Jumping gym

MONDAY, JULY 14, 2008

Indoor inflatable playgrounds offer cool way to keep kids active

When it gets too hot to play outside and her twins still have energy to burn, Colette O’Reilly takes them to the ultimate indoor playground.

Nine colorful, gigantic inflatables fill the 8,100-square-foot, air-conditioned warehouse known as Jump and Bounce. Just talking about the dragon castle, the giant slide and other features at the Spokane Valley facility is enough to evoke squeals of delight from 3 ½-year-olds Teagan and Isobelle.

“They just love it,” said O’Reilly, who lives in Liberty Lake. “It gets them physically active. It’s also a safe, clean and fun environment for the kids.”

Children no longer have to wait for the next birthday party, company picnic or school carnival to play in a bouncy castle. The inflatable amusement industry has become all the rage among kids in the Inland Northwest. In addition to Jump and Bounce, families also can take their children to Jump-n-Party in north Spokane or Jump-a-Lot in North Idaho. These indoor-inflatable facilities are primarily rented out for parties, field trips and other gatherings, but they’re also open to the general public for several hours on most days.

“Open jump” sessions are for kids 10 and under at Jump and Bounce and for pre-teens at Jump-a-Lot and Jump-n-Party. The cost is $6 an hour per child, and parents have to sign a waiver.

Everyone is required to wear socks – including adults who walk around the play area. A list of rules – no food or drink, no sharp objects such as jewelry – is posted at each inflatable.

Since Jump and Bounce opened in the fall of 2006, thousands of kids have experienced its 18-foot slide, obstacle courses, boxing ring, Toddler Island and other features. People who rent the facility for events also get to play on an inflatable that requires participants to don a jumpsuit made of Velcro before jumping in the air and affixing themselves to a giant Velcro


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