A unique, fun experience opened in the Lakeway Area Saturday.
Family Fun Zone opened with a VIP invitation-only party for members of the community.
Owner Eliana Leal was excited at the turnout.
“Our manager Joe Baumgartner had suffered a heart attack earlier this week, but after a stint was implanted, he came back in time to participate in the opening,” she said.
“It sort of fell on us to get everybody trained this week, co-owner Jim Leal said. “He wanted to be here for today. That’s dedication.”
This is the first Family Fun Zone location. Jim Leal is hoping to eventually open other locations throughout the country.
“We wanted to get this one opened first,” he said.
The two beaver mascots were entertaining the crowd throughout the zone.
“We’re going to have the ‘Name the Beavers’ contest,” Eliana Leal said.
The Ministerial Association Temporary Shelter realized benefits when they partnered with the Leal’s.
“We want to thanks MATS for taking part in this,” Jim Leal said. “It’s been a dream of my wife and I for the last two years. We’re happy that you could be part of our VIP party. We needed a place where adults and children can come and have pure, wholesome entertainment, fellowship and fun. That’s why we created the Family Fun zone. We hope to see everybody for many years to come and be part of our dream.”
MATS has been an important part of the Leals’ lives.
“It’s been a very important part of our lives,” he said. “It’s helped family members of ours to get back on track. We want to be able to give back to this worthy charity and the kids of the community every single day.”
People can help MATS by rounding up their bill to donate to MATS, he said. Tonya Polidoro, executive director of MATS, is happy to get the Leals’ help.
“We just want to say thank you to Jim and Eliana for rounding up to support MATS,” she said. “We couldn’t do it without folks in the community like them. Say a prayer for us so that we may continue doing what we do and investing in people’s lives. At the end of the day, people helping people is most important.”
Along with the arcade games, there is a redemption store where tickets may be traded for prizes. A bumper car area is available for the first time since 2006 in Morristown when Fun Expedition was located at the present Ollie’s.
A toddler play area where younger children can play supervised by their parents will also be available.
New to the Lakeway Area is an indoor ice skating rink. Previously, the closest ice skating rink was located at Ober Gatlinburg and at Bristol Motor Speedway during its annual “Speedway in Lights” holiday celebration in November, December and January.
Laser tag is also part of the varied activities to be offered at Family Fun Zone.
“A muralist from Nashville came in to do a black light mural for us,” Baumgartner said.
A trampoline area, along with a dodgeball arena are both part of the activities.
A 20 foot by 25 foot stunt air bag is also located in the zone. This was constructed after COVID-19 concerns.
“You usually have the foam cubes,” Baumgartner said. “The air bag is much more hygienic to keep it virus free. Hygiene is on everyone’s minds right now.”
In the trampoline area, there will also be an open jumping area with sidewalks to jump on.
The zone will also offer a virtual reality area, along with an area for “Wipeout” style games.
Private rooms for parties, reunions and birthdays are located near a fully-stocked kitchen with a capacity of 100 guests.
One of the more popular pastimes in recent years, Axe throwing, is also part of the adult activities offered. When he tried it, Baumgartner said that axe throwing was harder that he thought it would be.
There will be two coaches to guide patrons in the proper techniques with axe throwing.