The first trampoline was invented in 1936 and, as the decades have passed, these springy platforms have become a common toy in backyards of Americans from all-walks of life. However, it's only been in recent years where the concept of a trampoline park has really taken hold. Large warehouse type buildings are packed full with all kinds of trampolines, ball pits, dodge ball courts, slides, and more. They have become popular places for weary parents to take their overly energetic kids.
In Ankeny, one of the fastest growing suburbs of Des Moines, one company (Urban Air) has opened up a trampoline park - but have done it on steroids. There's all the amenities that you'd expect in a traditional trampoline park and they they've added much, much more.
Located between I-35 and Highway 69 and not far off of Oralabor (that's the exit on the Interstate), you'll find a large grey building with a few white and orange highlights, not unlike the color theme of this particular adventurer website. It's hard to miss. There's also ample parking.
From the outside, you wouldn't necessarily guess that the inside is an eight year old's dream come true.
It's a dizzying collection of neon lights, sounds, playful infrastructure, attractions, and excitement on many different levels.
But all of this of course comes with an admission price. Those who are jumping (or their guardian if they are under 18) need to also sign a waiver. Inside the door, there's a counter where you take care of that, get a wristband, and pick up a pair of special socks to wear.
Your wristband color and type is based on what package you buy and how long you want to stay. I took my niece and nephew to a trampoline park in Iowa City last fall. We were there for two hours and all three of us were worn out after that amount of time.
You get to keep your socks. If you get a membership or plan to go back multiple times, you can bring your same socks back and thus save yourself some cost.
There are cubbies where you can put your shoes and coat.
There are some height restrictions. Thankfully, none of them precluded me.
I visited Urban Air right after Thanksgiving - as I thought it would be a good place to go to work off a few calories. However, if you get hungry while you are there or if your kid or grand-kid needs a snack, they have a cafe with a number of different food and beverage options.
Like me, there were other adults bouncing and jumping around. However, many parents or grandparents will simply turn the kids loose and sit at one of the many tables available.
As you can tell, it's a lot of adults sitting around looking at their phones.
There's even a second level lounge with televisions. I think there is even free WiFi.
The space is just literally chock full of slides, ball pits, trampolines, climbing walls, gymnastic rings, basketball and dodgeball courts, and much more. It's like American Gladiator course but for kids and young-at-heart adults.
I enjoyed playing dodgeball for awhile. It was a good workout and it reminded me of my days playing in 5th and 6th grade at Sheldon Middle School.
There is a staff around many of the areas helping to make sure the adventurers are being safe and not jumping on top of each other.
As you might imagine, a place like this would be fun for a birthday party. They have both private rooms where you can host your party or tables closer to the action that can be reserved.
These types of options certainly did not exist when I was a kid.
If you are an adult and get a little out of whack while jumping in a ball pit or just want to relax while others play, they even have massage chairs.
If you have such a good time and want to buy some merchandise on the way home, they have some of that for sale too.
With my relative lack of athleticism, I'm not sure that I proved anything about gravity being overrated...but there certainly were some kids who truly seemed to be flying far and jumping high.
Obviously, the target audience for this kind of place is younger kids and the parents, aunts and uncles, and grandparents who are trying to wear them out. However, these kinds of places really do give you a chance to work up a sweat and work those muscles. This can definitely also be a good (and probably really fun) workout, as long as you don't couple it with too many delicious items from the cafe.
If you are in the Des Moines area and are looking for something different or exciting, Urban Air might be a great place to spend an hour or two and burn off some energy. With such a big building full of all kinds of things to do, I can't imagine anyone not finding something fun to do.