In the world of healthy living, forms of alternate recreation -- such as trampoline parks, wave parks, climbing gyms and skate parks -- have become a worldwide, multi-billion-dollar industry.
Joseph Walker, principal lecturer in recreation, event and sport management in UNT's College of Education, is studying how the industry's expansion is impacting overall participation in traditional commercial recreation activities and investigating whether people are spending additional money on alternate recreation or moving from traditional recreation activities.
"Recreation is constantly evolving and what was once considered alternate can become mainstream over time," says Walker, who teaches a graduate course on the dynamics of commercial recreation and tourism. "At one time, snowboarding was considered an alternate sport, but now 30 to 40 percent of the people out on the ski slopes are on snowboard-specific courses."
Even a playground can become alternate recreation in the right location.
"Playgrounds have grown from being solely school or park activities into their own industry," Walker says. "Indoor family fun centers and outdoor adventure centers with activities like canopy tours or challenge courses are basically highly supervised expanded playgrounds. You just have to pay the fee."