Indoor Adventure Parks…For Adults?

With the success of the NBC TV show American Ninja Warrior, complexes called indoor adventure/trampoline parks have been popping up across the country. I’m a big fan of things like this, and have been for years. When I was younger we would go to Bonkers, which was kind of like Chuck E. Cheese but for slightly older kids. It had arcade games, rides and a giant maze you could crawl and climb through, which was by far my favorite part. I loved to see how fast I could get to the top and to seek out corners of the maze where no one else went. This type of physical fun has been high on my list for a while.

So on a recent rainy Saturday, we decided to check out the nearby adventure park, Zava Zone. One ticket got you one hour of whatever you wanted to do, and there were quite a lot of choices—a low ropes course, a high ropes course, a parkour course and a trampoline park, to name a few. We had to make a reservation in advance, and we made one for 11:30, which was the earliest time available. This turned out to be because they were having a private event in the morning, so that was the first time available for the public, to which I will say this: if you want to go to one of these places, go first thing in the morning. The place was absolutely flooded with kids, and I imagine would have been even more so if we hadn’t been the first reservation time of the day. So that was our first stroke of luck, and our second was the guy at the desk who checked us in and suggested that we start on the high ropes course, for which you needed an additional ticket (for no additional cost) for a specific time. This was the main attraction we had come to see, so we took his advice and headed up. This is the high ropes course:

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They give you a harness, show you how to connect it to the cords, then you move all around the course trying out the different obstacles. Yes that is a ball pit back there, and it was harder to get through than you’d think. This is how high it was off the ground:

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But back to our luck: We were the first ones on the course and it stayed that way for probably 15 minutes until we were joined by two kids. Because there weren’t many of us, the teenage employees who were supposed to be keeping track of time weren’t really, so we were up there for a good 40 minutes before we volunteered to get off so we could try out some of the other attractions. But this was really fun and challenging—I broke a sweat trying to traverse some of the obstacles, and there were some I didn’t even try because I couldn’t figure out how to do them. The hardest one was probably the giant bags of balls (you can see the smaller ones that were in the low ropes course in the photo above), where you literally had to cling to one bag, wedge your toes between the balls, and climb across from one bag to the next to reach the other side.

When we finally got off the course, we didn’t have much time left, so we took a quick run through the parkour course. This is basically a bigger version of the lava game we played in elementary school P.E. where you had to jump from object to object without touching the ground—plus the kid (everyone working here was pretty young) manning this course timed you, so it was a fun little competition that unfortunately, I lost.

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About half the space was dedicated to the trampoline park, which had trampoline dodge ball, trampoline basketball, and some other things. While this looked fun in theory, we didn’t make it over there, partly because we forgot to buy the special socks needed for the trampolines (they were $2 each), and partly because this would have probably required actual interaction with the kids, which would have stunted our fun a bit.

My final verdict: Adults can definitely have fun and be challenged at these places. There are going to be tons of kids around no matter when you go, but if you take the day’s first reservation you might be able to avoid that for at least a little while. While we were there I thought I saw a sign or a flyer for an adults only night, but I wasn’t able to find any info on the website. So Zava Zone, if this isn’t a thing, you should totally make it one.

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