When I was young, I was a big fan of places like Chuck E. Cheese's and Showbiz Pizza. Of course it had nothing to do with the pizza served, but there's something amazing about walking into a place like that and trying to take in all the sights, sounds, colors, and smells. Heck, I still get a little twitch of excitement when I see a row of skee ball tracks. I like skee ball.
As I got a bit older, arcades became my biggest draw. Thinking back to those days I remember spending a great deal of time trying to persuade my mom to let me go to the arcades that inhabited every mall around. Were we really at the mall that often? We must have gone enough to make those memories pretty vivid.
By the time I hit middle school there was a whole new level of play place in the world. Huge warehouse sized buildings filled with "safe" playground style equipment that you could pay a small price and play on for the entire day. Great value for parents, but in the end it was just a large version of all the McDonald's or Burger King playgrounds. I went a few times to those places, and they were okay, but there's only so many times I'm willing to jump into a ball pit that smells like pee.
Kids have it easy today.
Almost two years ago, I started to hear a little buzz about a new breed of place for kids to play. A place where the always popular bounce houses were brought inside and combined with room-sized trampolines. I can't speak for every child in the world, but I know I had my share of dreams involving a mansion that had one room where the entire floor was a trampoline. Someday.
Locally, we have Jump Time Idaho, and I could not be more pleased with our visit.
The continuous challenge for us as parents with young children, is finding a place where we can let our guard down a little. This is where Jump Time Idaho delivers, and I mean that in no small way. Sometimes we have trouble taking the boys to places because we're worried about what they might break or if might be remotely child safe. So I ask you, what could be more safe than an place where falling is part of the fun?
We took the boys to the area called Jump Time Junior, a special section for children seven and under. At ages three and one, the grand total for full day (without leaving) access was three dollars. THREE! I can hardly comment on customer service as once inside there was little responsibility for them, however, at one point a large inflatable slide began to lose air and once notified the staff had everything fixed up in minutes. That works for me.
Within the Jump Time Junior section there was a very large trampoline area with room for plenty of kids, a very cool foam pit, several inflatable bounce houses and slides, as well as a few plastic play things which was a great way for the kids to break up the bouncing with something familiar. Pretty brilliant idea on their part.
It's hard to put into words the pure joy for both William and Carter as they ran through the different areas jumping instead of walking and bumping into countless other children, all with a smile. Yeah, yeah, so they still need work with their socialization, but Jump Time Idaho is the type of place where real progress can happen. It was truly amazing for Melissa and I to not need to hover over them, especially Carter. I really can't name another place (that isn't our house) where I've ever felt so comfortable keeping my distance from Carter, it's a pretty special feeling. Well worth three dollars.
I would like to mention one last thing, and you're going to want to lean in close for this...psst...it isn't just for kids. I don't side-step the facts: I'm really out of shape, but seriously, for eight to nine dollars an hour (depends on the day) I would love to spend some time perfecting a sweet backflip. My plan is to wink in mid-air at the ladies like Lightening McQueen.
From their website, "Jump Time promotes a safe and fun environment while providing great exercise for the whole family" and I couldn't say it better. So thank you Jump Time Idaho, for being exactly that.
Look for indoor trampoline parks near you! I even found this place which has locations all across the country. Indoor activities have certainly changed since I was young, but I'll gladly take the foam pit over the foam-flavored pizza.