Rare Air Trampoline Park in Redding
● By Jon Lewis
Catching AirDecember 2015
By Jon Lewis
Photos: Kara Stewart
As young parents and business owners, Ryan and Rachel Thomas are happiest when everybody is bouncing off the walls.
Somersaults, belly flops, jumping, twisting, slam dunks, acrobatics … it’s all fair game. Throw in the 50 megawatts of energy that comes from hosting simultaneous birthday parties and the Thomases just smile a little wider.
As owners of Rare Air Trampoline Park, they embrace the ups and downs of running a business. In fact, it’s part of their business plan.
Rare Air opened its doors in April, bringing to life the couple’s vision to, as Ryan puts it, “create a place in Redding where kids can come and have fun and where families can hang out and exercise.”
Opening a family-focused entertainment center had long been a goal of the Thomases, and after a lot of research with their partners, Terry and Marilyn Smith, they settled on a trampoline park. “We felt Redding was a good fit,” Ryan says.
Amanda Tamp, a Redding mother of one, certainly agrees. “I love it. I’ve never been to anything like that. We go several times a month and the kids just absolutely love it.”
Tamp celebrated her son Jeffrey’s birthday party at Rare Air and it was such a success that she helped arrange a party for his Bella Vista Elementary School football teammates and the cheerleading squad.
Unlike birthday party venues that feature a bevy of arcade games, Tamp feels like her money goes further at the trampoline park and the kids get more out of the experience. “Here, they’re doing something active and physical and they wear themselves out,” she says.
Establishing a business that focuses on families was important, Rachel says. “We’re both from divorced parents, so we’re passionate about family.” That strong sense of family is evident behind the scenes at Rare Air, as the couple’s son, Ryder, 3 1/2, spends a
fair amount of his day at the facility, as does the newest Thomas , 6-monthold Reid.
Ryan first became interested in family entertainment centers while attending West Valley High School in Cottonwood and working part-time at Oasis Fun Center just north of Redding. His interest turned into a passion three years ago after attending an International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions convention in Orlando, Fla.
While in Florida, he visited a couple of trampoline parks and his plans springboarded to life. “I thought it was a great idea,” Ryan recalls. Back home in Redding, however, he was completing his business degree at Simpson University and he and Rachel were expecting their first child.
With a new family member on the way, Ryan put his business dream on hold and took a management position with Interstate Batteries. Rachel took a job managing Palm Beach Tan in Redding.
Flash forward to the spring of 2014, with the idea of a trampoline park in Redding still percolating. Ryan and Rachel have Terry and Marilyn Smith (longtime owners of Oasis Fun Center) over for dinner.
“Two weeks later, Terry calls and asks if I had ever heard of a trampoline park,” Ryan recalls. “I told him ‘yes.’ He says, ‘Would you want to own one?’” Ryan again answered in the affirmative. Both men then spent two weeks researching the idea and estimating startup costs. They met again, compared their notes,
“and decided to make it happen.”
The former 84 Lumber store on Old 44 Drive, which had been vacant since December 2007, was selected and the remodeling was completed. The spacious facility is now home to 10,000 square feet of trampoline space, including three dodgeball courts, a court for trampoline-assisted slam dunks and an oversized airbag that offers a soft landing to adventurous jumpers.
A couple of other interesting features at Rare Air include an indoor rock climbing wall and a rubber spine on the main court for practitioners of the freestyle movement discipline known as Parkour.
Rachel says she will soon begin leading trampoline-based rebounding classes in the fitness room (which also doubles as the toddler zone in the mornings). She says rebounding, or bouncing on a trampoline, exercises the entire body without undue pressure on the feet and legs, and also has been shown to support the body’s lymph system and immunity functions.
Bouncing on trampolines and navigating Rare Air’s different features also offers opportunities for team-building events. Vanessa Brinton, a staffer in Simpson University’s enrollment services division, says her team has benefitted from outings at the trampoline park.
“It’s a place to connect and grow stronger,” Brinton says. Students and staff played a form of “Quidditch,” the fantasy broomstick-flying game popularized in the “Harry Potter” book series, to emphasize the value of teamwork.
Brinton says Rare Air is a delight for the younger set, too, including her 3-year-old nephew. “They have the smaller trampolines which allow them to build confidence and they also have the toddler time when it’s just them.” Best of all, she says, kids are good and tuckered out at the end. “I don’t think people realize how exhausting jumping is. It’s very fulfilling.”
Rare Air Trampoline Park • 3625 Old 44 Drive, Redding
(530) 221-1206 • www.rareairpark.com