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By Emma Bilardi

With a host of digital distractions at our fingertips, families are seeking new ways to foster connection and make meaningful memories.

According to online industry reports, despite rising costs and budget restraints, families are more likely, post-lockdown, to allocate a larger chunk of their budget to experiences that include entertainment and active play for all ages.

With the global family/indoor entertainment centres market valued at a whopping US$30.9bn in 2022, and projected to grow at a rate of 11.5% from 2023 to 2032 the demand for indoor attractions is strong. But how do operators offer versatility and enriching experiences to such a broad demographic?

InterPark’s Features Editor, Emma Bilardi spoke to some of the leading suppliers in the sector to find out.

Leif Peterson, CEO, and Founder of Hologate, is a firm believer that smaller venues can still cater to and attract families and thrill seekers alike. “My advice would be to invest in incredible entertainment products with small footprints and high throughput designed to cater to a wide range of interests, ages, and skill levels,” he tells InterPark.. “The global trend towards indoor attractions continues to gain momentum, especially within the realm of social competitive gaming, a phenomenon that shows no signs of waning in popularity.

“In response, we have delivered a social, multiplayer experience designed to get customers off their couches and into indoor venues where they can enjoy incredible experiences with friends and family.”

The next innovations in indoor attractions are poised to push boundaries even further, with the rapid pace of technological growth promising limitless possibilities. “We have seen this progress in our own journey. Our multiplayer platform, Hologate Arena, was the first on the market and helped define the location-based VR genre. Not only is this system our best-selling product, but it also stands as the world’s most successful turnkey multiplayer VR system.”

Stephane Battaille, CEO of Alterface echoes Peterson’s thoughts, saying: “The indoor entertainment sector is undergoing significant changes and continued innovation. There’s a growing demand for more personalised and immersive experiences, prompting indoor venues to adapt and innovate. Guests are increasingly seeking interactive and engaging environments that transport them to captivating worlds with strong narratives.”

Many indoor venues are however, often limited by size, which naturally restricts the size and scale of attractions compared to outdoor spaces; unlike outdoor attractions that feature towering structures or easily identifiable landmarks, like giant roller coasters, indoor attractions typically lack prominent features. Without these large structures to catch the eye, indoor venues need to rely more heavily on signs and clear communication to guide guests to their experiences.

“Size restrictions definitely necessitate a more compact and efficient design,” Battaille continues. “Designers need to maximise the use of available space, while still ensuring a thrilling and engaging experience for guests.”

However, one major advantage indoor attractions do have over outdoor is their complete control over the environment. Indoor venues offer full control over environmental factors such as temperature, lighting, and sound. Battaille believes this level of control empowers designers to really unleash their creativity.

“Designers are able to meticulously curate every aspect of the environment, from the ambiance created by lighting to the mood set by soundscapes, indoor attractions can transport visitors to fantastical worlds and fully engage their senses.”

Able to operate year round and unaffected by adverse weather conditions, indoor attractions also ensure a consistent flow of visitors and revenue regardless of season.

In-fact, in regions where heat is prevalent, indoor attractions are thriving, with venues, including theme parks, malls, and entertainment centres, providing a welcome escape from the hot weather, while offering a diverse range of activities.

For Anja D’Hondt, Managing Partner of Boldmove Nation, with Europe experiencing more extreme weather events such as heatwaves and heavy rainfall, the importance of indoor attractions is evident. To continue providing enjoyable experiences, parks need to adapt to these changes by including indoor options in their ride portfolio.

Although D’Hondt is keen to extol the virtues of indoor attractions, she does have a practical warning for park operators. “Every park should carefully consider integrating indoor attractions in their park,” she says. “There are lots of great benefits, it’s weather exempt, you can extend your opening period through winter, it’s easier to convey a story and implement new technologies in the ride. But most of the time, having only a few indoor attractions won’t dramatically alter visitor’s perceptions of your venue.

“Consider investing in an indoor area with at least one big draw-in attraction such as a dark ride or several indoor rides with a food and beverage spot and shop linked to the theme of the area.

