DINO-SIZED ENTERTAINMENT: Family Quest, parent company to Jurassic Quest and Brick Fest Live, launched on Sept. 19 and will look to expand the two properties into other markets next year. (Courtesy Family Quest Entertainment)
FAMILY QUEST LAUNCHES, FOCUSING ON KIDS ACTIVITIES
It’s no secret that the live industry is booming with companies reporting record earnings and ticket sales in a post-pandemic world thanks to shows from Taylor Swift, Beyoncé and Bruce Springsteen, but there is another sector in entertainment that is showing dino-sized numbers. With the success of dinosaur exhibitions and LEGO brick-building spaces in convention centers across the nation, Family Quest Entertainment, a live event organization focusing on educational and family-friendly entertainment, was forged to continually provide family-friendly experiences and expand into other markets.
The new venture launched on Sept. 19 as the parent company to Jurassic Quest and Brick Fest Live, two popular traveling shows geared toward children and parents. Private equity firm L2 Capital acquired Jurassic Quest in 2019 and Brick Fest earlier this year prior to launching the company, which aims to deliver more variety in live family entertainment throughout the globe. Boasting nearly four decades of experience in the live entertainment industry, Jeff Munn was named the first-ever CEO of Family Quest.
“Our desires are to continue adding properties into the portfolio that align with our mission, which is creating memorable moments that spark joy for families around the world through the power of imagination and discovery,” said Munn, who worked with the Harlem Globetrotters for 33 years prior to joining Jurassic Quest last year. “At Family Quest, we seek to build those connections and spark imagination through our engaging, high-quality family experiences all over the world. … And there Is tremendous opportunity and demand for 2024.”
Jurassic Quest, which launched in September 2013, is a dinosaur exhibit held at convention centers that gives children an opportunity to learn about their beloved prehistoric creatures and interact with life-sized models and animatronics. Munn said that the venture has seen exponential growth in ticket sales, which are projected to reach 2 million by the end of the year.
“We are busy as ever and, as you know, in this business, busy is good,” said Munn, who said attendance in 2023 more than doubled compared to the previous year.
Brick Fest, a brick-building event that celebrates LEGO and allows families to connect through the activity of building, has also been a hit this year and is booked well into 2024 with stops at sites such as Pittsburgh’s Monroeville Convention Center, Rochester, New York’s Riverside Convention Center and The Fairgrounds Nashville in Tennessee. Aside from the activities, attendees can also take photos with many life-sized figures built out of LEGOs and cosplayers as well as meet special guests, some of whom are contestants from the “LEGO Masters” television series in which brick-builders participate in challenges to earn the title of LEGO Master.
“I was so impressed when I walked into my very first Brick Fest to see not only kids but families and parental interaction and friends getting together, building as far as their imagination will take them in an exhibition hall that contains millions of bricks,” Munn said.
Focusing on that imagination as well as tapping into the wonder and power of discovery is key for a business such as Family Quest, and the company is delivering plenty of it with four active tours supporting both properties. Munn said the companies will look to accommodate demand overseas and establish connections with venues outside of the U.S.
“We’re also seeing a material interest out of South America and Australia,” Munn said. “We’re starting to see the demand grow, and we’re very fortunate as we continue to create these larger-than-life ventures.”
The company is closing in on acquiring another property by the end of the year, according to Munn, and is currently developing two “organic concepts,” one of which will likely debut in 2024.
“We’ve had such tremendous support from the guests that attend our shows and throughout the industry. We’re really on to something special here,” Munn said. “It’s just creating that interactivity, education, connection and inspiration while creating positive lifetime memories.”
With so much going on in the entertainment industry, finding space has been a challenge for some acts, but Jurassic Quest and Brick Fest planned well in advance to ensure easier travels for their production crews. Jurassic Quest utilizes 15 semi trucks and 30 full-time employees to travel and get each ground-based set up and running, and Brick Fest is easier with only a few semi trucks to carry equipment.
“There’s a lot of work that goes into it, but it’s not overly complicated,” Munn said. “As long as we know we can get the space, anywhere from 80,000 to 100,000 square feet, that’s all we need to create the space to drive those family experiences.”
Family Quest Entertainment seems to be arriving at an opportunistic time as families look to get out more in a post-pandemic world and seek an affordable experience, which is difficult with rising costs due to inflation. Ticket prices for the company’s two traveling events range between $17 and $38.
“It’s getting people away from their devices, television, telephones and apps, and spending time together in a meaningful way that they can share,” Munn said. “And that’s critical for everyone. We’re fortunate to be able to provide that in this industry, whether it be family events or music, people have their interests, and it’s nice to be able to drive those interests. It is critical for us that we deliver for our guests, and if we can do that, we’re happy. We’re going to do great things moving forward.”