I had the unique experience of attending IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando last week. (For those not familiar with IAAPA, it’s basically the association of folks involved in the attractions business – think everything from amusement parks to water parks to arcades to laser tag facilities to party rental companies, and more).
Standing on the show floor among acres and acres of exhibits brought me back to my childhood, and the dream conversations I’d have with my friends and brothers. Playing in the backyard or the basement and all those kid ideas would pop into our heads: Wouldn’t it be cool if you could have a trampoline basketball court? Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a 360° reverse loop track for bikes, like on a rollercoaster? Wouldn’t it be cool if someone invented a water balloon fort?
Well, turns out people way smarter than us were having the same conversations. Because all of those things, and more, were on display at the Attractions Expo. Makes me realize that there’s a lot of ingenuity out there. Because this wasn’t just a showcase of great ideas, it was a showcase of great ideas that had been figured out and engineered to be profitable attractions.
It’s kind of like that kid who used to obsessively burn ants with a magnifying glass then grew up to be a pest exterminator, only these IAAPA people went to top-notch engineering schools and now are dedicated to the fun business.
There were acres and acres of new games and rides and activities and inflatables and if you’ve had fun doing it, odds are, it was there. Plus, a ton of things you’d never think of – but when you do come across them (like the laser maze – coming soon to an attraction near you) you’re sure to have one of those, “Oh wow, cool! Now why didn’t I think of that?” moments.
American (worldwide for that matter) ingenuity is alive and well, that’s for sure. And not to get too political, but it gives me hope for all the troubles we’ve been tackling as a country. Three days at IAAPA Attractions Expo makes me realize the brains are out there. I know if we could just set the politicking and partisanship aside, we can solve anything.
Wouldn’t it be cool if?