““With dark rides such as our Smash & Reload it’s also possible to repurpose an existing building. For example, Le PAL in France repurposed their old 4D-cinema, and the dark ride was fitted into the building saving some costs.”

Nicole Sangster, Digital Content Producer at media-based attraction specialist Simworx, adds further to this,  telling InterPark it all comes down to adaptability and she mirrors the views of D’Hondt around weather benefits. “Indoor venues operate seamlessly despite external weather factors,” she says. “In regions with extreme climates, such as the Middle East and Southeast Asia, fully indoor theme parks offer respite from scorching heat, sandstorms, tropical storms and monsoons.”

Indoor venues present a distinct set of challenges compared to their outdoor counterparts, primarily revolving around space constraints. Unlike outdoor attractions, indoor spaces grapple with limitations like ceiling height and the need to conform to pre-existing structures not originally designed for specific attractions. However, the operational advantages can outweigh these spatial limitations and ensure consistent customer satisfaction, thus allowing parks to generate revenue throughout the entire year rather than being limited to specific seasons.

“Not only is this financially beneficial in terms of operations but also for upkeep,” Sangster continues. “With less erosion and weathering from the elements, rides stay in better condition with less maintenance requirements and touch ups required throughout the year to keep them working like new.”

According to Simworx some venues adopt a hybrid approach, featuring predominantly indoor attractions, but incorporating outdoor elements like coaster tracks or water rides.

Christian Martin, Vice-President of Communications and Alliances at TrioTech has some sage advice for set up. “For me, there’s no hard and fast rules to set up between indoor and outdoor attractions. In both cases they can cover an extremely large area (dark ride, roller coaster), or a very small area (VR game, climbing wall). It’s driven by the space rather than indoor vs outdoor,” he says. “However, one limitation for indoor attractions is visibility. For instance, a roller coaster can be seen from numerous vantage points in an amusement park. On the other hand, an indoor attraction is, by definition, inside-a-box. Non-participating guests don’t see the guests inside the attraction having fun. Of course, theming, cameras, social media and other digital tools can overcome this.”

For Martin, where indoor attractions really deliver is unique experiences that simply cannot be replicated in a home or outdoor environment. “Guests want to live experiences they can’t replicate at home,” he continues. “They want to be immersed in alternative environments and different world’s. This demand has led to the development of attractions, and indeed of entire zones in theme parks like Harry Potter, or Star Wars that physically, and emotionally take guests to another world.”

For Jos Sloesen, Director of Sales & Marketing at ETF, the industry is going to be shaped by a combination of three things: technological advancements, sustainability, and accessibility. Referring specifically to accessibility and sustainability, Sloesen says: “Many manufacturers are focusing on sustainability in ride design and operation, with the use of eco-friendly materials and energy-efficient technologies to minimise the environmental impact.”

ETF is also seeing accessibility improvements, with more and more of its customers incorporating features to enhance accessibility for a broader range of guests. “All of our ride concepts have the flexibility to integrate specific customer requirements,” Sloesen adds.

Sangster of Simworx adds to this, telling InterPark that when it comes to accessibility, it is something outdoor attractions can sometimes lack in design. “The compact nature of indoor attractions, driven by the cost of large buildings, provides accessibility benefits for guests with mobility challenges, whereas outdoor attractions leverage expansive real estate, integrating natural landscapes into their design, which in turn requires more time for guests to traverse between rides,” she says. “Families want to be able to entertain their children no matter the weather, and in some cases a visit to an indoor attraction means the other parent can shop, distraction free, without a bored child in tow.”

It’s clear that indoor attractions can still pack a big punch in a smaller space given the right kind of consideration and creativity, something which Zamperla firmly believes. “One of the very important links in our operation chain is research and development,” Marco Antoniazzi, Zamperla’s Sales Manager for The Middle East, Africa, and India explains. “Through this research we’re seeing more indoor venues using advanced technologies and compact layouts to emphasise storytelling. Operators are integrating cutting-edge technologies and interactive elements, to enhance the overall guest experience.”

