Yesterday I took my kids to Pump It Up during Pop-In Playtime hours. I bought a Groupon deal recently for 4 admissions for the price of 2 for kids during open play times (these deals have been offered a few times a year), and because I know my kids love play places, I knew it would be a hit. (See my review of the Monkey Place in White Bear Lake for another fun inflatable play place!)
There are several Pump It Up locations around the Twin Cities area. We went to the Pump It Up location in Ham Lake. Like the other Pump It Up locations, they offer several pop-in playtimes during the week. We went Monday morning from 10:00am-Noon. I like that this time is only for kids ages 6 and under. There were several little toddlers including Thor, my 2-year-old, so it’s much less overwhelming for them during this time. There are also special events offered depending on the time of year. They even have “parents night out” events so that parents can drop off their (potty-trained) kids in the evening for 2 hours and spend some time alone!
There were several inflatable play structures as well as a variety of floor toys like hula hoops and little cars to play in. There was also a “hurricane” machine (to stand in and get wind blown on you for $2.00) and an ice hockey machine (also for extra $$). My kids’ favorite inflatable was the big slide. Thor was hesitant at first, but I carried him up to the top and went down the slide with him. He LOVED it and for the next 20 minutes or so, kept saying “Again! Again!” The first few times he insisted on me going with him, then he soon forgot about me and was going on it with Heidi and then by himself.
There was a round inflatable for bouncing in, and another one with an obstacle course that takes you to the back, where you climb up to a slide at the end. I went through it once (so did some other parents!) but I think once was enough (I felt a little big for it). I preferred joining my kids on the other inflatables. I actually broke a sweat and got a good workout from all the climbing and bouncing around!
Just a note – the inflatables are clearly designed for the kids, but as I did, the parents can join in on the fun. Most parents and grandparents sit on the benches provided and watch.
We bounced around and played together for about an hour. That’s about how much the kids needed until they started getting cranky. You can bring in your own food and eat it in the party room during open play times, though we just went to a pizza buffet afterward (I had a coupon!).
Birthday parties are definitely worth it here. A couple of years ago, my daughter Heidi was invited to a Pump It Up birthday party in Plymouth, and I thought it was fabulous. I think every kid that was invited to the party attended – Pump It Up parties are always popular! No wonder – everything was so organized and well coordinated. The kids played for a certain amount of time, with staff there to supervise for safety (along with the parents, of course), then they moved them to the next room (some Pump It Up locations have more than one play room, like the one in Plymouth, MN). Then they move the kids to the party room where everything is ready. They start with the pizza and birthday cake, then end with presents. When the presents are opened and your time is up, they move you out fast so they can clean up and get the room ready for the next party. There’s so much going on and it moves so quickly that there’s no time for kids to goof off or get bored.
When you book a party, either on a weekday or a weekend, your group gets the whole play area for yourselves (or one of two play rooms if the site is bigger). They also offer party supplies and food if you choose. Costs are reasonable considering what you get. A classic 1-1/2 hour party for up to 15 kids on a weekend is $225 (it’s $135-235 on weekdays). Prices go up depending on the number of kids and party features.
They offer Adventure Parties with different themes: Pirate Quest, SuperHero Training Camp, and Go Glow, for only $1.50 extra per child. Check out their website for details.