Spot the Shop: Black Mountain Adventure Zone offers fun for all ages

Karrigan Monk
Black Mountain News
Jon Welch opened Black Mountain Adventure Zone in October 2020 with a Halloween maze.

Black Mountain residents looking for fun can find new experiences at Black Mountain Adventure Zone.

Owner Jon Welch said the concept started right before the pandemic with a mobile business.

“I originally started a mobile laser tag business back in the end of 2019,” Welch said. “Then of course COVID hit and kind of ruined all of our plans for 2020.”

Black Mountain Adventure Zone as it currently exists opened in October 2020 with a special Halloween maze that ran for the whole month.

Once the Halloween season ended, Welch said the business transitioned to hosting Gelly ball events. Gelly ball uses electric pistols that shoot small water orbs at opponents.

Welch said he found out about the game through one of his laser tag groups. He said he thought it would be a good addition to the business in order to get younger players involved.

“But then we found everybody loves shooting the little gel orbs at each other, so it’s great for all ages,” Welch said. “We allow as young as 5 all the way up through grandparents.”

Welch said hosting these Gelly ball events has been one of the biggest successes of Black Mountain Adventure Zone so far.

Black Mountain Adventure Zone offers gelly ball and laser tag and will soon offer virtual reality and escape experiences.

“Gelly ball is probably what has kept this launch going and then adding, trying to keep it fresh and keep it a little bit different every couple of months,” Welch said. “Move everything around so it’s a new experience.”

In addition to changing the Gelly ball course, Welch said the business is also looking to add new experiences including virtual reality, escape experiences and updated laser tag equipment. For laser tag, Welch said he has ordered new vests that keep score rather than relying on an honor system for players.

Regardless of what experience customers choose, they will most likely have Black Mountain Adventure Zone to themselves.

“We focus mainly on private party groups of less than 30 so they have the whole space to themselves,” Welch said. “They don’t have to work about other groups coming in and out. We’d like to be open for some open play opportunities, walk-ins. It’s just hard to schedule that with staff and whatnot.”

Welch said the biggest struggle of the business so far has been advertising. He said most people who come in say they did not know the business existed. Welch said it is expensive to advertise on radio and billboards, but Black Mountain Adventure Zone focuses on social media advertising to bring in new customers.

Looking to the future, Welch said he wants to open up the space so more people can participate at once.

“It works really, really well for private groups, but we’re limited,” Welch said. “We’ve got some new activities … where we can take bigger groups. … That’s what I’m most excited about at this location, being able to have more people active at a time.”