Picture this: a giant obstacle course with trampolines, slides, climbing walls and jumping platforms–really high ones. Oh, and it floats on a lake. Now add your friends, family, bachelor or bachelorette parties, or any other get-together of fun-in-the-sun seekers.
If it sounds like the best time ever, it’s because it just might be.
“Honestly, I haven’t come across a group that hasn’t enjoyed Hoopa Island,” says Gabe Verrier. “It’s perfect for families, groups of friends and corporate events.”
Verrier, who with his wife owns and operates the Hoopla Island floating obstacle courses in Pinawa, MB and Kenora, ON, got the idea for the attraction from a friend who’d visited something similar in the U.S.
“We said, ‘Man–we’ve got to bring this out to Manitoba.’ And so we did,” he says.
Hoopla Island, Verrier explains, is basically a giant Wipeout course on water. The product itself comes from Germany, and the obstacles differ somewhat between the Pinawa and Kenora parks, providing a unique experience at each. But both incorporate water trampolines, launch platforms, slides and inflatable tracks. The scenery of the lakes only adds to the experience.
“The Pinawa park has a few more running obstacles, whereas Kenora has a lot of height elements,” says Verrier. “The tallest platform is at least 14 ft. high, and you and your friends can jump off and do flips if you want.”
But bring your brave face. Verrier admits he still struggles to jump from the top.
Naturally, the obstacle courses can generate a lot of adrenaline, but Hoopla Islanders are able to give themselves over to the experience because they know the parks are very, very safe.
“We have certified lifeguards on hand at all times,” Verrier points out. “When you’re out on the water, we’re always watching out for your safety. Lifejackets are mandatory, and we do allow you to bring your own if you prefer.”
It goes without saying that participants must know how to swim, and there’s a base age minimum of six.
The two parks are each within a comfortable driving distance of Winnipeg, with Pinawa (5 Willis Drive) around 90 minutes outside the city and Kenora (Norman Park, behind Dairy Queen) about two hours. Perfect locations for day trips, in other words. Or, for weekend stays, what with campgrounds near both sites.
Verrier also offers a variety of pricing options, such as family, group and evening rates.
“From 7:20 pm to 8:30 pm we have special twilight rates, so you and your friends can get in for just $14,” he says, adding that a family of four will pay only $59 and groups of 12 or more will pay $16 per person. Pricing is based on one-hour time slots, though both locations offer four-hour sessions as well.
The Hoopla Islands are also reservation-only, so customers can plan around their particular time. Bookings can be made online www.hooplaisland.com.
“Bring out your friends and family members and race them around the course! Basically, try not to fall off,” Verrier advises. “Though everyone else will find it hilarious when you do!”