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New Superior business brings kids' fun indoors

Superior FunLand opened Saturday, Jan. 14, in the Mariner Business Center. It provides a play space for children ages 2-12.

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Owners Paul Bothun and Desiree Hughes, front, stand in the central room at Superior FunLand, a new indoor playground in the Mariner Business Center, on Monday, Jan. 16.
Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram
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SUPERIOR — Roughly 200 children visited Superior FunLand, an all-weather play space in the Mariner Business Center, during its Saturday, Jan. 14, grand opening. Two days later, on a rainy Martin Luther King Jr. Day, kids zoomed through the space at 69 N. 28th St.

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Hadley Krause, 1, zips down a slide at Superior FunLand, a new indoor play space located in the Mariner Business Center, on Monday, Jan. 16.
Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram

“It’s 6,800 square feet,” said Desiree Hughes, of Superior, who created the business with her partner, Paul Bothun. “So there is a lot of room to run. Kids get that energy out.”

Jessy Ronchi, of Superior, and her daughter, Lynlee Larson, 6, challenged one another to a game of “Guess Who” on an Infinity game table. They attended Superior FunLand’s grand opening and returned Monday to play.

“We’re loving it,” Ronchi said. “This is our second time … And we’ll be back. We’re going to get a membership.”

Brett Rewertz, of Superior, said the new playground was fun, and it was nice for his daughter, Della, 5, to have something to do indoors during winter. Della said she loved it. Her favorite part?

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Elizabeth Rask, front, and Karidian Olivares, both 9, color a birthday greeting for their friend in one of two party rooms at Superior FunLand on Monday, Jan. 16.
Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram

“That they let the kids and their friends come play,” she said.

Tina McColley, of Duluth, was there with her sister-in-law, Courtney Pavlich, and their four children.

“When we got here, the owner that was in the office at the time, or in the gift shop, he said that they haven’t had a ton of people yet, and I said, ‘Well, it won’t take long. Everyone is looking for something to do inside,’” McColley said.

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Jessy Ronchi ,of Superior, left, and her daughter, Lynlee Larson, 6, play "Guess Who" on an Infinity game table at Superior FunLand on Monday, Jan. 16.
Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram

The commercial-grade playground is geared toward kids ages 2-12. It offers myriad play options, from bikes and an air pillow trampoline, to arcade-style basketball and video games. The playground equipment includes slides and a built-in bongo drum, while a nearby pair of musical metal flowers encourages children to create their own tunes.

Smaller rooms off the main area include a sensory room for younger children, party rooms for birthday celebrations and a cafeteria. Families are welcome to bring their own food, Hughes said. There’s a microwave and sink as well as high chairs available.

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Della Rewertz, 5, of Superior, wheels around the indoor playground at Superior FunLand on Monday, Jan. 16, passing a large Connect 4 game with sensory mats on the floor beneath it.
Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram

The playground is open seven days a week, with Hughes and Bothun both working full time. Children must be supervised by adults, although there is no additional charge for the adults. Daily passes, punch cards and memberships are available. Veterans get a 50% discount.

Hours were flexible during the first week as the owners use feedback from parents to pinpoint what their schedule will be going forward. As of Saturday, Jan. 21, the play space will be open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Visit the S uperior FunLand Facebook page or superiorfunland.com for more information.

The Original Louis' Cafe opened Dec. 16.

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A family business

Huges and Bothun, high school sweethearts from the Superior High School Class of 2006, reconnected four years ago in the Twin Cities. At the table in their Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, home, they dreamed up the logo and concept for Superior FunLand, which was loosely patterned after indoor playgrounds they frequented in the Twin Cities.

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Children and their parents spend time at Superior FunLand on Monday, Jan. 16. The indoor play place includes a sensory room for younger children, arcade-style basketball games, an air pillow to jump on and playground equipment.
Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram

“Superior always needed an indoor playplace,” Hughes said, particularly during the winter, when kids are cooped up inside. “Just being a parent, we knew we needed to do something not just for our family, but the community.”

Hughes said their children, daughters Elizabeth, 9, and Amelia, 2, were their inspiration for the business. The location at the former Mariner Mall offered them space to build, a three-minute drive to work and a community vibe.

“We love the fact that we are next to Sterling Silver, which is a dance studio, which our daughter goes to, and Guadalajara, which is an amazing family restaurant. So I feel like even though this isn’t a mall anymore, now we can actually bring it together where it feels like it’s like a community center,” said Hughes, a former certified nursing assistant.

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Superior FunLand owners Paul Bothun, left, and Desiree Hughes, right, stand with their daughters Elizabeth, 9, and Amelia, 2, on Monday, Jan. 16.
Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram

The family moved back to Superior about eight months ago and started retooling the space. Bothun, who served in the U.S. Army for three years and trained as a paratrooper, said the challenge of opening a business has been more nerve-wracking than jumping out of an airplane.

"Because I didn’t have the training,” said Bothun, who most recently worked as a welder with Boilermakers Local 647.

The partners have gone all-in, pouring their energy into Superior FunLand. The grand opening was fantastic, they said.

“We’re happy to give the opportunity for the kids to enjoy themselves, and also parents,” Hughes said.

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Kelly Peterson uses curiosity and enthusiasm to connect with business owners.

Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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