First Look

First Look: New Indoor Amusement Park, Bounce Empire, Opens in Lafayette

Several of Bounce Empire's inflatable attractions
Several of Bounce Empire's inflatable attractions Julianna O'Clair
The large, tan building that houses Bounce Empire at 1380 South Public Road in Layfette seems unassuming. But inside the glass doors is a vision that inspires wonder in adults and kids alike: the largest collection of bounce houses, mazes and games Colorado has ever seen. Bounce Empire, the state's newest indoor amusement park, opens its doors today, May 25, at 3 p.m., and owner James Hay-Arthur is determined to make it a different sort of park — one that caters to adults first and children second.
click to enlarge inflatable bounce houses
More of Bounce Empire's inflatables.
Julianna O'Clair
Hay-Arthur ran his own financial company for sixteen years after getting sucked into the industry by a group of friends fresh out of college. As a corporate leader, he tried to schedule amusing events for his employees and their families but ran into recurring issues: "None of the folks that worked with me who had kids could go to the places that just had adults, and the people who were single didn't want to go to the places with kids," he explains. As a dad, Hay-Arthur also didn't want to leave his kids at home, and says he was "riddled with guilt" when he left his children with a babysitter for a well-deserved night out. As a result, he and his team always found themselves at Dave & Buster's.

Ten years ago, after countless times trying — and failing — to find a suitable space for work events, Hay-Arthur decided to make one, and the vision for Bounce Empire, a fun space for children and adults, began to materialize. He bought his first inflatable attraction, a giant octopus and anchor (the inspiration for Bounce Empire's logo), and watched his delighted kids play for weeks.

Now, after three years of careful curation, Hay-Arthur has collected more than fifty inflatable attractions of impressive intricacy and magnitude. Some favorites include a massive dinosaur slide, a twister slide, inflatable carnival games like axe throwing, and a Millennium Falcon, complete with seats and R2-D2. At the right end of the park is a massive inflatable obstacle course themed like a roller coaster. And the best part about having an indoor amusement park devoted entirely to inflatables is that it's easy to rearrange. Hay-Arthur says he has a dozen other inflatables waiting to be swapped in, and he wants to change up the park's layouts and attractions every couple of weeks.
click to enlarge inflatable t-rex
Bounce Empire's Triple Raptor Slide.
Julianna O'Clair
But Bounce Empire has even more than its insane amount of giant, colorful inflatables: The services Hay-Arthur offers take the park to a new level. For adults, Hay-Arthur wants the park to be a destination for food and drink. He sought out professional chefs for the venue's Bison Bistro and found Miami Culinary Institute graduate Jorge Pedrianes, who will be creating dishes like prickly-pear cactus cheesecake and ahi tuna bowls. "I fully object to getting people out for healthy exercise and then serving them a bunch of greasy food and pizza — there's no way I'm doing that. And so I want this to be a very healthy option in every way possible," Hay-Arthur says.

All Bison Bistro meals are created to go, prompting guests to eat on the Alpine Terrace, a furnished balcony that overlooks the Flatirons. 
click to enlarge
Bounce Empire's stage.
Julianna O'Clair
The venue also features that 21-plus Rubbish Bar (named that because it's anything but, according to Hay-Arthur), which hangs over the park's inflatables and features three massage chairs at no extra cost to customers. Hay-Arthur wants to make the bar one of Colorado's best, with mesmerizing decor and signature cocktails. Other amenities offered include cubbies and lockers, three movie theaters and a venue stage for live music in the center of the park.

Hay-Arthur emphasizes that cleanliness is a vital part of the park; to that end, he's hired a full-time sanitation team. Guests will be asked to use the sanitizing station to clean their footwear at the door and will be given brand-new Bounce Empire socks with grippy bottoms for ultimate climbing power.

Over the next year, Hay-Arthur has big plans for Bounce Empire and wants to bring kid-friendly DJs and Red Rocks-level concerts to the venue's stage, rearranging inflatables to make room for 500 guests and giving parents the opportunity to introduce their kids to live music. "It'll be a very cool environment to be able to do that in," he says. "It's just time for something new, something fresh and exciting."

Bounce Empire tickets can be purchased here at $25 per hour with a $7 reservation fee.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.

Latest Stories