How beer, wine could combine with Naperville adventure park

Updated 11/9/2018 12:34 PM

An indoor adventure center that caters to kids and teens is on its way to gaining Naperville's permission to sell alcohol to chaperoning parents.

But this doesn't mean the younger set will have to deal with tipsy grown-ups on a trampoline or buzzed drivers on the go-kart track.


Urban Air Adventure Park, the business that's seeking approval to sell beer and wine to customers 21 and older, has a company policy prohibiting any adult who buys an alcoholic drink from participating in any of the park's activities.

The city's liquor commission gave unanimous approval to Urban Air Adventure Park's request to gain a recreational liquor license during a meeting Thursday. If the city council also approves the request, the business would be permitted to sell beer, wine or spirits to customers 21 and older as long as a recreational activity is going on.

But Len Monson, the attorney for the Urban Air franchisee who plans to open a facility on Route 59 at Glacier Park Avenue, said the adventure park plans only to sell beer and wine in individual containers.

Adults who buy the drinks would have to give up their activity wristband if they've already enjoyed adventures such as dodgeball or basketball on a trampoline, a ropes course, a zip line, rock climbing walls, virtual reality experiences or electric-powered go-kart racing. And if they haven't already tried any activities, adults who buy beer or wine would be ineligible for the rest of their visit.

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Monson said 70 percent of participants at roughly 200 Urban Air franchises across the country -- including suburban sites in Bloomingdale and Crystal Lake and sites under development in Elgin and Waukegan -- are 16 and younger.

This initially gave liquor commission member Marc Blackman pause, wondering whether alcohol service should be part of a place that's primarily about kids.

But Monson advised him to think of it like Chuck E. Cheese's. Select locations of the kids play zone chain offer beer and wine, but Monson said it's not a place where parents go to have a few.

Blackman then joined the rest of the liquor commission in recommending the city increase its cap on recreational liquor licenses, which stands at 13, to allow Urban Air to apply for its own permit.

The Urban Air proposal excited Mayor and Liquor Commissioner Steve Chirico for a business reason. The adventure park plans to occupy the majority of a former Babies "R" Us store as part of a trend of nontraditional uses filling large, vacant retail sites, Chirico said.

Monson said the business hopes to open as soon as February.

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