This weekend we visited the new BounceU in Warrendale. I was so excited to hear of it's opening, especially after losing the Center for Creative Play, The Kid Company, Safari Sams and The Kid Company all within the last year. It's so nice to hear of something opening rather than closing. An added bonus is that my childen LOVE to bounce and that I've heard great things about BounceU from friends in other cites. We were very excited to check it out.
BounceU works a little differently than other play places. It's private. That means that you can't just walk in any day and play. This is good if you're happen to be having a birthday party there, and bad if you just want somewhere to play on a rainy Saturday. They have a set schedule of "open bounce" times that you may partake in the bounce-fest if you're not lucky enough to be attending a birthday party. (See the scheduled times below)
I invited my neighbor to join us and we loaded up the kids on a snowy Friday morning and headed the 30 minutes north. Upon arrival we were greeted at the front desk and asked to sign a waiver and pay our $8 fee. We were attending the 9:30-11:30 a.m. Preschool Playdate (ages 7 and under only). The kids were given a primer on the rules (Rule #1 - Go down the slides on your bum and Rule #2 - You must have fun!) and then sent off to play.
BounceU consists of two separate bounce rooms. One room held a traditional bouncy house, a huge slide, an obstacle course and a baseball game (both inflated). The second room consisted of a skee-ball game, another huge slide, a basketball game and a huge inflatable playroom of sorts with basketball nets in each corner. All inflatable. During this Preschool playtime, the kids were allowed to float between the two rooms (during parties they are given a certain amount of time in each room and then moved to the party room, like a progressive dinner). At about 11 a.m. the kids were taken into the party rooms for snacks and juice. We were finished after the snack (about 11:15 a.m.)
To say it simply, we had a blast. The adults all joked about how they should hold exercise classes there. It was exhausting! I think we may have had more fun than the kids (I'll admit to pretending my kid needed help so I could go down the slides with them!). Adults are encouraged to use all of the equipment, even without a little one. We had a great time once we realized that.
My advice is to wear layers (or short sleeves) and comfortable, moveable pants (yoga pants would do nicely). And socks. Don't forget your socks. The kids were a bit reluctant at first, especially on the big slides, but warmed up quickly. The staff was wonderful. They engaged with the kids even when they didn't have to (for example, my kids were playing with some balloons, perfectly content to play alone, and a staff member came up and joined them. The staff would also encourage the kids to get in the bouncy houses and would go in with them, I was very impressed).
65 Warrendale-Bane Road
Preschool playdate: (reservations are recommended, they can only take 70 people) - Thursday and Friday mornings 9:30-11:30 $8.25 per child
All ages open bounce: Days and times vary. $8.50 per person
Family bounce night: Wednesdays 6-8 p.m. $8.95 per child
Birthday parties - Start at $229 for 25 participants ($279 on weekends). Includes 75 mins bounce time & 45 mins party room time. Add food and party bags for additional charge.
-Brand-spanking new, so that means super clean, no sign of wear on equipment
-Great, friendly staff that really engage with the kids
-Great way to tire out your kids!
-Adults generally free, but encouraged to play too
-Separate play times for young kids (Preschool playtime) so they're not competing with older kids
-Not open for free play all the time
A few pics of the equipment
Matthew really loved this big slide
Our neighbor Olivia, on the other hand, was a fan of the bouncy house
Fun for all ages!