RocknBounce to leave Fun Zone

The bungee-style trampoline amusement ride at the Balboa Fun Zone must find a new home at the start of the summer season, the ride's co-owner said Tuesday.

RocknBounce co-owner Richard Baranoski, who operates the trampoline with his wife, said that he was notified Friday that the month-to-month lease held by the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum would not be renewed beyond June 24.

"I understand that the museum is doing their thing, and they're making changes," Baranoski said. "I understand it, but I just wish that they didn't do it right before the start of summer."

Maintaining the ride though the slow winter season costs about $10,000, but that figure is normally made back in the peak summer season, Baranoski said.

"It's like being a farmer," Baranoski said. "You put in all this work to grow the crops, then someone comes along before the harvest and takes all your hard work for themselves."

The museum will be installing its own bounce attraction within days of RocknBounce vacating, Newport Harbor Nautical Museum President Rita Stenlund said Tuesday.

"We will be unveiling a new bounce ride that will reflect the theme of ExplorOcean and the energy of the Fun Zone," Stenlund said. "This is us demonstrating that commitment to advancing that project and to enhance the Fun Zone vibe."

For years, the museum has been rolling out plans for its new interactive concept, ExplorOcean. Plans include all new exhibits, new Ferris wheel and a 4-D theater to be completed in as little as five years.

Visitors will be able to begin utilizing the evolving museum property beginning June 15 with the advent of Family Fridays. The evening events will incorporate music, educational elements, activities for children and extended museum gallery hours, Stenlund said.

This is the latest change to the storied amusement area. The historic Balboa Fun Zone carousel was notified that it would have to vacate its long-held space on the patio area last summer. The ride was removed in September and the owner has since attempted to secure a new home for it, but without success. Other traditional favorites, such as the Dark Scary Ride, are long gone.

RocknBounce has been a fixture on the Balboa Peninsula for more than 15 years, Baranoski said.

"The cool thing about it, being there as long as we have, we've been able to watch the kids grow up in the local community," he said. "Some of the kids end up working for me at one point or another, and others grow up and bring their own kids."

Originally from San Diego, Baranoski moved to Costa Mesa to work as a ride operator for the trampoline. He bought it in 2002 and now owns multiple mobile trampolines, which are rented out at birthday parties and other private events.

Rather than lament the unfavorable turn of events, Baranoski said that he will use the lease expiration as a springboard to launch RocknBounce out to new audiences.

"The positive note about it is that I can really use this as a kick in the butt," he said.

Already he is considering other opportunities to open up a network of RocknBounce trampolines from San Diego to Riverside counties.

"It's just something that I really enjoy — it's putting smiles on people's faces," Baranoski said.

Twitter: @speters01

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