Fly Into the Stratosphere at Aero Trampoline Park

 

aeroA new trampoline park has emerged in Woonsocket, and this one will send everyone into the stratosphere, figuratively if not literally. Aero, located at 1500 Diamond Hill Rd. in the Walnut Hill Plaza, has several features that I haven’t seen at the other trampoline parks. The first of these features is a fencing area called Battle Beam, which consists of two wide beams secured  over a huge pit of foam. Armed with foam faux weapons that vaguely resemble swords, two people stand on a beam and try to knock each off into the pit. I figured I didn’t stand a chance of winning a fencing match against anyone, ever, but when I took my daughter and six of her fifth-grade friends to Aero on a glow-in-the-dark Sunday night, they loved it.

In addition to Battle Beam and the standard huge trampoline divided into squares for individual people, Aero also has two other foam pits. One of them is beneath a 6-foot-high platform, from which you can leap, jump or bellyflop into the foam below. The other is adjacent to a large trampoline that is separate from the main area, from which you can jump or flip directly into the pit. My crew loved the platform; they looked positively gleeful when they spotted it, and all seven of them took a number of jumps into the foam below.

The rock wall isn’t open yet, but the slacklines are. Unobtrusive and several steps away from the main jumping area, two slacklines allow participants to practice what appears to resemble tightrope-walking a mere two feet off the floor. The slacklines are about an inch-and-a-half wide and are a great alternative to jumping if you need to lower your heart rate for a while, (or if you’re considering a stint as an acrobat).

And then there’s the Wipeout Machine. Picture the hand of an analogue clock moving smoothly from one number to the next at a rate significantly faster than one second at a time; now, make the hand an enormous foam arm and the numbers trampoline squares with people jumping on them. As the arm comes around and passes your square, you have to either jump over it or duck under it. The good news is that if you fail to do either on time, it doesn’t hurt when you get wiped out.

The main jumping area has the usual squares and slides (where the trampoline anchors to the wall), but Aero’s also has two long rectangles, which are called tumble tracks in gymnastics lingo. Gymnasts use tumble tracks to practice floor and vault routines. The space afforded by the longer track (as opposed to a square) allows whoever is on it to get a running start before hurling his or her body into the air. I know this because my daughter is a gymnast, and she was thrilled to discover the running tracks at Aero. Apparently a tumble track for a gymnast is similar to an amplifier for a musician; it takes the whole experience up several notches.

Conveniently, there are virtually no walls in Aero’s 40,000 square-foot space. See-through nets and half-walls delineate the various areas, including the main jumping pad, Battle Beam, the foam pits, the rockwall, the dodgeball and toddler courts and the Wipeout Machine. This means that if you bring seven kids with you – or 17 or 27 — you can see all of them all the time, even on Sunday glow nights. (The textured socks required for jumping glow in the dark, and there are glow-in-the-dark tee-shirts available for purchase). The entire facility is very clean, with a section of tables and chairs for non-jumpers, as well as a small arcade. Best of all, I asked the young woman who checked us in about fitness classes, and she said they’re coming soon. I hope no one thought that trampoline parks are just for kids; my friends and I are semi-regulars on the local trampoline scene, and we have found that an hour of jumping burns approximately one million calories. We comprise a wide range of athletic ability (or lack thereof), shapes, sizes and ages, and we always have a great time. It’s so much fun that our kids can sense our enthusiasm and aren’t even embarrassed by our jumping.

Aero Trampoline Park, 1500 Diamond Hill Rd. Woonsocket. 401-762-2000; aerotrampolineparkri.com

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