I’m a fan of trampolines. I was a gymnast in high school, and bouncing reminds me of competing on floor, my favorite event. (Second only to vault, which also had a jumping component, only off the end of a springboard.)
In college I was officially a “jumper,” competing on the track team in the triple jump. I used my legs to hop-skip-jump down a runway into a sand pit for both the indoor and outdoor track seasons.
I haven’t jumped much since college, because, well, there’s kind of an unspoken “rule” that once you become a responsible, somewhat mature adult, you kind of leave the jumping to the kids.
Last weekend, our 6-year-old was invited to a birthday party at Sky Zone St. Paul, the local company credited with inventing the indoor trampoline park, so my husband and I decided to take our 3-year-old and let him jump, too. I didn’t notice any other parenting duos out on the trampolines (most watched from the sidelines), and I didn’t even care. Once you let go and just jump, it’s very liberating. And the kids love it.
Indoor trampoline parks are an extremely popular way to let kids burn energy on cold, snowy, or rainy days. Sessions quickly sell out, and depending on how much time you want to purchase, you could have to wait another hour for the next one. It’s smart to plan ahead and reserve your designated time online.
At this particular Sky Zone (dubbed their St. Paul location, even though it’s technically in Oakdale), there’s a foam pit, a “SkySlam” basketball court (anyone can dunk a ball here), dodgeball, and a general jumping area, consisting of trampolines and “bouncing walls” that transform people into rubber balls (and Spiderman). My 3-year-old had a tough time crawling in and out of the foam pit, and spent most of his time in line to shoot baskets. His big brother was a fan of dodgeball and the foam pit. They both liked the general jumping area, bouncing from one square to another.
Orange “SkySocks” are required to jump—for an additional cost of $2/pair—which can be used again. A 30-minute session is $8, 60 minutes is $12, 90 minutes is $16, and 120 minutes is $20. I personally think an hour is more than enough time to get your money’s worth of jumping.
In the end we burned energy, burned calories, worked up a sweat, laughed a lot, listened to a high-energy new and old-school pop music soundtrack (I’m pretty sure I heard “Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch at one point), and had a great time. It was refreshing to see so many kids having that much fun without a video game or cell phone in sight. I also thought the kids were very respectful of the rules, taking turns in an orderly manner, staying on their own trampoline squares, not getting too wild. The employees were kind and patient with the little kids who might not “get” all the rules right away like the older kids do. (Minnesota Nice in full effect.) It was crowded and could have been chaotic, but it was always controlled.
In addition to the Oakdale location, there’s another local Sky Zone in Plymouth (aka Sky Zone Minneapolis). For more information, visit skyzone.com.
• Arrive 15-30 minutes early if it’s your first time jumping and you have kids under age 18 (15 minutes on weekdays, 30 minutes on weekends). You’ll need to fill out waivers, check-in, put on the Sky Zone socks, and lock up valuables.
• Dress like you would for a really warm workout class (fitness classes, coincidentally, are also offered at Sky Zone).
• Bring your own water or Gatorade.
• Bring quarters for the lockers.
• Understand that, for safety reasons, only one person can jump per trampoline square.
• On Tuesday and Friday mornings, toddlers (5 and under) can jump for only $4/hour. Toddler time is from 9:30-11 a.m. Parents and grandparents can also jump for only $4/hour.
• Mega Jump is catered to teens 15 and older from 8-11 p.m. on Saturdays, for a fee of $15. The music is fun and loud and there are no little ones underfoot.
• Don’t attempt to do any crazy/risky moves like somersaults or flips if you don’t have proper training. Jumping can be dangerous, especially if you land wrong.
• Channel that gravity-defying feeling you had when you were a kid bouncing on a trampoline, reach for the sky, and have fun!