Antoniazzi tells InterPark he is also seeing more and more venues moving towards increasingly immersive experiences, especially in terms of theming. “Stepping into a theme park is like entering another dimension, and now, entering indoor venues is akin to immersing yourself completely in another world,” he says. “The trend is towards creating captivating and all-encompassing environments that transport visitors to a realm of fantasy and excitement.”

And when it comes to guest profiles, Antoniazzi finds they differ greatly compared to outdoor attraction venues, and that’s partly down to location. “Indoor venues are frequently located near shopping centres, providing a convenient pastime for families during their shopping outings. These venues tend to attract guests looking for a few hours of diverse entertainment, making it a supplementary experience to their shopping activities.

“Indoor venues offer a complete and immersive experience. We find that visitors to parks often allocate a significant amount of time to explore various rides, shows, and attractions, making it a destination for a comprehensive entertainment experience.”

As we emerge from the pandemic and its economic fallout, It’s fair to say, it takes more than just an Instagrammable moment to keep visitors coming back for more. Guests are more discerning than ever, and with the rise in popularity of tech-enhanced experiences, people are looking to play an active role in their attractions.

That’s not to say that classic attractions and beautiful theming don’t have their place. But when it comes to a demographic as wide as this, venues need to embrace interactive technology and the opportunities it presents – making the guest experience more personal, more engaging and ultimately more immersive.

So what’s new in the indoor attractions sector right now?


Hologate has, over the years, established a track record of industry recognition by pioneering extended reality, and crafting immersive experiences through advanced XR platforms and software.

In November 2023, Hologate celebrated a remarkable milestone: 20 million VR experiences across its expansive network of 450+ locations across 42 countries. This significant milestone reaffirms the enduring popularity of multiplayer VR.

The company’s latest family fuelled addition to the Hologate Arena is Ghostbusters VR Academy – covered in our IAAPA Report in the Jan/ Feb issue – a shared social experience which friends and family of all ages can enjoy together. Players work together as a team in high-risk ghost encounter scenarios, learning how to trap or blow ghosts to smithereens with their proton packs.

Following in the footsteps of the Hologate Arena, the company has also taken location-based VR entertainment to the next level with Hologate Blitz, a motion simulator platform designed from the ground up for flying, racing, and even underwater VR experiences.

The cutting-edge technology transports guests to amazing imaginary VR worlds, whether it be piloting futuristic hover vehicles around floating islands, across desert wastelands, through giant ice caves or taking the Ghostbusters Ecto out for a spin (coming soon!).

With up to one metre of vertical lift and an incredible ±30° range of motion in every direction – Hologate Blitz is the company’s premium, six degrees-of-freedom (6DOF), belt driven, interactive driving and flying simulator.

Designed for comfort, Blitz boasts motion tracking with extremely low latency to eliminate motion sickness typically found in traditional simulators.

“Our proprietary code-design and motion-tracking technology optimised the tracking of the player’s position rather than calculating the trajectory of the in-game digital vehicle,” says Leif Peterson, CEO, and Founder. “This feat of engineering provided us with 100% tracking accuracy, which produces extremely low latency and the elimination of motion sickness.”

Inspired by Formula 1 racing and developed with ease of use and versatility in mind, the steering wheel provides a combination of function, and comfort.

Players are given power through two buttons, while the attendants have the ability to easily switch between two modes, a single-axis steering wheel, and a dual-axis flying mode with steer, push, and pull features.

Hologate Blitz was voted ‘Best New Product – Arcade, VR, Redemption & Novelty’ at 2023’s MENALAC Awards in Dubai. A proud accomplishment for the company.


With 20+ years industry experience, Alterface is confident that the key to catering to families and thrill seekers is innovation. One example is ‘Action League’, an interactive thrill ride specifically designed to address these needs.

Action League offers a highly interactive experience, combining the excitement of interactive shooting, competitive gaming, and the sensation of a rotating platform. For families, this attraction provides engaging experiences suitable for all ages. Its dynamic gameplay and rotating platform offer thrills while maintaining accessibility for younger guests. Families can compete together in a fun and competitive environment.

