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Resort Launches All-New Entertainment Center, With Axe Throwing, Bowling, Escape Room

Axe throwing is coming to northern Michigan. On Friday, March 13, the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa will hold an official grand opening for The Den, a new 3,000-square-foot entertainment center featuring two axe throwing lanes, four boutique bowling lanes, two virtual reality games, an Egyptian-themed escape room, assorted arcade games, and a bar/restaurant.

The Den was the brainchild of Matthew Bryant, who joined the Resort staff as general manager last spring. Bryant, who worked in the indoor water park industry for 14 years before coming to the Resort, thought this type of indoor recreation experience was something the Resort was missing.

“I was thinking, ‘Who are we? What do we do?’” Bryant says. “And we’re entertainment. We are a destination where we want to capture as much revenue as possible. We want to make sure that when people are here, we can fulfill their needs for the entertainment aspect of travel, right here on-property. I wanted to look at enhancing the Resort in ways we haven’t looked at in many, many years, and I wanted to find something that was trending upwards so that we could be on the front side versus the down side.”

That led to axe throwing, a growing trend that has yet to impact Michigan on a large scale. The sport came to prominence in Canada in the mid-2000s, growing from a backyard league activity to a common fixture at logging competitions. Now it’s a hot draw as both a competitive league sport and a leisure activity at bars nationwide. The International Axe Throwing Federation claims to represent more than 10,000 active axe throwing league members, spanning more than 125 cities across six countries.

Despite the growing popularity, the sport has had no presence in northern Michigan until now. Bryant notes that, while there are a few

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