I’d never heard of this place before six months ago. And once I did, the idea sounded AWESOME. A place that made up entirely of trampolines, and you can just bounce and jump for an hour. The child in me that was never allowed to jump on trampolines was sparked.
So when my daughter decided she wanted to have her birthday there, I was psyched. Maybe I’d get to jump as well!
First, a little history on Sky Zone. And for that, I turn it over to Wikipedia.
Okay, that’s done. And now on to the review. I’ll set the stage by starting with the fact that our particular Sky Zone was in Westborough. And how was the Sky Zone experience?
The experience was a several very good things, and one very bad one.
First the good. The park itself is pretty amazing. There is one giant arena that contains a large number of trampolines on the ground. The arena is then walled in by even more trampolines set at about 60 degree angles. So you can literally bounce off the walls. There are three smaller arenas with narrow single entrances in the same configuration as the large arena. These are the dodgeball courts, were staff referee trampoline dodgeball. There’s a set of four trampolines in another part of the park laid out side by side. At the end of them is a foam pit. You can literally take off airborne and crash-land into the foam pit. My kids in particular enjoyed that.
The staff was very friendly. A member of the staff was assigned to the party room and took charge of serving the pizza (one pie of which comes with the admission price–you can order more at registration time) and the cake. Our staff member also gave us some extra time in the room because my daughter wanted to open her gifts in front of her friends so they could see how much she liked their gifts. This is something you don’t get at a lot if places, which make you wrap up early and take the gifts home so they can get the turnover. For a kid who seemed like she was still in high school, our staff member was very friendly and accommodating, something that’s a bit hit or miss in high schoolers.
When you arrive, you need to register. For birthday parties there is a special birthday party line that is separate from the rest of the general admission line. This makes it easy for the birthday boy or girl and all of their friends to be whisked through the registration. And there are multiple party rooms so you don’t feel rushed out of the one you’re in.
Okay, so those were some of the good things about Sky Zone. Now the bad.
There was no control over the coming and going of the kids. I mean none. Zero. We found this to be particularly unnerving.
We had fourteen kids there, including our own. There are multiple ways to enter the play arenas. Some are stairs on one side, some are ramps on the other side. So a kid could leave the arenas without an adult knowing it. A single point of entry in or out of the arenas is one thing. What made this worse was that there was no single point of entry/egress of the building itself. You could go in the front entrance and out the back/side entrance if you wanted to. There was no mechanism or process the staff went through to ensure that the party members stayed together, or that they left with the right adult. Half our party was dropped off by one set of parents and picked up by another. This is fine for us, we live in a small town where we all know each other and where this kind of carpooling happens all the time. But what if we didn’t? I try not to think of EVERY possible bad thing tha can happen, but I’m a father of daughters, so I tend to go to worst case scenarios. And they all went through my head.
I know from prior retail experience that all locations are not created equal, and that layouts are going to differ location by location. So I can only talk about these things in regards to Westborough. But if they’re all like that, then my official take on that is “yeesh”.
So in the end, would I recommend Sky Zone for birthday parties? Yes. It was a lot of fun (and very noisy, but that shouldn’t be a shock). The kids jump for a full hour, which is more than enough time to have them tuckered out and ready for bed by 8:30PM. But I would only recommend it if you have enough adults to keep eyes on the kids.