X
    Categories: Business

A Bit Xtreme offers a bunch of fun

Steven Pritchard, 17, aims his laser gun in the laser tag portion of a new indoor play place called A Bit Extreme in St. Albert December 20, 2017.

As Kaylee Muzichuk stood on the platform she tugged at her harness to make sure it was secure. Taking a deep breath, the 14-year-old stepped towards the ledge, bent her knees and launched into the air.

As her body made contact with the large ball, she desperately tried to take hold. Unsuccessful, Muzichuk fell off and landed softly on the ground.

“She’s pretty good at the wipeout challenge,” said Jennifer Muzichuk, Kaylee’s mother.

Jennifer brought her three children to A Bit Xtreme indoor fun centre for an afternoon of adventure. The new facility opened in December, offering six different activities in its 19,000 square-foot space.

“This place went above my expectations. It’s great because there’s nowhere in St. Albert that’s good for all ages. There’s something for my five-year-old and my 17-year-old,” she said.

People have their choice of playing at a four-level playground, laser tag, a wipeout challenge, an inflatable obstacle course, wall climbing or a hover board track. For a day pass, players can go through all six activities.

“I love watching everyone have so much fun,” said Wendy Abbott, owner of A Bit Xtreme. “I had a 12-year-old boy come up to me the other day and say, you’re a genius, so it’s those kinds of things that makes me want to keep adding more.”

This isn’t the first fun facility Abbott has opened. She recently relocated the business from Lloydminster after the community was hit hard by the recession.

“The economy is very different there,” she said. “It was a very transient community that’s all about oil. You notice a big downturn and even established businesses are still closing there and it’s not recovering.”

Her background is far from being a connoisseur of fun businesses. Prior to opening the business Abbott worked as a dental hygienist. As a mother of four, she decided to let the partners of the business buy her out so she could focus on the family.

Abbott soon realized she wanted a place where she could bring all her children of different ages to play. At the time indoor fun facilities were becoming popular, so she decided to jump into the business in 2014.

When the doors opened, the indoor fun facility was full of teens, tweens and tykes running around in excitement. Unfortunately it wasn’t long before oil and gas plummeted and the economy crashed.

She said people stopped booking parties and business was hurting. Abbott made the difficult decision to move away, searching for a community that wasn’t reliant on the oil and gas industry.

When people arrive at the facility they quickly find looks are deceiving. The small entrance makes the indoor fun centre look minuscule. The inside, however, is in stark contrast from the outside.

“We get that all the time,” Abbott said. “People are really surprised when they see how big the centre is.”

The space explodes to a large, two-level indoor fun centre. The four-level playground is 3,200 square feet alone, housing wild slides, punching bags, rollers and ziplines.

There are four climbing walls with four different difficulty levels. Next to it is a wipeout challenge, requiring participants to be harnessed as they climb up a structure and leap in the air in an attempt to grab objects.

To the left is a changeable space that currently houses an inflatable obstacle course. In Lloydminster the space was filled with water at one point and people were given large balls to run around inside on top of the water.

Upstairs gives way to a large laser tag maze and potentially a future café.

There are two standards that Abbott has at the facility: safety and cleanliness. Twice a day the indoor play centre is cleaned down from top to bottom and the business is closed on Mondays for maintenance.

“If you look around it’s a germ fest. Kids are sick all the time, there’s no way that we could possibly ask everyone if they’re well,” she said. “We clean anything that’s been touched twice a day and it’s logged. It’s a really big thing for us.”

Abbott said the indoor fun centre isn’t only for those 18 years old and under. A Bit Xtreme frequently books adult parties and obtains a liquor license for the event. People are free to play all the different activities.

“Staff parties are really fun,” she laughed. “It’s a bunch of adults who get to play and act like children.”

For more information or to book a time to play visit: http://funforeveryone.ca/

Dayla Lahring: Dayla Lahring joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2017. She writes about business, health, general news and features. She also contributes photographs.