If you’re in the market for an exciting experience in the Chicago area, consider iFLY Chicago (Lincoln Park) for your next adventure. Approximately 15,000 people visit the location annually. Here’s what keeps them coming back for more high-flying fun.
The state-of-the-art Lincoln Park facility has much to offer guests. Approximately 250 people a day can fly inside the patented iFLY Generation 6, a 12-foot recirculating vertical wind tunnel. Guests come to experience the thrill of freefall simulation as they float on iFLY’s wall-to-wall air. It’s a must-do experience for adrenaline seekers. However, the Chicago area branch also offers an educational STEM Program, a popular field trip for area schools and groups like the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and corporate events.
Dave Genovese, general manager of iFLY Lincoln Park, says, “Day visitors from Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin comprise about one-third of our visitors, and a quarter of guests hail from areas outside of the Midwest.” However, within the Chicagoland area, the majority of visitors come from the west and south sides of the Windy City.
What Sets iFLY Chicago Apart From Other Family-Friendly Experiences?
Genovese says the Chicago location “offers an experience unlike any other.” Of course, the majority of visitors are eager to soar to new heights. But even people afraid of elevation or jumping out of an aircraft can enjoy the experience.
“The flight package with a High Flight upgrade is the most popular,” says Genovese. The High Flight upgrade is the ultimate thrill. First-time flyers typically float on air inside the vertical wind tunnel, approximately 3 to 6 feet above the net, within arm’s reach of the world-class instructor.
When guests choose the High Flight add-on, the instructor guides the student somewhere between 10 and 20 feet above the net. This YouTube video is an excellent example of a high flight at iFLY Chicago Lincoln Park.
It’s a popular pick for birthday parties. Party attendees have the option to fly inside the vertical wind tunnel. In addition, they receive first-timer training lessons, a flight suit, and goggles as part of the preflight process. A private room, pizza, and beverages are included in the cost of having a gathering at the facility.
It’s also a popular place to have corporate events. “It is an immersive experience,” says Genovese. “It’s very unique and a great way [to facilitate] team bonding.”
Additionally, the academic science, technology, engineering, and math program is incredibly popular. “At iFLY Lincoln Park, we host one or two STEM events daily during both the week and on weekends,” explains Genovese. So why should a teacher or scout leader consider bringing a group to the vertical wind tunnel? “It offers real-life applications to physics and the natural world,” says Genovese. “The vertical wind tunnel is a very visual piece of physics,” agrees Ellie Davis, Chicago area sales manager.
“It’s educational, but more importantly, it’s fun,” says Genovese.
Delivering the Dream of Flight
There are three locations in the Chicago area. In addition to the Lincoln Park facility, there are two slightly larger iFLY spaces in Naperville and Rosemont. The vertical wind tunnels are a popular tourist attraction, notes Genovese, adding that tourists make up the bulk of their customer base.
A report from Choose Chicago, the official destination marketing organization for the city, stated that in 2021 over 30 million tourists visited Chicago. Lynn Osmond, Choose Chicago’s president, said that by the end of 2023, the city’s tourism numbers are expected to return to pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels.
And iFLY is ready to give them the time of their lives. The facility, which opened in 2016, prides itself on being able to fly people of all ages and abilities. “If you can relax and let the wind do the work, it’s very accessible,” says Genovese.
Guests lean into the tunnel and let the air lift them up. There are numerous flight packages available for visitors to choose from so they can select the right option for their budget and experience level.
First-time flyers are accompanied in the wind by a world-class flight instructor who has passed a rigorous training course. It takes approximately six months to become a fully certified instructor and then about 100 hours of training a year to get to higher-level training positions. “The instructor supervises the experience, and you’re just along for the ride,” said CEO Matt Ryan. “The vast majority of our customers fall into out-of-home family entertainment, one-on-one experience with an instructor category.”
Beginners start out on their stomachs. “Over time, if you keep going, you’ll transition to your back; you’ll be able to fly on your back, then you’ll be able to sit fly, and ultimately, you can head-down fly. And that’s a very small percentage of the population,” said Ryan.
What makes Chicago a great location for multiple vertical wind tunnel facilities? “We want to be in locations where families come to eat, drink, shop, and be entertained. You won’t find us isolated,” said Ryan.
When you’re ready to fly like an eagle in Chicago, visit the Lincoln Park location to get started on your memorable journey.