WAXAHACHIE — Urban Air trampoline park is ready to jump into year No. 2 in Waxahachie. So far, Cody Herndon, owner of Waxahachie’s Urban Air, has been on a "great journey."
“There are a number of reasons why we’re proud, and one is that everything is about kids for us," said Herndon ahead of the park's one-year anniversary celebration.
“At the end of the end of the day, we’re about impacting the youth of our community and to think about it a year ago where we were crazy, and about to pull our hair out, trying to get this place opened. I couldn’t envision the impact we were going to have like this,” he added.
Though the park originally opened on Sept. 10, 2016, which happened to be a leap year, Herndon has adjusted the park’s birthday and is throwing a party this Saturday, Sept. 9.
“For the anniversary we’re running a few contests. We’re giving away five free birthday parties, and for the first 100 customers that come through the door, we’re going to give them a free one-year jump pass,” Herndon explained.
From dodge ball courts to the slam-dunk zone or the warrior battle beam and obstacle courses, the trampoline park has an activity for every age.
“Giving all the kids in Waxahachie something to do and anytime you keep a kid active they tend to stay out of trouble and stay healthy and fit,” chuckled Sandy King, Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce’s CFO.
“And for Cody to provide both of those things, not only an activity for kids of all ages but even some exercise programs for adults that he’s bringing in, he’s one of the few people in Waxahachie that does that."
Herndon, who has has been a Waxahachie resident since moving with his family in 1988, said he has always recognized the need for a family entertainment facility in town.
“Coming back to town I can always remember my dad saying, ‘There’s not a lot for us to do,’” he recalled. “We did have a skating rink, and we did go to this pond that we called the ‘blue hole,’ and I can always remember my dad saying, ‘We should build some type of family entertainment center here, and we could have bumper boats.’ But none of those ideas came to fruition.”
That is until Waxahachie’s growth spurt and expansion brought about the opportune market in which Herndon could invest.
“My wife and I aren’t wealthy, so we put every dollar we had into this place to open it and took a huge risk along with Citizens National Bank to make this a place happen so families can come together and have fun,” Herndon acknowledged.
“It’s so important to us as a community to raise our kids up to give back to the community in a full circle – and that’s what Cody is doing,” King affirmed. “We want to attract young professionals to the community that are going to raise their kids here, be proud of the community, and be secure enough to open up their own businesses here to give back.”
“When we built this park, we excavated down 42 inches for the trampolines,” he explained of his location’s uniqueness. Demolition began in Feb. 2015.
Herndon went on to explain that in traditional trampoline parks, the trampolines are built onto a 36-inch deck off the ground, however, what sets the Waxahachie location apart is its in-ground trampolines, providing easy accessibility and openness.
“We’re actually the first park in all of Urban Air’s parks system to put all of our trampolines in the ground,” Herndon affirmed.
Adding a little sizzle to the park’s appeal, Herndon also mentioned the unveiling of their new café with a built in kitchen and a brand new double-stacked oven to accommodate the appetites of patrons.
“We’ve had concessions, and it’s done well, but a lot of people had mentioned how they wished we had food,” Herndon said. “So now we’ll be able to do everything from fries to hot wings, pizza, chicken tenders, mozzarella sticks, and hot dogs.”
Making improvements one at a time, Herndon points out that the park continues to receive anywhere from 7,500 to 12,000 visitors a month, bringing families from all over for a few hours of fun.
“One of the things we’re most proud of is our partnership with SWAGG and what we get to do on a monthly basis with them,” Herndon explained one of the many groups Urban Air serves.
In partnership with SWAGG Programs, Urban Air hosts end-of-the-month birthday parties for Ellis County foster children.
“Urban Air has been a great partner with us since they opened, and they continue to allow us to come in and celebrate the lives of children in foster care,” articulated Nikeesia Ranson, founder, and CEO of SWAGG Programs. “What they’re doing is bringing hope to our children and letting them know that someone cares for them and is willing to celebrate their life – something they normally wouldn’t get.”
“The kids are able to come in and have a birthday party, they give the kids pizza and allow them to come in, have fun, and just love on them. That means a lot to any child in foster care because it gives them a sense of normalcy. And after, these kids feel proud to be able to do these things and it’s a huge deal to these kids,” she added.
“We have a culture in Urban Air where we celebrate a birthday as a moment in time that stops for that person, and it doesn’t matter your age, we want that day to feel special for you,” Herndon confirmed.
Serving the community on a daily basis with a place that encourages adventure, fun, and unity, Herndon recollected a highlight that made his first year worth the struggle of opening.
“There was a boy who comes here in his Urban Air shirt, has a whistle on like our staff, and would love to be an employee,” Herndon laughed. “Well, he shared with me a month ago and said, ‘I wanted to thank you for opening Urban Air because I battle with severe depression, and when I’m here I’m happy.’”
“And he’s here all the time, and it’s great. I’m just glad we have a facility that he can come to and help him with his struggles,” he nodded.
Looking toward the future as Saturday’s anniversary nears closer, Herndon invites the community to join them in celebration at the park.
“The community has been treating us great,” Herndon complimented. “The community support and involvement have been awesome."
"I think people have different reasons for coming here whether it’s a birthday party, to play and have fun, or to get exercise, but it’s our goal every day to create a safe and clean environment for families to have the best time. So we hope everyone comes out to celebrate this Saturday,” he finished with a grin.
Urban Air’s one-year anniversary is scheduled for this Saturday, Sept. 9 from 10 a.m. — 11 p.m. The event will be held at 507 North Highway 77, Suite 700. For more information, visit urbanairtrampolinepark.com or call (469)-299-4846.
Chelsea Groomer, @ChelseaGroomer