Jumping away the last days of summer

The trampolines at Rebounderz.

The trampolines at Rebounderz.

As much as our family loves to travel to faraway places, we also love discovering new family-friendly stuff in our own proverbial backyard.

Today we found a new fave 30 minutes south of our house: Rebounderz, an indoor trampoline park.

The place is a kids’ fantasy land with dozens upon dozens of trampolines. Plain trampolines. Trampolines on walls. A basketball court made out of trampolines. Even trampolines that enable kids to bounce themselves into a giant pit of foam cubes.

There’s also a three-story indoor playground, an epic arcade (with Pop-A-Shot), a regular hardwood basketball court, and a snack bar.

It’s been over 100 degrees here all week, so Rebounderz was the perfect place to bring L and R to blow off steam. The facility is the first West Coast outpost of an East Coast franchise. It was well-organized. It was clean. Perhaps the only downside to the place: It was SUPER expensive, as in, $48 for both girls for two hours. (It was so spendy, in fact, that I decided not to jump; if I had joined them, it would have cost us another $21.)

We went with some of the girls’ friends—five girls in all. The trip was sort of a last hurrah: The girls all start school next week.

Sure, the kids liked the trampolines, but the undisputed highpoint actually was the playground, which boasted a corkscrew tunnel slide, two platform ladders, lots of rope bridges, and a bunch of bouncy-house type obstacles. Once the kids tried all the everything else (except the basketball court ones; the kids were intimidated to try those); they insisted on returning to the playground. Afterward, that’s the part L and R remembered most fondly.

We didn’t really hit up the snack bar; I and the other parent for the day smuggled in our own (healthy) snacks but relied on the in-house options for cups of Dippin’ Dots as a special bonus for the girls. As for the arcade, I’m still not sure how much each game actually cost ($20 bought me a bunch of credits, and each game cost different amounts of those), but it felt like my money disappeared particularly fast.

Next time, I’ll take advantage of booking jump times online. I’ll also make sure we arrive right when the place opens; we got there about 30 minutes after the joint opened, but by lunchtime, it was a zoo.

Overall, I’d say our first experience at Rebounderz was a positive one. I’m not sure we can afford to visit more than once or twice a quarter, but it’s nice to know we’ve got such a fun new option so close to home.

What are your go-to daytrip spots within 30 minutes of your home?

The beauty of a drop-in indoor playground

Travelers of all kinds understand the importance of letting kids burn off steam during a family vacation. The practice wins children time to let their imaginations wander. In turn, it also keeps everyone sane.

Inside A Place to Play.

Inside A Place to Play.

This is precisely why we love A Place to Play here on San Juan Island in Washington State.

The facility, literally one block from the ferry slip in Friday Harbor, amounts to a REALLY COOL indoor playground. It has a variety of themed creative play areas (including one where kids can use makeshift crab pots to catch stuffed crab). It’s spotlessly clean. The employees are patient (even when a certain 3-year-old mixes water and magic sand). Heck, the joint even sells snacks. Add in the cost—$7.50 per child per hour for the first hour, a total of $7.50 per family after that—and the place is a dream.

Rules of the road at A Place to Play are simple. Most of the time, children must be accompanied by a responsible supervising adult. The grown-up can’t leave at any point in the visit. If kids want to snack, they must do so in the dinette area. That’s pretty much it.

Of course there are exceptions. Once a month, A Place to Play hosts Date Night, during which the facility brings in some additional staff to watch (and feed) kids for three hours while moms and dads enjoy some quality grown-up time. This promotion is as much (if not more) for locals as it is for tourists. Perhaps the only downside is that it’s not cheap; it will cost us $40 to send both girls there Friday.

(To be honest, though, I’d pay twice that for a few solo hours with my bride on a family trip. Especially considering our wedding anniversary is Sunday.)

The concept and set-up behind A Place to Play makes so much sense, I have to wonder why these sorts of facilities don’t exist in every city. We certainly would use them. And I bet we’re not alone.

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