ranging from slushies to pizza and the usual birthday party fare. Perhaps mostinteresting for parents, Trout says that Urban Air sells admission, not hours, assuming that the building is not at full capacity. Meaning, a parent could feasibly come early and get their kids tired out by dinnertime, or that a birthday party can end after two hours, and kids can keep playing around for hours afterwards if they choose to do so. 

Urban Air Adventure Park combines fun and exercise in a way that, if you are doing it right, only feels like the former while still accomplishing the latter. 

“There’s not a lot of good juju out in the world anymore, and that’s what this place gets to do,” says Trout.