SUPERIOR — During the grand opening on Saturday, January 14, approximately 200 children visited Superior FunLand, an all-weather playground located in the Mariner Business Center. Two days later, on a rainy Martin Luther King Jr. Day, kids raced through the space at 69 North 28th Street.
“It’s 6,800 square feet,” says Superior’s Desiree Hughes, who founded the business with partner Paul Bothun. “So there’s a lot of wiggle room to run. The kids let off that energy.”
Superior’s Jessy Ronchi and her 6-year-old daughter Lynlee Larson challenged each other to a “guess who” game at the Infinity gaming table. They attended the grand opening of Superior FunLand and came back to play on Monday.
“We love it,” Ronchi said. “This is our second time…we’ll be back. We’re going to have a membership.”
Brett Rewertz of Superior said the new playground was fun, and it was nice that his 5-year-old daughter Della had something to do indoors in the winter. Della said she loved it. Her favorite part?
“They let the kids come and play with their friends,” she said.
Tina McCurley of Duluth was there with her sister-in-law Courtney Pavlich and their four children.
“When we got here, the owner who was in the office or the gift shop at the time said they didn’t have a lot of people, and I said, ‘Well, it won’t take long. Everyone’s trying to find something to do in there,'” McColley Say.
Commercial grade playground for children ages 2-12. It offers a myriad of gaming options, from bikes and air-cushioned trampolines, to arcade-style basketball and video games. Playground equipment includes slides and built-in bongo drums, while a nearby pair of musical metal flowers encourages children to create their own tunes.
Smaller rooms off the main area include a sensory room for younger children, a party room for birthday celebrations and a cafeteria. Families are welcome to bring their own food, Hughes said. Offers a microwave and sink, as well as a high chair.
The playground is open 7 days a week and both Hughes and Bothun work full time. Children must be supervised by an adult at no additional charge. Daily passes, punch cards and memberships available. Veterans receive a 50% discount.
The first week is flexible as the owners work on their schedule based on parent feedback. Beginning Saturday, January 21, the gaming space will be open daily from 11am to 8pm. Visit the Superior FunLand Facebook page or superiorfunland.com for more information.
Huges and Bothun, high school sweethearts in the senior high school class of 2006, reunited four years ago in the Twin Cities. Over the dining table at their home in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, they conceived the logo and concept for Superior FunLand, which loosely mimics the indoor playground they frequent in the Twin Cities.
“Superior always needs an indoor playground,” Hughes said, especially in the winter when the kids are locked indoors. “As parents, we know we need to do something not just for our family, but for the community.”
Hughes said their children, daughters Elizabeth, 9, and Amelia, 2, were the inspiration for their startup. The location in the former Mariners Shopping Center afforded them space to build, a three-minute drive to work and a sense of community.
“We love the fact that we’re next to Sterling Silver, which is a dance studio our daughter goes to, and Guadalajara, which is a great family restaurant. So I feel like even though it’s not a mall anymore, it’s now We can actually put it together and it feels like a community center,” said Hughes, a former certified nurse aide.
The family moved back to Superior about eight months ago and began redecorating the space. Bothun, who served three years in the U.S. Army and trained as a paratrooper, said the challenges of starting a business were more nerve-wracking than jumping out of a plane.
“Because I had no training,” said Bothun, who was most recently a welder at Boilermakers Local 647.
The partners went all out and poured their energy into Joy Paradise. The grand opening was fantastic, they said.
“We’re excited to offer opportunities for kids and parents to enjoy,” Hughes said.