A Finnish exercise park provides a safe space for adventurous activities, writes Syida Lizta Amirul Ihsan.
EVERYWHERE else was quiet at Avenue K shopping centre in Jalan Ampang on a Saturday morning except on the fourth floor, where SuperPark is located.
People started to come and a queue began to form. There were many expatriates, most of them return customers — they brought their own non-slip SuperPark socks which you had to wear all the time in the park.
Parents may be familiar with indoor gyms for children. SuperPark is a huge indoor gym for kids and adults. This neat idea came from Finland, when Taneli Sutinen was watching his daughter play in an indoor park. He wanted to relax but his daughter wanted him to play with her.
“There has to be a better way,” he thought, and as cliched as it may sound, SuperPark was born.
Its business began in 2012. By last year, there were 13 in Finland. It then expanded to Hong Kong, Sweden, China, Singapore and Malaysia. By 2023, the company expects to have over 100 locations across the globe.
With the rising rate of global obesity and the realisation that exercise is crucial for a healthy body, this park seems to hit all the right notes for urban dwellers where outdoor space is limited and outdoor safety is questionable.
The weekend I was there with my brother’s family, it was during the height of the haze that enveloped the city for more than two weeks.
An indoor playground is a perfect alternative for a workout in such conditions.
FOR THE KIDS
The park is segmented into three areas — adventure, game and freestyle. Some are for kids only, some are for adults too. My nephew and niece had a great time at the Adventure City where they walked and crawled, and ran through obstacles in a tunnel that took them from one floor to the other.
The area is made so children hone their coordination and courage, and parents can join them too.
Then there’s the ninja track with obstacles to make you balance, jump and hang. But the tube slide takes the cake, at least where these two are concerned. Here’s how it works. You drag your tube tyre up the hill (that’s exercise in itself) before you slide all the way down.
My nephew and niece are 8 and 4 years old respectively, so their father had to help them drag the tyres. Basically he did the work, but they had fun — which is very much what all parents do anyway. There’s also flying fox where you can slide in a safe environment.
Alas for my husband and I, our son is only 20 months old so his play area is limited. There’s only the kid’s gym and the sliding mountain or the metal slide. Murshid likes the latter but after a while, he too was bored playing the same thing.
He likes football and wanted to kick a ball in the cage but he didn’t meet the minimum height and was promptly stopped by the worker. Any ball kicked could travel fast, posing a danger to toddlers.
I like the game arena, where small areas are designated for certain games like baseball, street basketball, bowling and street soccer. My husband tried the Superhoop where you throw a ball into the hoop. He tried the football game too.
But my brother and husband’s favourite is the Robokeeper, simply because throughout the time we were there, no one kicked past the Robokeeper, an electronic goalkeeper. Everyone who played thought they could beat him, but no one did and the queue got longer because when they failed, he wanted to try again.
While it’s true that the park is made for everyone (tickets are from RM45 per person, from 3 years old), the amount of time you can spend playing depends on who you come here with. If parents come with small children, then they will have to supervise their kids, leaving little or no room for the adults to play.
If you have slightly older kids who can explore the park and play all by themselves, then I suppose it is worth paying RM45 per head for a four-hour session. Otherwise, maybe adults will want to come again, with friends, to really enjoy the benefits of exercise here.
I asked my brother — who was there for the first time — if he’d come again given that he has to pay RM180 for four tickets, and he said “yes” in an instant.
“It’s a very good and safe place to work out and spend time with the family. I may not be able to enjoy all the games, but it’s better than a kid’s indoor playground where there’s nothing for adults.
“And it’s a safe, confined space to do activities like flying fox and the tube slide which are exciting. Exciting activities will encourage kids to be more active,” he says.
So there’s another repeat customer there, another family who will come the next time, to SuperPark, socks in hand.
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