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Street Level

Play: CLE set to become the country's largest indoor adventure park


Northeast Ohio has no shortage of amusement parks and entertainment venues, but what about an indoor adventure park where guests get their sweat on, "Ninja Warrior"-style? 
 
A heady combination of fun, excitement, and fitness is the three-pronged concept of Play: CLE, opening this fall in a former boat storage facility on Chester Road in Avon. Designed for audacious adults and children alike, the closed 25,000 square-foot space offers a zipline, aerial rope courses, and obstacle challenges similar to the popular "American Ninja Warrior" competition series. The facility will also play home to the country's largest bouldering wall.
 
"It's not a gym, and it's not a single-use play park," explains owner Greg Carlin. "We want people to be physically active while having fun. We're trying to tap into something new and different in that regard."
 
Nine climbing walls and what's billed as Ohio's largest indoor zipline will cater to families and young adults, as well as area organizations seeking a unique event venue. (Think Tough Mudder team building activities and play-based parties.) The venue also offers a full bar, kitchen, and lounge space designed to create a social atmosphere amid all that running, climbing, and perspiring.
 
Carlin's mix of entertainment and fitness derives, in part, from the national rise of social athletic groups like CrossFit. A former CrossFit enthusiast himself, Carlin also enjoys the fast-paced challenge of "American Ninja Warrior," competing for fun with his family in "Warrior"-like obstacle courses. HIs vision for Play: CLE is based on an all-weather extension of trampoline parks and other venues that prize camaraderie along with a pulse-pounding workout.

"These are outdoor activities that can be done inside," Carlin says. "Cleveland is perfect for this model."
 
Tabbed for a mid-October launch, Play: CLE isn't Carlin's first foray into entrepreneurism. The Cleveland native is a partner at Brick and Barrel Brewing on Columbus Road, and he also works with the business development service JumpStart. Putting an entire vacation's worth of fun-filled activities in one facility is a new adventure he can't wait to embark upon.
 
"People who come and enjoy themselves for a day are going to get hooked," says Carlin. "It's a great challenge and a workout, too."

Read more articles by Douglas J. Guth.

Douglas J. Guth is a Cleveland Heights-based freelance writer and journalist. In addition to Fresh Water, his work has been published by Midwest Energy News, Kaleidoscope Magazine and Think, the alumni publication of Case Western Reserve University. A die-hard Cleveland sports fan, he also writes for the cynically named (yet humorously written) blog Cleveland Sports Torture.   
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