A wealth of inspiration for outdoor holiday location play...
The last three years have posed some unique challenges to all sectors of the leisure industry, not least for the provision of play facilities in holiday parks and resorts. So ideal timing, for the presentation of some inspirational ideas, to reinvigorate play offerings at Europe’s premier international attractions conference and trade show at London’s Excel from September 12. Attendees at this year’s IAAPA Expo Europe can expect to discover the industry’s latest products and services, including play equipment, water slides, play structures, and much more. IAAPA - it stands for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions – boasts a worldwide membership of nearly 5,000.
The trade show will feature IAAPA’s signature combination of exhibits from manufacturers and suppliers, food and beverage vendors, merchandising specialists, and innovation leaders that strive to develop the attractions and theme parks of tomorrow. When the education conference opens September 12, it will mark the first return of IAAPA Expo Europe to London since 2011. “We are bringing a jam-packed programme, full of inspiration, top-notch education, and ideas regarding the issues that the attractions industry is facing—such as energy costs, labour shortages, revenue streams, and more,” promises Peter van der Schans, Executive Director and Vice President of IAAPA.
“We will showcase the opportunities our members can gain from these challenges, as well as explore trends in technology, sustainability, and guest experience,” Peter continues. “Attendees will learn the latest industry trends from leaders across the world and discover insights to improve campground operations, address holiday resort needs and enhance caravan park offerings.” While targeted events like IAAPA Expo Europe help focus the mind, another vital source of learning is from our fellow holiday park operators.
With the current boom in British staycations following the pandemic and the ensuing travel chaos, many parks are choosing to add to their adventure activities which involve the whole family and attractions such as high ropes and climbing towers are perfect for keeping everyone active whilst having fun and creating perfect holiday memories. The key message is: invest in outdoor play and you will be rewarded with happy families who are much more likely to return to your park – and tell their friends about it.
Standing out from the crowd for its eco-credentials, play specialists, Kompan can now deliver a full circular playground using sustainable materials, including ocean waste. Green panels on the company’s BLOQX range are made of 75% post- consumer ocean recycled waste. The dark teal panels on their green play units and freestanding items are made of 100% post-consumer recycled waste.
All decks for our largest product series are made of 75% post-consumer ocean recycled waste. “We don’t just claim we are green,” declares Kompan’s Gary Wallis. “We want to validate our claims with a third party to be as open and transparent as possible about our green initiatives. “Therefore, we have worked with Bureau Veritas, the organisation behind the global ISO certifications, to verify our calculations of recycling and carbon emission.”
The perfect business recipe for play success is to create ‘stay and play’ zones where all the secondary spend benefits such as a café and ice cream bar are close at hand and reaching their full potential. During May, June and into July of 2022 the Innovative Leisure team have been busy around the UK coastline installing a whole variety of adventure equipment at UK resorts. Many of these are now open and being enjoyed by customers. Back in 2020, Innovative Leisure were part way through installing their Sky Trail High Ropes and Sky Tykes Junior Ropes Courses at two Haven Holiday Parks when COVID-19 first struck.
Despite the pandemic, the new attractions were well received by guests when the parks were able to open. Simon Palmer, Head of Activities and Leisure at Bourne Leisure explains: “These new high ropes activities fit in with our strategy of improving the on-site offering to our owners and guests. They create an exciting focal point for family groups and allow us to do more hourly capacity than previous traditional versions. “The junior courses have already performed well at two other Haven sites. Innovative Leisure has supported us throughout the projects and helped overcome some unique pandemic challenges.” The high ropes courses each have a capacity of 25 participants, allowing for approximately 50 people per hour throughout the day, and are suitable for all but the very youngest of visitors. The Sky Tykes junior ropes courses are seven pole courses and feature the exciting Sky Rail Zip element.
With a capacity of 15 participants at any one time, the Sky Tykes low ropes courses offer a fun, safe experience for adventurers as young as two-years- old, as well as being an excellent introduction to the excitement and challenges of ropes course attractions. Park Holidays have introduced Innovative Leisure Climbing Towers into their range of attractions at two sites and John Flack, Head of Entertainment and Security comments: “Bringing climbing walls to our holiday parks, has brought new energy and excitement to what we can offer our guests at our parks.” John shares: “The value the walls have brought to our entertainment programme has been immense and it is wonderful to see three generations of families enjoying the climbing walls. Innovative Leisure have made the process so simple and helped us at each step of the way.”
Meanwhile, Devon-based Beverley Holidays has upped the fun factor with the opening on its brand new £300k Land Ahoy Adventure Island, complete with seaside-inspired play park and mini golf course. The all-new £300k attraction is a welcome addition to the family run holiday park group in Paignton, where guests can practice their putting skills surrounded by giant ice creams or slide down a life-size lighthouse.
Designed by Greenspan Projects Ltd, Land Ahoy Adventure Island allows little ones to let their hair down on a selection of slides, swings and climbing nets, or pose for a picture on the giant Beverley deckchairs. The accompanying mini golf course scores highly in the fun stakes, with putters put through their paces around a seaside-inspired course complete with a giant sandcastle and other beach- themed favourites. Beverley Holidays director Claire Flower tells us: “It’s great to see our guests making a beeline for our brilliant new Land Ahoy Adventure Island which opened just in time for Easter, with our very own Beverley Bear and Sandy Starfish mascots being the first to give it a whirl.
“It’s a great addition to our holiday parks, providing a safe and secure space where families can get out in the fresh sea air and create holiday memories they’ll treasure forever away from iPads and TV screens. The feedback has been fantastic and the mini golf really is the best by par.” Project consultant Matt Young of Greenspan Projects Ltd says: “It’s been an absolute pleasure working with the team at Beverley to design and build such and inspiring play space, not just for young ones, but for all ages to enjoy.”
The project concept was developed around the history of Beverley Holidays’ from when they started out in the late 1950s, by incorporating nostalgic seaside elements from that era, into both the golf and play areas. Matt adds; “We are extremely pleased that the launch has been a huge success and hope that the attraction will provide fun and enjoyment to all for many years to come.”
Claire, whose family has owned Beverley Holidays for almost 65 years, continues: “Holidays are all about creating memorable experiences that stay with you forever.” “There’s absolutely no doubt that letting your hair down and enjoying the company of other youngsters in a safe environment has a massive part to play. “That’s why we have always put a big emphasis on giving children a great time, be it joining our organised park activities or having fun in the pools. Claire adds: “Our new play zone was a big investment, but we’re delighted with the results – and happy that it also gives parents the chance to enjoy a well-earned breather!”
Unfortunately, the days when children played out on the street all day are long gone. For many children today – especially families without gardens – outdoor play only happens on trips to the park or on holidays. From conventional playgrounds and rides to more nature-based facilities, the onus is on holiday park owners and operators to ensure the play facilities they offer are the best they can be.
Tel. 01803 843887
Cotswold Farm Park
Tel. 01451 850307
IAAPA Expo Europe
Education Conference: Sept. 12-15, 2022
Trade Show: Sept. 13-15, 2022
Tel: 0116 271 3095
Tel: 01908 201002
Sovereign Design Play Systems Ltd
Tel. 01702 804299
World Of Rides
Tel. 0191 492 0999