Featuring an ultra-dynamic multi-axis rotation, the competition takes place in one large room (Action League Arena) where teams duel amongst each other, across three to five different scenes, alternating up to the final winning team.

In the Action League Arena, players are seated on a rotating platform and spin into competitive team vs. team rounds of gameplay,

The attraction is scalable from 36 to 72 players and can be integrated into any infrastructure. An elevated queue design saves space and offers waiting guests a preview of the action, adding to the anticipation and the excitement below.

Alterface’s signature Salto show control manages the effects, including shooting, lighting, audio, animatronics, photo and video content and physical effects.

Action League is fully customisable and can easily be adapted to local tastes and park cultures.

Alterface developed three turnkey theming and media packages, however, bespoke content packages including media, theming, and background story can be tailor-made to client specifications and theming requirements, ranging from purely game-oriented content to more immersive and storytelling-based gameplay.

For example, The Action League Compact Edition was custom-built to provide high levels of interactivity in a space-efficient package, while also boasting easy installation and operation.

ETF Ride Systems

Netherlands-based ETF Ride Systems was founded in 1998 and since then has become a world leader in trackless dark rides and cutting-edge ride solutions. ETF Ride Systems is part of the ETF Group which was established in 1951.

Prior to 1998, the firm had been indirectly active in the attractions’ industry for a number of years, and with over two successful decades under their belt, ETF are well primed to predict the next few years.

Starting 2024 off with a bang, the company has two new dark rides set to open in two high profile locations.

A SpongeBob SquarePants experience full of laughs, surprises and jellyfish, located in Las Vegas family-friendly hotel and casino Circus Circus, and the company’s 23rd ride for LEGO Discovery centre in Hamburg, Germany this spring.

“It’s our 23rd ride in a LEGO Discovery Centre and the excitement feels just as fresh as if it were the first, plus we have plenty of other secrets in the vault, ready to be unveiled,” says Jos Sloesen, Director of Sales & Marketing.

While recent times have seen a global shift towards outdoor spaces due to the pandemic, the demand for indoor attractions remains robust.


A common misconception Simworx would like to address is that indoor attractions only attract children.

“The guest profile is consistent for both indoor and outdoor attractions, obviously contingent on the specific target audience of each attraction,” says Nicole Sangster, Digital Content Producer. “Larger theme parks draw a similar demographic to their outdoor counterparts, provided the attractions offer comparable thrill levels.”


While accommodating large roller coasters indoors presents challenges, indoor theme parks often compensate by offering a variety of attractions, including media-based experiences.

Simworx addresses the need for intense thrills in indoor settings by simulating the same powerful physical forces that teenagers and young adults typically seek with media-based attractions, bridging the gap where massive coaster tracks might be impractical.

But how do they specifically bridge that gap and appeal to a broad range of ages?

“By strategically focusing on attractions with broad appeal, like family-friendly coasters, media-based experiences, and dark rides that feature cutting-edge technology like intricate animatronics and projection mapping.” Sangster continues. “Water rides are also a versatile option for indoor settings and offer a family-friendly thrill without the need for towering heights or high speeds.”

A prime illustration is Simworx immersive Superflume at Trans Studio Cibubur, a dinosaur themed boat ride. Once the 16-person boat stops, gripped by a motion base, an immersive movie plays and the boat moves up and down and side to side. It’s capable of roll, pitch, and yaw and moves in every direction. The boat mirrors the action of the immersive scenes shown. There are wind effects, sound effects, and water, designed to make people feel as if they are up close to a real dinosaur.

Guests travel through a vertical lift that brings the whole boat up, offering a great view from the top floor of the theme park to the point where the raft goes into the flume.
According to Simworx the indoor entertainment sector persists in its trajectory of innovation and enhancement, and this is down to advancements in screen technology, audio experiences, and projection mapping.

