Aspiring athletes, kids having birthday parties, and people just looking for something to put a bounce in their step can now head to a new trampoline park that opened today in San Francisco.
House of Air, a park located in a historic airport hangar in the Presidio, is the brainchild of two action sports enthusiasts.
Founders Dave Schaeffer and Paul McGeehan met in Lake Tahoe around 2003 and took a class on how to do aerials on trampolines so they could do tricks on the mountains during snow season.
"We always thought, well gee, they only had one trampoline. Imagine if we got a whole space and just filled it with trampolines," Schaeffer said.
House of Air is the result of their two imaginations. It includes a Matrix, which consists of 42 conjoined trampolines, and a Colosseum, which includes 22 conjoined trampolines and will be used for organized sports such as dodgeball and basketball.
The cost is $14 per person for the first hour and $10 for each subsequent hour. There is also a children's bounce house on site for $10 per child for an hour, as well as a training ground for instruction by gymnasts and experts in action sports like snowboarding.
The training aspect of the park is "what really sets us apart from anyone else," Schaeffer said.
"You can't get instruction from other trampoline parks," he said.
It's easy to lose control quickly or land awkwardly while bouncing around on the trampolines. Schaeffer said safety "has to be the biggest issue in a place like this."
"The insurance is almost as much as our lease," he admitted.
Before going on the trampolines, customers must fill out a waiver form, but Schaeffer said they should not be worried about getting injured.
"There's not as many (injuries) as you would think," he said. "It's documented that well over half of trampoline injuries across the country occur when you fall off the trampoline onto the ground, and you can't do it at any of these places."
The park, which is open until 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and until 9 p.m. on Sundays, was not very crowded this afternoon on its first day, but Schaeffer said he anticipated business would pick up this weekend during its official grand opening party.
The party, scheduled to start Friday and last through the weekend, will feature a DJ, giveaways, and "a huge-name athlete who's going to be running the show, but I don't know if I'm allowed to say yet" who it is, Schaeffer said.
He said the business has been getting "crushed" with reservations for birthday parties, and some Silicon Valley companies have also reserved space in one of the two 50-person event rooms on site.
The location of the trampoline park, on the west end of Crissy Field near Fort Point and the Golden Gate Bridge, shouldn't hurt business either, Schaeffer said.
"It's a really big deal. This is not cheap," he said. "It's some of the most expensive real estate in the country...and in a historic aircraft hangar that hasn't been touched since 1950, so we had to retrofit everything.
"It's the most expensive thing I hope I ever have to do, but it's worth it," he said. "It's probably the best building for this on the planet, with hundreds of tourists going by every day, and in San Francisco, one of probably the most adventurous cities in the country. It cost everything we had, but it was worth it."