Weekend Highlights

Published January 6, 2013
Going Places

A Parent’s Review: Elevated Sportz

by Lynn Schnaiberg
seattle child article photo
seattle child article photo
Photos courtesy of Elevated Sportz.

Our metro area has lots of places to let kids bounce off winter energy on indoor trampoline courts. But I wanted to see if the four-level, 6,300-plus-square-foot soft play structure at Bothell’s Elevated Sportz (which had its grand opening last month) would entertain those beyond the toddler set.

Would the “Kidz Adventure” hold the interest of my 7-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter and their friends? The verdict: mostly yes.

The facility bills the indoor play structure – a kind of human Habitrail maze of tunnels, obstacles, bridges, swings and slides – for walkers to age 12, a huge age range. (From talking to the folks working at the facility, it sounds like most of the older kids shy away from the play area.) When my 4th grade daughter first saw the multicolored play structure, she said: “Ugh, Mom, it’s for little kids.” But once she actually started playing, she had a ball.

My kids and their buddies loved racing down the three side-by-side slides. Also getting top marks: the four-story enclosed spiral slide, a spinning swing (picture a palm tree with eight soft balls hanging down to ride on) and a “globe spinner” that can whip around like a merry-go-round. The mounted air-powered shooters, set up to fire off soft foam balls, weren’t working during our visit over the Seattle Public Schools’ winter break.

Most of the kids we saw in the soft play area were toddlers, who seemed to delight in the ground-floor swings tucked away in a tunnel, the wobbly bridges and the play castle (with smaller-scale features than some of the things my own kids enjoyed). But it seems pretty easy for a little one to get disoriented within the maze-like structure (we saw some tears, prompting a few parents to climb inside).  I saw several staff members monitoring play from the ground, but none inside the tunnels.

For the most relaxed outing with little ones, I’d steer clear of school holidays and weekends when there’s potential overlap with school-age kids. Toddler time – Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to noon – is hugely popular, with see-saws and ride-on cars that are pulled out for small children. Slides that empty into the ball pit are only for kids ages 6 and younger.

As to the jumping, there’s a dodge ball court, basketball slam dunk, a main court (with a small section for kids ages 6 and younger only) and a foam pit (you bounce into it, it’s not for playing in). I saw at least one staff person per jumping area. Generally the trampolines are for ages 3 and older, though younger ones can bounce with parents during toddler time. To my eye, this place seemed more compact than some of the other indoor trampoline places we’ve visited – a plus for trying to keep track of kids.

Parents of teens take note: There’s a dedicated teen night once a month, for ages 13 to 18 only, that features a live D.J., pizza, two hours of jump time and a dodge ball tournament. Ongoing teen dodge ball tournaments are in the works, too. Family and friends night happens on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., where $40 gets you four, one-hour combo tickets, a large pizza and four sodas.

Know before you go: Go online to fill out the electronic waiver to speed your entry once you get to the facility. Kids can wear socks in the soft play area, but on the trampolines it’s bare feet or $2 grip socks sold on site (my son is wearing his as slipper socks around the house now). No outside food or drinks are allowed (I did eye-spy some smuggled toddler snacks).

The main floor has plenty of picnic tables; seating above the café offers a good perch to keep an eye on kids at play (on the trampolines). For now the café is pretty limited to pizza, PB & J, smoothies and some other snacks, though management says they’re retooling the menu to respond to parent feedback for healthier and gluten-free options.

For parents, there’s free Wi-Fi and magazines (they’re considering a real espresso machine for parent happiness, too). The snack bar charges for water, but there’s a free water fountain by the bathrooms. It’s cold inside; many parents sat with their coats on watching kids play.

When we visited there was a small sandwich board sign advertising Elevated Sportz – I drove right past it the first time. It’s tucked away in a larger complex, the first left after you cross 183rd Street Southeast.

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If You Go...

Where: Elevated Sportz, 18311 Bothell Everett Highway #140, Bothell.

When: Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.              

Cost: $8 for two-hour toddler jump and play time (one parent or guardian admitted free) with $6 for each additional sibling or friend younger than 6; $11 for one hour of jumping (must be 3 or older) or 90 minutes of play time; $19 for a combo ticket with two hours of jumping and play time on weekdays. See website for details on add-on time and other specials.

Contact: 425-949-4488; www.elevatedsportz.com.