New paintball complex opens near Alabaster

The Central Alabama Paintball Park on U.S. 31 south of Alabaster celebrated its grand opening on Jan. 5-6. (Contributed)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Hundreds of paintball enthusiasts flocked to Shelby County on Jan. 5-6 to enjoy the Birmingham metropolitan area’s newest extreme sports venue.

The weekend marked the grand opening of the new Central Alabama Paintball Park at 2786 U.S. 31 just south of the Alabaster city limits. The event drew about 250 visitors – including a few professional players – from seven states, and helped to launch a project Will Lumpkin has been working on for months.

“I’ve been looking to open a field for some time. There used to be several fields around Birmingham, but there was only one left before we opened,” said Lumpkin, the owner of the Central Alabama Paintball Park.

When Lumpkin chose the site off U.S. 31 to house the paintball complex, he knew he had his work cut out for him.

“The site was really low. It took us about three months to fill it in and make everything level,” said Lumpkin, who has been playing paintball for more than 15 years.

Today, the complex houses five separate fields surrounded by mesh netting. Each field features a different theme and obstacles, such as large wooden spools, a simulated town and “speedball” fields featuring inflatable bunkers.

During paintball games, players use air-powered guns to shoot colored balls of paint in an attempt to hit opposing players. The object of the game depends on the scenario, such as capture-the-flag, free-for-all elimination matches and more.

Players are required to wear protective facemasks while playing, and are required to follow field safety rules during each match. Players are grouped together for games based on experience level.

“Number one, we want you to be safe. Number two, we want you to have fun,” Lumpkin said.

For those without masks or paintball guns, the complex offers on-site rentals purchased new shortly before the field opened. All players must use paintballs purchased at the park.

The paintball park is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. To learn more about the Central Alabama Paintball Park, visit Alabamapaintball.com or Facebook.com/CentralAlabamaPaintballPark.