I Finally Got To The Trampoline Park!

Deborah Welky


When I was 7, we moved from a rental on 20th Street in Milwaukee to a whole house in the suburbs. Then, when I was 11, the Capitol Court mall was built about three miles away. In the far reaches of the mall parking lot, there was a mini amusement park with a small merry-go-round, Ferris wheel and miniature golf course. And, as time went on, a trampoline park was added.

Now, as an adult, I truly do not know what the trampoline park owners were thinking. They dug 10 big rectangular pits into the concrete and laced a trampoline across the top of each pit. Kids were flying through the air with reckless abandon, and occasionally landing on the concrete between the pits by accident. Within about a year, enough of them had landed on their heads for the trampoline park to be closed, probably amid a flurry of lawsuits.

However, as a child, I only knew that I had the meanest parents in the world because they would not let me jump on those trampolines. I would ride my bike over there and mash my face into the chain link, wishing I was jumping four feet up and then doing a somersault like those other, lucky kids who had kinder, more understanding parents.

I grew up and moved to Florida, never having realized my dream of trampolining.

Enter Sky Zone, an indoor trampoline park. I first heard about Sky Zone on an episode of Undercover Boss, where the owner went from location to location, checking to see if his standards and practices were being followed. They were.

So, when asked what I wanted for my birthday, I said I wanted to go to Sky Zone.

Unlike at Capitol Court, Sky Zone has padding between the trampolines, up the walls, everywhere. There are also other fun things to do — things that reminded me of another TV show, American Ninja Warrior. There’s dangling bumper-like things where you step from one to another until you’re across, sort of like swinging monkey bars. There’s a rock-climbing wall with a pit of foam cubes under it. There’s Trampoline Dodge Ball. And there’s a warped wall, where you run and claw your way to the top, then clamber onto the platform, victorious.

At first, I just bounced myself silly on the trampolines. Then I got halfway across the bumper-like monkey bars. Then I got in line for the warped wall.

I guess I forgot I’m a grandma now. I was towering over everyone else in line, but I didn’t care. I had watched American Ninja Warrior, and I knew I could do it. All you had to do was run up there without stopping, step onto the platform and raise your hands over your head while the theme from Rocky thundered in your mind. Easy-peasy.

When it was my turn, I took a massive running start, sticky-socked my way up the wall, grabbed the top platform, threw an elbow over and realized I was never, ever going to be able to haul my body up there. What did I do now?

There were no options — I slid all the way back down to the bottom, arms outstretched, but not in a Rocky way. I thought the kids behind me in line were going to choke, they were laughing so hard. But I didn’t care. I want to go back.

Maybe when I can walk again.