Last October, Sunbury Skate closed after more than half a century serving the Big Walnut community. It was, as they say, a bit of a bummer; but Drew Tuttle and his family had purchased the building from the McAtees, owners since 2005, and promised to open a family fun center early this year at the McGill Street location.
Last Friday morning, true to his word, Tuttle cut a ceremonial red ribbon officially opening the Big Walnut area’s new multi-attraction venue – Fun in the Jungle.
“Fun in the Jungle features four main attractions,” Tuttle said. “We have a huge play space for children 12 and under, we have a video arcade suitable for any age, mini-bowling for any age, and virtual reality booths.”
Tuttle said the virtual reality booths feature the latest technology; he said the only other VR site in Ohio with similar leading edge technology is in the Dayton area. It features three booths that can be used sitting down or standing up.
“For computer game aficionados, one machine has 600 classic games on it, another machine has 400 classic games on it, and a third machine has 60 classic games,” Tuttle said. “Plus there are standalone game machines.”
Tuttle said Fun in the Jungle charges by the attraction. Parents can bring in children and pay a modest $8 per child to use the play space and stay as long as they wish – all day if they want to – and there’s comfortable couches located around the segregated play space where parents can sit and watch their children while socializing.
“The arcade area is $8, and customers can pay one time and play all day,” Tuttle said. “The virtual reality fee is $4 for five minutes — it’s the newest thing, everybody loves it; and mini-bowling is $3.50 per game per person.”
Fun in the Jungle also features food and party rooms, Tuttle said. Food includes Pizza Hut pizza, hotdogs, snacks, soda, coffee, and water.
“Parties are a huge part of our business model; we have 30 parties booked already,” Tuttle said. “We’re a local family, we’ve been in this community for 10 years and saw a new need in the community, so I stepped out of the corporate world to serve the area. This truly is a family fun center, a way to engage families so they can have fun together.”
Tuttle said a lot of people pitched in the help Fun in the Jungle get underway, and local employees, including Sunbury Skate Club’s former owner Sharmin McAtee, will be on board to help operate the new establishment.
“I want to thank Sharmin, Christina Burton, Julia Blair, Curtis Falke, our contractor Randy Ramsey, and especially my wife Katie for being a single mom for the last four months while we put this together,” Tuttle said.
Fun in the Jungle, located at 345 McGill Street (behind VFW Post 8736), is open Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Closed on Mondays.
For additional information, or to book a party, call Fun in the Jungle at 740-913-0692 or log on to funinthejungle.com.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093.