Parents Guide to Birthday Parties at Bouncy Places

You’ve all been there, or you’ll be going there. The Birthday Party at a Bouncy Place is pretty easily navigated, actually. So consider these advanced tips for maximizing your experience.

OK, so, let’s be clear, we’re not talking about those small places in the corner of the mall with one little bounce thing and a ball pit. I’m talking about these industrial-sized warehouse-housed Bouncy Places with several Huge Bouncy Things, obstacle courses with huge climbs and slides, castles, bouncies with full court basketball hoops, the whole deal.

Big bouncey places make big bank.

Here’s how it works: they shuffle you all into the sign-in/waiting room area and you sign the waiver which must have all sorts of legalese about how they aren’t responsible for your inevitable separated shoulder. You’re sitting there at 2:59 for this 3 o’clock party that cost your friend/cousin/sister like $250 but you’re waiting cuz the Underhill family’s 2 o’clock party is still bouncing around. They paid $300; they have more people and got a different package.

Finally, they let you in, and here’s where, as a parent, just get ready to breathe in not only the stale plastic-meets-sanitizer scent of the place, but also get a big whiff of that pure joy on your kids’ face as he runs, no sprints toward Some Huge Bouncy Thing. Screaming. It’s pretty amazing.

While we’re bouncing, the Underhill party had been shuffled into the Party Room to get the pizza portion of their party package. And so this place is just constantly rotating parties of 25 or so, taking $250/pop, herding us from room to room, blasting us with extreme exhilaration followed by pizza and cupcakes. It’s like a drop-off point for cash. It’s practically money laundering. It’s more like the cocaine trade, just easy money, giving these wonder-seeking little kids the ultimate high of holding the keys to climb as far as they possibly can and jump and tumble down and bounce around and crash into stuff and, basically, just go crazy. It’s like they’re flying.

Soon, the girls in the orange shirts are rounding us up and getting us off the bouncy stuff and over to the cubbies to put our shoes back on and hit the party room.

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