Sunday, August 31, 2014

Rebounderz: Hurst, TX

Now that my children are grown and gone, I generally try to avoid places that attract large herds of kids.  Truthfully, I don't even like to be seated next to children in restaurants lest they end up staring or crying or puking or driving their parents insane.  But, now that I have grandchildren, the tide is turning again and I find myself at places like Rebounderz.

Rebounderz is an "Indoor Trampoline Arena".  My son, who is in his early 20's, posted on Facebook that he had a lot of fun here with friends last time he visited Texas. So, I thought I would take my 5 year old granddaughter here and we could bounce the afternoon away while waiting on my parents to get home from work.
The timing of our visit is somewhat out of my control as I don't live here anymore and am only in town for work.  When that happens, I always work in a visit with Kendall.  I had a theory that since we were going on the last Friday before school starts and after lunch that it wouldn't be crowded.  And that was generally true (although now having been there, I can clearly imagine a weekend afternoon here in all of its hellish glory).  In fact, when we found the trampoline area reserved for those 5 and under there was no one in it.
The bored teenage employees were all in the next "ring" over and seemed put out to have to stop their personal conversation to come over and supervise Kendall & I.  The young man supervising this area says you have to be 5 or under to be in there (which clearly I am not) but he will "make an exception" since he doesn't think she wants to play by herself (Kendall has a bracelet that identifies her age range).  A few minutes later a boy of about 2 climbed in with two girls who are probably 10 or so and their presence in this restricted area is not challenged after the mother explains they are "watching him".
The individual trampolines are small and Kendall quickly grew tired of bouncing from trampoline to trampoline with me and wanted to go over to the "dice pit" as she calls it.
Kendall abandons bouncing and simply races across the trampoline into the pit.
But then she doesn't want to get out.  She wants to crawl around in the pit and starts trying to "find the bottom".  This isn't going to work because other people, including two women who are probably in their 30's, are waiting to jump in (they execute toe touches and other cheerleader style jumps on every turn they take - which was several).
And because Kendall is so small she frequently gets stuck or has difficulty managing the "dice" so the employee manning the pit keeps having to climb in and help Kendall get out.  She also tells me that I can be anywhere Kendall can go, including the ring I was just told I wasn't really supposed to be in.
I had to talk Kendall into trying the basketball area.  After she made the very first shot she basically threw the ball straight up and then covered her head to keep from getting hit.  This ring has just two goals both with the small trampolines you see here.  The other goal is higher but not by much.
Basketball rounds out the only trampoline places Kendall can go as "5 and under":  The one ring, the dice pit and basketball.  Not that many places.  There are other rings for kids of varying ages that have a lot more kids in them.  There are only a few parents/guardians/people like me who accompany the kids around or even in some of the rings but mainly there are moms (and a few dads) sitting around on benches or on the floor glued to their phones and/or tablets while trying to ignore the complete chaos around them.
When you arrive you fill out a waiver on a bank of computers if you haven't done this in advance on the website.  Several of these were having technical problems and some people were just not computer literate so there was an employee running around trying to help out.  After that you pay to jump.  Fees are by the hour and fortunately I only paid for one because she didn't stick with the bouncing for more than maybe 30 minutes.
"Get your purse, Grandma!"  She was "dying of thirst" and "pretty much starving".  I have already heard the starving comment once since I picked her up barely an hour ago.  The purple bracelet will tell them when our time is up (they make a general announcement once an hour over the loud speaker listing the color that's time is up).  The white one is her 5 and under identifier.
Ahhh, much better.  Except for the 6 televisions all playing different kid's stations, the kids running around the snack bar and the blaring rock music being piped across the entire facility.
Kendall is done with the trampolines and wants to move on the arcade which we happily have all to ourselves. 
I watch her play numerous rounds of Fruit Ninja and then this happened:  Jackpot!
Until the machine ran out of tickets.  This girl could not get it working.  Luckily another employee got it fixed and just in time too since we ran the game right next to this out while waiting.
The Grand Total

The Loot:  1 Mystery Dum-Dum, 1 mini slinky in rainbow colors and two horses, one blue and one purple.  "The blue one is for Elsa, Grandma".  If you don't know who Elsa is, you apparently don't know a single child in America.
In my opinion, the trampoline part of this place is targeted to older kids, say 10 and up, or to 20 something boys with the mentality of a 10 year old (yes, you Blake).  The music is too loud, the employees too young and wishing to be anywhere else but at work (or at work but not expected to work).  The price was reasonable for this type of venue.  I spent $14.99 for an hour and the lock, a few dollars on a blue slushy and $10 on tokens which netted us some cheap toys. 
But this is what I really paid for:
Time alone with this girl. 
One day I will be gone or too embarrassing to be seen with in public so I have to take advantage of doing things with her now.  She may not remember the blue horse or the slushy or the dice pit or even remember going to Rebounderz with me someday.  But I hope she remembers that her grandma was there to do fun stuff with once upon a time and wasn't afraid to get in there with her and jump.
Would I ever go back to Rebounderz?  No, not if I can help it.  But then again...I do have 2 other grandkids.

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