It seems inconceivable that it has been almost a year since we said goodbye to 2012, a year that gave us Europe’s tallest and highest Sky Trail High Ropes Course as well as Europe’s first Sky Tykes Junior Ropes Course amongst other great achievements for Innovative Leisure.
Our aim was always to build on the achievements of 2012 and to continue to supply our range of adventure attractions to as many different venues in as many different sectors as possible.
So here you have it, a review of our highlights of 2013 with Innovative Leisure.
2013 began with installation of our DigiWall interactive climbing wall in January at Manor House Wildlife Park in Tenby, South Wales. In one of our stranger installs, Team Innovative Leisure spent the week staying in on-site accommodation belonging to the zoo keepers. THIS member of Team IL will never forget trying to fall asleep to the sound of monkeys and other animals larking around in the moon light!
DigiWall, Manor House Wildlife Park
As a company we are also known for supplying industry leading mobile attractions and we did this in abundance in early 2013. In February, we delivered our second continental Mobile Zip Line, this time to Belgium and the team had a great time setting it up and training our European friends.
A further Zip Line was delivered to Belfast, and We are Vertigo in March. Team IL made the trip and braved freezing conditions to collect the zip line in a container and assemble it on the other side. The experience from Belgium helped the team a lot and made for a straight forward delivery and again, happy customers.
More straight forward was our delivery of a Mobile Climbing Tower to Shorefield Holiday Park, Hampshire in April. That began a busy couple of months for Innovative which also included a Water Warsinstallation at Atlantis Adventure Park in Bideford, Devon which would be just the beginning of our 2013 Water Wars installations. Throughout the year we enjoyed particular success with our Inflatable Water Warsproduct.
Double Inflatable Water Wars, Adventure Valley
Our work with the National Farm Attractions Network (NFAN) in 2012 was focused on increasing UK farm attractions awareness of our products and the way they can benefit sites. One of our biggest farm attraction installation to date had been the 2011 installation of the ‘Giant’s Rock’ Climbing Tower at Mead Open Farm, Bedfordshire and we were delighted to further expand into the sector with that very park in May.
Owned by NFAN chairman Matt Heast and his wife Sue, Mead is widely regarded as one of the UK’s best Farm Attractions. With soft play, mini golf and the climbing wall adding to the many farm animal based attractions the farm offers Mead already understood the important role adventure play attractions have in setting their park aside from like minded others.
With expansion in mind, Mead approached Innovative Leisure once again with an interest in our Sky Trail High Ropes Courses. Mead had not only opted to add a Sky Trail course but had also agreed to install the UK’s first outdoor Sky Tykes Junior Ropes Course for children aged 2-7,which further expands the parks offering.
Mead Open Farm would then become the first farm attraction to install Sky Trail and Sky Tykes ropes courses and it was a May install in one of the most picturesque locations we have ever worked in. All parties could not have been happier with the outcome and we were delighted to expand our work with such a prominent UK sector.
Sky Trail and Sky Tykes Ropes Courses, Mead Open Farm
Still on a high from our install at Mead, June brought another delivery of a Mobile Climbing Tower for Team Innovative Leisure. Abbeycroft Leisure were the recipients this time and aimed to inspire healthy activity around the Suffolk area with their mobile wall.
Julysaw yet more Climbing Tower action for Team IL with the delivery of a Mobile Wall to Aberdeenshire’s Access Unlimited. A rigging and rope access company by trade, Access wanted to try something different by providing mobile attractions for hire and Innovative Leisure were the company to help them with that. Our biggest Climbing Tower installation of 2013 by far also came in July and at the new Cheddar Woods Holiday Park development in the Somerset town. A 7.3m static tower, the wall adds a healthy adventure activity to the parks opening sports offering which already boasts an all weather sports pitch and swimming complex. The famous Cheddar Gorge and gorgeous countryside provided a great setting for this install.
Stationary 7.3m Climbing Tower, Cheddar Woods Holiday Park
If it seems like we have been busy in 2013 so far, we at Innovative Leisure know better. Very much a case of ‘Out of the frying pan and into the fire’ situation for us every year, a busy summer of installs leads into our busiest time; trade show season. This year, both the Euro Attractions Show and the Leisure Industry Week show were a week apart and we’re proud to say we had a presence at both shows despite one taking place in Paris and one taking place in Birmingham! It was a bit of a logistical headache but we managed to install a Sky Tykes Junior Ropes Course in Paris and then a Sky Trail High Ropes Course at the NEC the week after. Great respect goes to our engineering team who worked round the clock to make this happen over the two weeks. All the effort was more than worth it as we made so many great contacts at both shows. We thank everybody who came to see us at the shows for making it a success for us.
Innovative Leisure Stand, Leisure Industry Week 2013
Two trade shows in a fortnight wasn’t enough cause for a well earned rest for Team Innovative Leisure however and we were back on the road the following week for another Sky Trail install at Norfolk indoor play centre Hulabaloo’s. This was to be the permanent home of the course we installed at Leisure Industry Week and with a slight extension of an additional pole, the course was looking superb. Ample room for manoeuvre on site and the use of a team of experienced Sky Trail installers made for a smooth installation. After four days we were able to hand the course over to owner Derek Gill, just in time for October half term.
Sky Trail High Ropes Course, Hulabaloo’s
Our final major install for 2013 saw us revisit our friends We are Vertigo in Belfast. Enjoying a great time with the Mobile Zip Line they purchased in March, the company now had premises with which they could launch their brand new family activity centre. With a state of the art Ski simulator and a soft play framework highly themed around an Alpine ski resort already installed, it was time for Innovative Leisure to install a range of high energy equipment to ready the centre for opening.
We are Vertigo owner Gareth Murphy always knew a Sky Trail High ropes Course and a Stationary Climbing Tower would complete the ambitious adventure centre. He liked the idea of utilising the space above seating areas and Team IL were quickly over to Belfast to measure up. We found that the relatively low ceiling heights did not leave too much room to play with and so a potentially tricky Sky Trail installation was in store for the team.
Sometimes the most tricky of installs are also the most interesting as it gives our engineers numerous puzzles to overcome and with them, the experience in dealing with them for the future. At maximum height, the Belfast ropes course was just a few inches below ceiling height meaning there was very little room for manoeuvrability in the boom lifts. Some improvisation later, the course was fully installed and We are Vertigo had Northern Ireland’s first Sky Trail High Ropes Course. In comparison to high ropes, the ice themed climbing tower at the site was relatively straight forward. The wall fits in well with the overall theme of the centre and we were pleased to finally take Sky Trail into Northern Ireland.
Sky Trail High Ropes Course, We Are Vertigo
Another piece of notable October business was the birth of our partnership with military charity Help for Heroes and Tough Mudder, operators of the world’s most gruelling endurance race. Working in partnership, the two have teamed up to purchase two mobile climbing walls to help promote both Help for Heroes as a charity and Tough Mudder itself. We were extremely pleased to supply the walls for this exciting partnership.
November saw a return to trade shows with the annual IAAPA Expo in Orlando, FL. Once again dividing our time between the stands of our U.S based partners Spectrum Sports Intl., Ropes Courses Inc. and Water Wars, we made plenty of great contacts and were able to showcase the products we supply to the European market as well as some new products including the Sky Rail zip track.
So here we are in December and we are now working on numerous projects to make the best start as we possibly can to 2014. We thank everybody for making 2013 a great one for the company and we hope to speak to many of you next year.
Written by Kier Lymn – Part of the Innovative Leisure Marketing Team.