“These cutting-edge technologies are reshaping the immersive experience landscape, prompting venues to embrace them and elevate the indoor environment uniquely,” says Sangster. “I think as guests increasingly favour these impressive technological enhancements, there is potential for a surge in the indoor theme park sector that may even challenge the historical dominance of outdoor venues.”

Boldmove Nation

Despite advancements in home technology, the allure of real-world immersion and narrative experiences are crucial for location-based-entertainment.

Anja D’Hondt, Managing Partner of Belgian company Boldmove Nation anticipates a growing trend of integrating technological advancements into new indoor attractions.

To meet the evolving demands of audiences, Boldmove Nation introduced ‘Champi’Folies’, a media based interactive dark ride, which opened last spring in theme and animal park Le PAL located in the Auvergne region of France.

Developed by BoldMove Nation and Triotech, this ‘Smash & Reload’ ride marks the first indoor attraction in the park and the first installation of the Smash & Reload interactive dark ride concept.

Champi’Folie replaced the Ciné Dynamik 3D-simulator that was located in the same building. The new attraction combines an immersive storyline with thrilling action and impressive theming.

“Smash & Reload features an indoor hub where all the technical components are integrated, from show control to lighting, sound, media, and interactivity.” D’Hondt explains.

Theming and storytelling play crucial roles in enhancing the dark ride experience, and Champi’Folies is no exception. Guests embark on a journey with ‘TooMush’ characters. A new kind of ‘species’ which provides a seamless transition between the attractions and the animals, re-energizing this area of the park.

The aim is to freeze the Mushies with the shooters, creating an immersive experience best enjoyed where the atmosphere can be controlled.

Guests board a six-seater vehicle and individually measure their skill in a fierce fight to put an end to an invasion of mushrooms.

Driven from their forest by industrial pollution, the stressed out fungi multiply at breakneck speed, approach the city and threaten to invade it. The mission is to put an end to this spectacular invasion, by shooting the mushrooms with the available guns. This has the effect of imprisoning them in blocks of ice and eventually making them disappear.

This is an adventure full of twists and turns to share with family and friends, where everyone can measure their skills and enjoy an immersive and fun experience, with the added bonus of very little downtime for indoor venues.

“With the use of media, you can perform upgrades even when the ride is already in use,” says D’Hondt. “For example, with Champi’Folies, ‘golden Mushies’ were added to the media and gameplay some time after installation to make the challenge even more exciting. It’s also perfect for personalisation, the park can upgrade the media with certain elements for seasonal holidays, corporate events or birthdays.”


The idea of transporting characters to a world they can only view through their television screen led to Triotech developing walkthroughs, like ‘Fear The Walking Dead Survival’ located in Trans Studio Bali.

A multisensory experience that’s part thrill-ride, part interactive motion ride, and part haunted house, this unique walkthrough is based on AMC’s cult TV series ‘Fear the Walking Dead’.

The adventure puts guests right at the heart of an episode from the TV series, offering an on-the-ground experience that really captures the physicality and intense emotion of the series.

The attraction features life-like sets and high-tech interactive motion simulator technology. Sixteen guests per cycle can enter the ten-minute experience with several groups staggered through the attraction.

When guests enter the ‘Fear the Walking Dead Survival’ experience, they’ll find themselves in the heart of a military facility, right when rumours of an unknown, epidemic outbreak are brewing. Guests explore the inner workings of the facility, which includes three distinct thrill zones and various interactive experiences, to face their fears and protect their lives against a bloodthirsty horde of infected zombies.

“We want guests to experience an emotional connection with our creations through immersive gameplay,” says Christian Martin, Vice-President of Communications and Alliances. “We start by developing rich stories, and weave them into a gaming and interactive universe. We blend dynamic games with a ride system capable of supporting the narrative. This is done while respecting operational realities and budgets. We pride ourselves on pushing the envelope to the furthest point possible. That’s how visionaries break the rules.”

One scene features Triotech’s illusio technology, which integrates interactivity with projection mapping on 3D objects. This is the largest deployment of the technology to date, featuring a 16-metre wide by 5-metre high illusio interactive wall.

