The former Giant Recreation World RV facility in Palm Shores will reopen in April as Adventure HQ: a family-oriented climbing and fitness center featuring bouldering – a type of rock climbing – a “Crazy Climb Arena” and a timed Ninja obstacle courses with three levels of difficulty.
Owned by the Pawley family, the unique business has been the longtime dream of patriarch Frank Pawley of Merritt Island, originally from Farnborough, England, and more recently Dubai.
The project is being headed up by his son Frankie, 28, of West Melbourne, a former SCUBA instructor and commercial diver, and daughter-in-law Lois, 25, a Pilates instructor who also does marketing for the facility.
“My dad moved over in 2013 and found this property and dreamt up an idea to create a place for everyone to enjoy,’’ said Frankie Pawley, whose career path took him from teaching recreational SCUBA diving to constant travel as a construction diver.
“I worked on oil rigs around the world and used bouldering as a way to keep fit,” Pawley said. “As a family we hiked a lot in Scotland and dad’s a big mountaineering guy, including Everest Basecamp. He came up with this business and thought it would be really nice if we all lived in the same country.
“The whole idea of this project is that we wanted it to be an exciting one and a combination of things people haven’t really put together before – like climbing and a ninja warrior course. We wanted to create a place where everyone could come,’’ he said.
Bouldering – climbing rock faces without ropes or harnesses – is one of the fastest-growing disciplines within climbing and is often used for competition.
“It’s really a fantastic sport. I would love to develop a team,’’ Pawley said.
From the entrance of the 24,000-squre-foot facility, which includes a café and event area, there is a good view of the 4,200-square-feet Bouldering and Training Studio comprised of Waltopia bouldering problems. In bouldering, routes are climbed using movable hand and foot holds with no equipment.
In a separate area are themed children’s climbing apparatus, such as a huge bean stalk and a course for timed side-by-side racing, all with auto-belay safety equipment.
The Crazy Climb Arena will be available for one-hour sessions, which are limited to 30 climbers per session. After a mandatory orientation video and equipment briefing, climbers get to explore with the different themed spaces on a first-come, first-served basis, officials said.
Pawley says themed climbing attractions for children – and adults – have “exploded in popularity.” The climbing facility can also be used for company and group team-building events.
Palm Shores Mayor Carol McCormack, an admitted fan of American Ninja Warrior obstacle course races on television, is ecstatic about Adventure HQ. “The Pawleys are really into community and are always thinking of new things they want to add. It’s in a premier location and should become a destination,” McCormack said.
“It’s just going to be neatest thing and there will be stuff to do for every age group.”
The Adventure HQ website spells it out.
“The Pawley family’s vision for Adventure HQ is to be much more than just a business. It’s about inspiring the community to enjoy life’s adventures! Adventure HQ is a hub for the community; a place to push boundaries, overcome challenges and hang with friends.”
“We’re using 24,000 square feet now but the building is 33,000 square feet and we will nearly fill it eventually,’’ Frankie Pawley said.