An adult trip to SkyZone

Where I discover that my inner child has mostly grown up

The SkyZone Indoor Trampoline Park in Roswell is an enormous, brightly lit, kid-crawling, crappy-music-playing, frankly un-hygenic-feeling place far from my home in downtown Atlanta, but all I knew was that they offered something called “SkyRobics” in the “BurnZone” which only costs six dollars for your first experience. Here’s the online description: “Did you ever think it was possible to burn up to 1,000 calories per hour, and still have FUN doing it? With SkyRobics, that reality is now a possibility.” See? It’s hard to resist.

Especially if you grew up loving to jump on trampolines, as I did. In fact, when I set foot in the SZITP last night at 6 p.m., I hadn’t jumped on one—much less many, in rapid succession—for years. I was psyched.

As I walked into the cavernous place, which smells faintly of body odor and candy, I was ushered over to a kiosk where I was told to fill out a waiver. Then I was given a pair of “trampoline shoes” and vaguely motioned towards one of the “patented, all-trampoline, walled playing courts” that fill most of the place’s floor space. I passed at least a hundred children, most under twelve, bouncing like crazy as their caretakers boredly watched from bleachers. There was a distinct Chuck E. Cheese’s vibe.

The court I’d been pointed to was full of manic kids, not exercising adults; the sleepy-eyed teenage attendant gave me a shrug. He wasn’t paid enough, apparently, to bother steering me back on course. Fortunately, a buck-toothed ten-year-old—evidently a veteran of the place—volunteered to help. He pointed me to a lonely corner of the building: “That’s where the adults go,” he said, scampering off.

I must admit, at this point, that I’d imagined a svelte group of beautiful women in spandex (which is what the website clearly advertises) bouncing around with me, as we honed our near six-packs and talked about where to get drinks after. Instead, there was Tyler—my energetic young instructor sporting his first mustache—and a trio of nice older ladies who hadn’t worked out in, they quietly admitted, years.

Soon, however, I was sweating harder than they were. After perfunctory stretching exercises, Tyler—who was exceedingly upbeat—had us doing high bounces and leg kicks and “sky jacks” (jumping jacks in the sky of course); most of the familiar exercises incorporated the very bouncy surface below us. We rotated through leg exercises, core exercises, and upper body exercises—like push-ups—that occasionally necessitated using the more stable surface between each of the trampolines. My favorite part was speed-hopping around, from trampoline to trampoline, like a video game character. My least favorite part was doing sit-ups on a surface that didn’t look terribly clean, without towels. (They don’t provide any.)

As we took water breaks, Tyler showed us advanced moves—standing back flips, side flips, and incredibly high bounces incorporating the sidewall trampolines. His background, he said, was cheerleading. It was slightly frightening to watch, as I kept expecting him (or one of the kids nearby emulating him) to break a neck.

After forty-five minutes or so, Tyler pointed with raised eyebrows and a smile towards a nearby ball-pit where young kids gleefully wallowed. “Is it time?” he said. The one lady who’d done this before looked uneasy. A moment later, I bounced into the pool-size pit full of foam cubes. The goal was to “swim” through the stuff, tag a far wall, and come back. I did it, with surprising difficulty. The uneasy lady, however, got stuck. Tyler and I helped pull her out. Then class was over. I felt slightly unclean, but exhausted. For the money, it’s a good workout. But I would have enjoyed dimmer lights, better music, and an area truly set apart for adults.