When was the last time you were on a trampoline?
When was the last time you visited a trampoline park?
Yesterday I experienced an eye opening, joint stretching, balance challenging trampoline park with my 3 and ½ year old grandson, Henry.
I don’t know where I have been, but I was not aware of trampoline parks previously. Yet, apparently, they are the rage, even though they took a real hit during Covid. Some 600 parks now exist in the United States, which is about 33% of the world’s total.
The one I went to was in a large warehouse type building with a very tall ceiling, no windows, all indoors, a snack bar, a few vending machines, and a few massage chairs. But, most importantly, seemingly acres of trampolines all somehow built into the floor and laid out in interesting ways.
- There was one that had a basketball hoop at one end of the trampoline, encouraging participants to take a leap on the trampoline and slam dunk the rubber ball through the basketball hoop.
- Another location had a tug of war with a large rope that can be pulled and tugged from one platform to another at the opposite end of the rope. In between the platforms is a pit that is filled with thousands of soft foam cubes. All designed to cushion your impending fall into the pit.
- One location had a long narrow beam called the Gladiator Joust Beam that you had to negotiate. If failing, you risked falling into pits or pools on both sides of the balance beam, several feet deep, with thousands of soft foam cubes to cushion your fall.
- Other venues (they are called modules in the trampoline park) included circular elongated arms that rotated at various speeds in both directions, challenging participants to jump up and over a swinging arm or to dive underneath one, all the while jumping on trampolines.
- Still another was a long trampoline like runway similar to a broad jump in track and field. You race down the trampoline and then you jumped from it into a huge pit with thousands of soft foam cubes to cushion the blow.
- Still other modules of the trampoline park had interconnected trampolines, one trampoline laid after another, for running from one wall all away across the room to another wall, hoping that your momentum from the bouncing would give you a boost to be able to climb the wall.
- Still another had the kids playing dodge ball all the while jumping on interconnected trampolines.
There were kids of all ages in the trampoline park. Is this what kids do for excitement these days? Let me tell you, they were all enjoying themselves, no matter what the age or what the sex. Bouncing, diving, flips, somersaults, you name it.
When I arrived at the trampoline park with my grandson, I was first asked to sign a waiver. Holy cow. I have seen waivers before but this one had to be the longest, most detailed 5 page waiver I have ever seen. I had to check 7 boxes and of course sign my name. there is absolutely no way that I, or anyone else, would be able to read the fine print and have any idea of what they are signing. Meanwhile my 3.5 year old grandson is tugging on my pants to get going. He wants to jump on the trampolines. So, sign I did.
Since then I have done a little research and it turns out that there is a good reason that they have such a detailed, sign away your life waiver. There have been injuries and deaths at trampoline parks. Not many but enough to concern some people.
I take my grandson in the facility and help him put on the special socks that are required in the trampoline park. Socks that have a little bit of reinforcements on the bottom, just enough to provide some traction and a little bit of a cushion for the bottom of your feet.
I ask Henry which section of the trampoline park he wants to jump on first. He looks at me and says, “I want you to come with me”. Whoa. I never thought that I would be jumping on the trampolines too. Oh no. oh no. oh no.
what do you do when your 3.5 year old grandson says that he wants you to join him on the trampolines? What do you do when he looks at you with his wide open eyes, and extends his hand for you to join him?
Doesn’t Henry realize that I am 75 years older than he is, I think to myself. I had not counted on joining Henry on the trampolines. Those are for the kids, I thought.
Well, when the grandson says he wants you to join him, there is no question what I am going to do. Right?
So I go to the front desk to purchase special socks for myself. I take everything out of my pockets and store them in my coat jacket. I look around and notice that not only are there very few parents bouncing on the trampolines with their kids, but the ones that are doing so, are in there 20s and 30s!
The feeling of standing on a trampoline is eerie. The trampolines are at floor level. You don’t have to climb up or down to get on them. you just walk on them. and all of a sudden you realize that you are not stable. No siree. It takes a lot just to be able to stand up on the trampoline. At least it did for me. I found myself bending my knees, crouching a little bit. I spread my arms a ways, just to provide some more balance. I was very conscious of having to be able to respond to any movement of the trampoline, even though I was just standing there. I was not jumping. I was just trying to stand up on the trampoline. Meanwhile Henry is jumping and jumping and jumping.
Then Henry comes over and takes my hand and says, “let’s jump”. Oh my goodness. I have not jumped on a trampoline in many, many years. So here goes, I say to myself. I start by trying to lift my 200+ pound body off the trampoline. Not easy to do. I finally get some air under my feet as Henry and I are jumping together.
I am beginning to feel a little woozy, a little light headed. My arms are way outstretched at this point, trying to maintain balance. I am constantly looking at where I am going to fall, if I fall. Fairly quickly I let go of Henry’s hand and try to take a step or two to the cushioned siding of the trampoline, something a little more solid.
As long as I am there near by, and as long as I started jumping with Henry, he is OK. He is on his own. He is just a jumping jack. Never stops, it seems. But each time we move to a different venue in the trampoline park, we repeat the process. He holds my hand and we start jumping together on the trampoline, but then he is on his own for a while until he wants to go to the next venue. Believe it or not, we did this for 3 – yes, three – hours.
We got in the car for the ride back home to his mom’s house. once I get Henry clicked into his car seat and after I had turned the motor on, I looked at Henry in the back seat and he was fast asleep. Gone, totally gone. Wiped out.
Bottom line, nothing beats spending time with your grandson.
Having said that, are trampoline parks a good idea for individuals over 70 years of age?
5 thoughts on “Trampoline Parks!”
Where’s the video of you?
Oh my. Definitely you have earned the nomination of and should win the “Grandfather of the Year” award.
We sit, watch, cheer, clap smile and get nervous watching our grandkids flip, spin, twirl, fall.
This is so awesome!!!!! Way to go!
Let us know how your muscles are feeling in a few days!
Wow, way to go grandpa. Do hope you are too sore.
The trampoline jumping duo! I love this story with Henry taking your hand and wanting you to jump with him. No question you have to go with him and jump!