By Joseph Robertia
Lauri Kapp remembers her days as a stay-at-home mom well. It was a constant effort to keep her kids engaging in new activities that would keep them physically active, interacting with others their ages, and having fun. It is these same concepts that she attempted to share with other moms, dads, school groups and community members through opening Jumpin’ Junction about two years ago.
Now, as the indoor play facility prepares to expand into a new building double the size of the original one at the end of the month, it’s adding a variety of activities for kids, teens and even adults.
“I’ve tried to listen to my customers and revamp according to their needs,” said Kapp, the owner of the Soldotna-based business. “As we expanded we wanted to broaden our age demographic.”
The new, 12,600-sqare-foot, two-story building is next to the existing 6,000-square-foot building on Kalifornsky Beach Road. The original building will still maintain the same-size area for inflatables, as well as renting inflatable units for off-site events.
With the inflatables, the rules have been clear — limiting users to kids under 14 years old. Part of this was to protect the users, many of them small children, from accidental contact with older, heavier teens or adults.
“Since the surface users walk on is so unstable with people bouncing, it would be dangerous to have a 250-pound person in with 3-year-olds,” Kapp said.
But teens and adults also like to have fun, so Kapp sought activities for the new building that could accommodate more than just those under 14.
“We wanted activities for all ages,” she said. “We’ve already seen, over the past year, kids grow here — from pregnant bellies to newborns to toddlers. We wanted to continue seeing this and have something for teens and adult couples who want to come have a unique date experience.”
To this end, the entire upper floor of the new building will be devoted to “Northern Lights A-Glow” black light mini-golf. As the name would imply, the stairwell leading up to the second floor has been ornately decorated with huge airbrushed murals of the northern lights, with paint that fluorescently glows neon green in the darkness under black lights.
“It’ll be 12 holes with several of them being interactive — the props will make a sound, light up or do something fun or funky,” Kapp said.
The same glowing, artistic theme continues through the mini-golf course itself, although the subject matter is diverse — from tyrannosaurs, brontosaurs and other dinosaurs that roar when a player putts between their scaled legs, to an underwater scene with gigantic whales, glowing octopus and gurgling jellyfish.
Downstairs, the glow-in-the-dark theme continues with a deep space scene in one of the three new rooms that can be rented for private parties. Another room will feature a new “Cosmic Cannon” activity, which Kapp described as a “high-adrenaline challenge” involving air-powered cannons firing Nerf-like balls at an opposing team’s targets.
There will also be a large kids’ casino area, of sorts, featuring video games as well as physically played games, such as Skee-Ball, basketball and air hockey — which will run on tokens and give players tickets based on their performance, which can be redeemed for prizes.
At the original building, there was also a rule of no outside food allowed. This was primarily for keeping the inflatables clean and disinfected, she said. But it posed a problem as the bouncing and jumping often wore kids out to the point of needing a snack.
“We’ve offered simple snacks, waters and drink boxes, but the new building will feature a food concession area with a lot more options. Now when kids get hungry after a workout on the inflatables we’ll have healthy fresh-fruit and real-fruit smoothie options. We’ll also have concession-type food, such as pizza, fries, nachos, soft pretzels, corn dogs, that kind of thing,” she said.
The new building is set for a grand opening July 31. Developments can be followed on the Jumpin’ Junction AK Facebook page or their website at http://www.jumpinjunctionak.com.
“We’re looking forward to being able to offer so many new things to the community and keep providing joy, physical-workout and social-development options in a nonthreatening environment,” Kapp said. “It’s great to be able to offer something that makes kids leave saying, ‘This was the greatest day of my life.’”