The entire walkthrough is housed in a highly themed and immersive 400sqm space, with three environments that offer different experiences. From lighting to sound and the choice of colour, texture and materials, every detail of the attraction helps to create a tense, anxiety-inducing atmosphere. The experience allows up to 16 players at a time and lasts an action-packed, adrenaline-fuelled 10 minutes.

With an increasing demand for indoor experiences, like the ones above, many manufacturers are developing, creative and engaging solutions specifically for venues with limited space.

Simtec Systems

Simtec Systems, manufacturer of customer-specific simulator systems has recently developed the HEXaFLITE mini.

At its most compact it seats four, and has been specially developed for low ceiling heights of six-metres. The system is available with an electric or hydraulic 6DOF motion system and features a rotating cabin, wind, and scent SFX and a dome screen.

The combination of 2D or 3D images, motion impressions and additional special effects such as rain, heat, wind, scent, and seat vibration take guests on a truly immersive journey that can only be replicated in an indoor setting.

“A major advantage of indoor attractions is the opportunity to delve deeper into storytelling.” Andreas Stickel, Director of Business Development at Simtec Systems explains. “You can enhance the experience with light, smells and fog and thematise the closed cabins of a ride, according to the story.”

The first HEXaFLITE mini installed in Europe was custom-built for Mercury Towers, an iconic new development designed by Zaha Hadid Architects. With 33 floors, it’s currently Malta’s tallest building.

Featured as InterPark’s Project Profile for Mar/Apr, the multisensory experience is designed to educate and celebrate Malta’s past and present in 60, engaging and entertaining minutes, the ride features advanced effects like projection mapping, 3D multi-channel sound, smoke, and water effects.

Suitable for the entire family, the HEXaFLITE mini provides special onboard effects thanks to its six-degrees-of-freedom motion platform to take visitors on a magical flight around the islands.

“We’re thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with Sarner on this wonderful project,” Stickel continues. “It was a challenge for both, Sarner and Simtec, to include such an immersive attraction within the constraints of the available space in the building.

“With our HEXaFLITE mini, specially developed for small spaces, we have managed to meet this challenge. This is our first mini-flying theatre in Europe, and we are very proud to have it installed in Malta.”


With 66 years in the industry, the company is synonymous with creative design and cutting edge technology. With (probably) at least one ride in every amusement park worldwide, this global amusement titan has experience and expertise in every aspect of bringing an amusement venue to life, no matter the size.

Zamperla boasts a diverse catalogue of over a hundred rides and attractions that cater to both families and thrill-seekers – WindstarZ is a prime example.

A versatile family ride with a colourful and attractive design, WindstarZ allows riders to be the captains of their own experience by controlling the movement of the sail on their own ‘hang glider’.

Guests are seated in a two-person cart – which comfortably and securely accommodate both kids and adults. At the end of each of the 12 arms, riders can find a two seat-cart, which comfortably and securely accommodate both kids and adults.

By pushing and pulling on the triangle shaped control bar in front of them, riders are able to catch the wind, like they’re on a real hang glider.

Additionally, a central hydraulic system is used to maintain the balance that gives riders the ability to control their movements, as much or as little as they’d like, during the duration of their ride.

WindstarZ seats 24 passengers and has an hourly capacity of 480 passengers.

A theoretical number that’s surprisingly high given its production for some indoor venues was post-lockdown. According to Marco Antoniazzi, Zamperla’s Sales Manager for The Middle East, Africa, and India  that wasn’t much of a concern.

While the pandemic has undoubtedly influenced the operational strategies of indoor venues, necessitating heightened attention to capacity management and social distancing protocols, Antoniazzi maintains that, really, not much has changed at all.

“There has been an increased awareness and implementation of safety measures, but there are no distinctly evident or revolutionary shifts in the fundamental operational practices of indoor attractions.

“The industry remains vigilant, adapting to evolving circumstances, and closely monitoring the ongoing situation to ensure the safety and well-being of visitors.”

You also can find this article in the digital magazine below (page 28):

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