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Trampoline Parks Grow by Leaps and Bounces

By USA Today - July 14th, 2011

Been to Disney this summer? Check. A water park? Check. A trampoline park?

Boing.

The nation’s ever-expanding amusement world is taking a new twist this summer as indoor trampoline parks approach critical mass. About 50 are operating in a dozen states, and revenue is approaching $100 million. The parks — which charge $8 to $14 an hour — feature wall-to-wall trampolines, with trampolines even lining side walls.

“It wasn’t on our radar, but I have a feeling it will be soon,” says David Mandt, spokesman for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.

It’s certainly on the radar of orthopedic surgeons. Broken ankles, arms, legs and even a non-fatal broken neck have been logged at these parks. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons advises folks to jump with extra caution. “We do not recommend recreational use of trampolines, as sad as that may be,” says Jennifer Weiss, an orthopedic surgeon at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Even so, celebs and their families have tried out some of these parks, including the Jonas Brothers, Kobe Bryant, David Beckham and Shaquille O’Neal.

Among the contenders:

  • Sky Zone. Sky Zone opens its seventh arena this summer in Orlando, with 12 more in development, owner Jeff Platt says. “Who doesn’t love being free from the Earth’s gravity?” he asks. He even got his 81-year-old grandmother on a trampoline, “but she wasn’t doing back flips.”
  • Sky High Sports. The company has eight locations now, half of which are in California. Three more open this summer; two in the Chicago area. Co-owner Jerry Raymond quit his job as a computer consultant to open the company. “I was looking to do something where my kids wouldn’t be embarrassed to come to work with Dad,” he says.
  • Jumpstreet. Seven are operating, mostly in Colorado, and six more are in development. Owner Tim Crawford says he came out of retirement to start the company after dreaming that his backyard was filled with trampolines.
  • Rebounderz. There’s one in Longwood, Fla., and one opens this month in Sterling, Va. The firm has video cameras and referees tracking safety, CEO Mark Gurley says.
  • Xtreme Trampolines. Eric Beck, a former Burger King franchisee, owns one unit in Chicago. “If it’s cold or rainy or snowing, we’re packed,” he says. “If it’s sunny outside, we’re empty.”

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