Is The Weather Outside Getting Frightful?

Indoor Options For Your Corporate Events In Missouri
by Bill Clevlen

It would seem that colder months can certainly limit our options for fun group activities.  Planning ahead for the unpredictable weather is a daunting task, leading many event planners to a search for indoor options.  Turns out there are plenty of interesting, amusing, and even challenging things to do for team building outings or a fun corporate gathering. Whether you want to work on serious critical thinking skills in the confines of an escape room, or jump on trampolines with Nerf guns – the options are quite varied. 


Mike Yates is a sales manager with Skyzone in Columbia.  He said more companies are reaching out to him about team building retreats and meetings.  “The group can go out and jump for an hour, then pop into one of our party rooms for a presentation or talk.  Each room has a television with HDMI connection for a laptop.”   Mr. Yates listed the various “jumping” options available.  “They can play volleyball, joust with one another, or play ultimate dodge ball.  We have a ninja warrior type of course with obstacles as well.”   He went on to note that a favorite activity for many groups is “sky wars” – a competition that includes jumping on trampolines and using Nerf guns. Skyzone has other locations in Missouri, including Chesterfield and Fenton. 

Down in Branson, an exciting new indoor recreation facility called Fritz’s Adventure is taking team building to new heights. First opened in 2016, groups can work together on a variety of exciting challenges inside from ninja warrior walls to tunnels and ropes courses.  After a bit of adventure and competition, groups can use meeting space that can hold as many as 120 people.  There’s also the option to rent the entire facility which holds about 800.  A restaurant on site can cater your event.  


Or perhaps the thought of throwing an axe at a photo of your boss is more appealing.  Tina Flower is co-owner of The Axe House where they frequently host corporate functions during the week.  “One of our recent groups threw axes at a picture of their General Manager” says Ms. Flower.  She’s quick to add “Of course, he was there and came up with the idea himself!”   In axe throwing, participants score points by taking aim at a giant dartboard-like target. The closer you get to the bullseye, the more points earned. Jennifer Fakes recently organized a group of educators in the St. Louis area to spend an afternoon at The Axe House. “This was a group of people that would never in a million years do something like this if I hadn’t organized it, and they had a blast.”  Fakes said, “it was the perfect atmosphere for these individuals to learn about each other – outside of the classroom setting.”   


A newer trend in team building revolves around an oven instead of a game.  Some higher-end supermarkets have always offered group cooking instruction, but now, some restaurants are taking it up a notch by creating actual competitions.  At Scape American Bistro in St. Louis, their Iron Chef events split groups into teams that create a dish using secret ingredients.  The teams are then judged for presentation, flavor, creativity and – most importantly – how they work together.  Similar programs are available at places like the Culinary Center of KC, or Vito’s Kitchen of Springfield.


A quick Google search of “break out rooms” in Missouri shows more than 30 different companies operating one of these escape themed activities.  Each theme is different, but the concept is pretty much the same – solve puzzles and find clues to get you out of a room in under an hour.  Some are incredibly tough, but all of them require participants to brainstorm, work together, and ultimately agree on the best route to escape.  For example, at Breakout KC the themes include “National Security” or”Y2K”.  Typically 4-8 people are in each room.  Depending on the location, there can be as many as 5 or 6 different rooms available for rental. Hannibal’s Mississippi Mind Trap is ranked as one of top escape rooms in the state and offers two themes: “The Hannibal Heist” and “The Blizzard”. 


In St. Charles, Demolition Ball is a popular activity for weekday business outings.  Courts are rented by the hour, and games consist of 14 minute sessions. There are as many as 5 players on each team, with up to 10 total participants.  Sitting in a modified bumper car, players try to score points by throwing a ball into a basket with a special hand held scoop. A referee observes from overhead to call penalties and act as a play by play announcer. Sherry Dawson of Express Scripts said, “it was a great opportunity for our employees to mingle with each other face-to-face in a fun, competitive environment.  Usually most of these folks only communicate via e-mail, or phone.”  Ms. Dawson also noted that her team of 90 consisted of all ages from 24 to 60.  For those all-day events, Adrenaline Zone can include on-site catering for simple foods like pizza or higher-end items like hand carved prime rib. 


On the north side of Kansas City, Chicken N Pickle has grown to be wildly popular and is a perfect setting for a team-building event. The game of Pickleball is a mix of tennis and badminton that people of any age or athletic level can learn to play.  Half of their courts are indoors, making it a great venue any season. Rentals include court time and instruction on how to play the game. Food options include buffet style meals featuring wood fired chicken that’s became a staple of the business.  

Also in the KC region, Main Event offers traditional games like bowling, with 20 state of the art lanes and luxury seating.  Zip lines, a gravity ropes course, billiards, and shuffle board are all part of the 50,000 square foot complex.  Meeting spaces are available with state of the art audio/visual capabilities, full-service catering, and free Wi-Fi.  Marketing Manager, Cory Will says corporate groups enjoy their venue because “each time they return, they have the option of trying something completely different.”   

So, whether you’re throwing axes, playing laser tag, or trying not burn something in an oven with your co-workers – there are plenty of fun options for indoor events in Missouri this winter!

Check out our ‘MM&E On Location’ Video featuring Fritz’s Adventure in Branson Missouri!


About the author

Joe Clote

Joseph W. Clote is owner of Publishing Concepts, LLC a communications and marketing firm based in Saint Louis, Missouri. Mr. Clote is Group Publisher of MeetMed™ and Missouri Meetings & Events™ (MM&E) magazine, a quarterly publication read by thousands of meeting and event professionals, and producer of the St. Louis and Kansas City trade shows under the MM&E name. Mr. Clote has extensive sales and marketing expertise in the travel, tourism, fine art, insurance, and software development industries.