Flipping and flopping: the rise of indoor trampoline parks
January 2, 2016 12:00 AM
Sky Zone trampoline park allows people to play hoops, dodge ball and other games while jumping on trampolines.
Amelia Young, 18, of Boston, MA., jumps on the trampoline at Sky Zone in Monroeville.
Jeanita Pritchett of Monroeville attempts to dunk the ball on the trampoline at Sky Zone in Monroeville.
Marisa Davis of Harrison City does a flip into the Foam Zone court at Sky Zone in Monroeville.
Lisa Vollberg of Lincoln Place dives into the Foam Zone court at Sky Zone in Monroeville.
Justin Maines, 13, of Clearfield County, does a flip on the trampoline at Sky Zone in Monroeville.
By Anya Sostek / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Red faced and breathless, my three daughters groaned when I had to inform them that after a solid hour of jumping on trampolines, their time was up.
“Can we do this every day?” one of them asked, trudging off the trampoline court at Sky Zone in Monroeville. “Can I have my birthday party here?” asked another.
Trampoline parks are one of the latest entertainment options to hit the Pittsburgh region, with four of them opening in the last 2½ years.
If you go
Four trampoline parks are in the Pittsburgh area:
• Sky Zone Leetsdale, 740 Brickworks Drive, 15056; 724-251-6100. www.skyzone.com/leetsdale
• Sky Zone Monroeville, 160 Levin Way, 15146; 412-810-0200. www.skyzone.com/monroeville
• Altimate Air, 1701 Lincoln Highway, North Versailles, 15137; 412-626-5996
• Flight Trampoline Park, 1041 Washington Pike Suite 200, Bridgeville 15017; 412-564-0560. www.flighttrampolinepark.com/pittsburgh
The newest one, Sky Zone in Monroeville, opened the week before Christmas.
My family — my husband, sister, four children and I — tried it out in late December.
My sister and I dusted off our 30-year-old gymnastics skills, working our way from seat drops to flips and twists — and my husband made an attempt at dunking from a trampoline on a 13-foot basketball hoop.
My girls, a 4-year-old and 6-year-old twins, jumped themselves silly — literally giggling as they somersaulted, cartwheeled or just flopped around.
The modern trampoline park craze started more than 10 years ago when Sky Mania opened in Las Vegas in 2004. That park turned into the Sky Zone franchise, which opened its Leetsdale location in Pittsburgh in 2013 and its Monroeville location last month.
In addition to the Sky Zone parks, two other trampoline parks have opened locally since: Flight, in Bridgeville and Altimate Air in North Versailles.
Prices are around $15 per hour for adults to jump, give or take a dollar or two depending on location. Jumpers can also pay for just half an hour or as long as two hours. Different locations also have specials, such as $35 per family Monday evenings in Bridgeville, or $20 for two hours of late night “Jumpalooza” at Sky Zone on Fridays between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. The parks recommend buying tickets in advance to guarantee a spot.
The International Association of Trampoline Parks estimates that 460 parks are open in North America, with at least an additional 100 open internationally.
The facilities often host a large trampoline court, with about 40 trampolines in a grid, as well as a foam pit, dodgeball court and basketball hoops for jumping. Some offer even more amenities, such as fitness classes or dodgeball leagues. AltimateAir in North Versailles has a Ninja Obstacle Course for ages 10 and over, and tumbling and gymnastics classes for children.
At Sky Zone, there is no minimum age — “if you can walk, you can jump,” said Monroeville general manager Justin Werth. The facilities tend to draw a lot of children but also families and young adults. “We’ve had all ages of birthday parties,” he said, “from 2-year-olds to people turning 50.” As for the exercise classes, jumping on trampolines can burn as many as 1,000 calories an hour, he said.
It doesn’t sound out of the question. While my children (excluding the 4-month-old baby, who was content to just watch) may have been eager to keep jumping past the hour point, personally after 20 minutes I was ready for a break and some ibuprofen.
Jumpers at all facilities must complete a waiver of liability before taking to the trampolines. Participants are also told safety rules, such as one person per trampoline and no backflips into the foam pits. Injuries do happen, said Mr. Werth, but in his experience they are generally minor.
The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages recreational trampoline use among children, though it has not studied data specifically from trampoline parks. Most injuries from home trampolines occur when more than one person jumps at a time or from falling off the trampoline, according to the AAP in a 2012 report. Most injuries to children treated in hospital emergency rooms are sprained ankles, with about 10 percent to 17 percent of ER injuries involving the head or neck.
Three states have passed legislation mandating safety standards at trampoline parks (Pennsylvania is not among them), such as 17-foot ceilings and all framing covered by 2 inches of padding.
At Sky Zone in Monroeville, Hannah Jones, 20, and four friends from Latrobe occupied one section of the open-jump area, her pink ponytail bouncing as she spun on a trampoline. They had come after seeing a marketing video on Facebook. “I love it,” said her friend Ashley Macey, 19. “We don’t have anything like that around us.”
At the other end of the trampoline court, Patty Lee of Penn Hills watched her 2-year-old granddaughter Gabrielle as she rolled and bounced in a butterfly hoodie. “It’s amazing that somebody had the idea that they would build this,” she said. “Who would have thought?”
Anya Sostek: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1308.
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