SuperPark inspires kids and grown-ups to exercise together

Lack of exercise is a global problem. Finnish indoor activity park has created a concept that arises interest around the world.

Taneli Supinen from Kainuu region in Northern Finland was annoyed. While his daughter was having fun frolicking around an indoor playground, he was left with little to do but sit over a doughnut at the cafeteria table.

"Out of this contradiction, Taneli came up with the idea of an indoor activity park where both children and their parents could discover the joys of exercise," Johanna Heffernan, Park Director at SuperPark, recounts the company's initial spark.

Together with his partners, Juha Tanskanen and Jarmo Heikkinen, Supinen set out to develop a hybrid park that could offer entertaining activities through a variety of sports for visitors of all ages. The first SuperPark was inaugurated in late 2012, and there are now a total of 8 parks across Finland.

"Our hybrid park concept is unique. Activity parks usually focus on a single sport, but we offer everything from climbing and skateboarding to baseball and disc golf. We have activities for school groups and workplace teams and even for professional athletes," Heffernan describes the versatility of the concept.

Toward global markets with a "purple heart"

SuperPark has identified the lack of exercise of people as a global megatrend.

"Lack of exercise is a worldwide problem in increasingly digitalised societies," Heffernan sums up. "For instance, in urban centres in China, the possibilities for outdoor exercise are nonexistent and therefore the demand for clean and safe indoor activities significant."

SuperPark has also benefited from Finland's outstanding international reputation. The company is currently launching an activity park in Hong Kong, and its goal is a global network of 100 parks by the year 2020.

"We possess something that cannot be copied by our competitors. Our entire staff from the founders to park instructors is committed to their work with true passion and a 'purple heart'. It is our common goal to provide our visitors the best possible experience in the world's most enjoyable indoor activity park," Heffernan declares.

Product development together with "sparkers"

In Finland, SuperPark has become a phenomenon and lifestyle, especially among young people. The company seeks to benefit from this strong commitment in the development of its services.

"The kids have invented a word for visiting SuperPark: they talk about 'sparking'. We hold panel discussions with our regulars in order to hear their ideas for new sports or other improvements," explains Heffernan.

In the near future, sparkers will be able to test an exercise experience that is augmented by digital elements.

"We are developing an app that will allow visitors to, for example, film their flips on the trampoline and compare their performance with previous visits. A current trend is the combining of digital and physical activities," Heffernan says.

SUPERPARK

Established: 2012
Domicile: Sotkamo, Finland
Turnover: €14 million expected in 2017
Tekes has funded Superpark's research and development work. The company has also taken part in the Tekes Feelings programme.

Eeva Landowski