Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Toddler Outing: Rockin' Tots at Rockin' Jump (San Jose)

For months and months, friends have been extolling the virtues of the Rockin' Tots program at Rockin' Jump trampoline park in San Jose, and I've been dying to try it. However, with their only weekday offerings being Tuesday and Wednesday mornings -- both of which are usually booked for us -- we hadn't had a chance to visit. We woke up this morning to a rare open Tuesday, so to Rockin' Tots we went -- and boy, did we have a blast!

Here's what we found:
  • Location/ParkingRockin' Jump is a huge, indoor trampoline park located on Monterey Road in San Jose, a few miles off Highway 87 at the Alma Road exit. There is plenty of parking in front of the building.
  • Hours: Rockin' Jump offers Open Jump (all ages) on Monday-Thursday from 3:00-8:00 p.m., on Friday from 3:00-9:00 p.m., on Saturday from 11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m., and on Sunday from 11:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.

    However, with a toddler or young child, you'll no doubt have a much better experience if you stick to the Rockin' Tots hours: Tuesday and Wednesday, 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m., and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. More on Rockin' Tots below...
  • Admission Prices: During the Open Jump times listed above, admission is $12 per person for 60 minutes of jump time, and $20 for 120 minutes. During Rockin' Tots, however, the cost is $15 for 120 minutes of jump time, and includes one adult and one child (6 and under); additional children are $3. I didn't ask about additional adults (e.g., bringing grandma along) -- I'm not sure how they would handle that.
  • Registration Procedures: Before anyone can jump at the facility, they must have a signed waiver on file. You can fill out the waiver online in advance, or you can fill it out on the computers near the door when you arrive. Fill out your information, then add your child(ren). You won't be able to check in and pay until the waiver has been electronically signed.

    As you register, you'll also have to purchase special "Rockin' Socks" for you (if you'll be getting on the trampolines -- and I guarantee you that you will be!) and your child. They're super grippy for trampoline safety, and at $2/pair are a worthwhile one-time investment (you can use them at all future visits -- I'm going to keep ours in my car so I don't forget).
  • The Facility: Wow! I had no idea what to expect on this front, and I was definitely impressed. I've been to a couple of different bounce house places, but this was my first time at a trampoline park, and it was so, so cool!
    On the ground level, with the registration area, there are three party rooms, some vending machines (drinks and Dippin' Dots), and a whole bunch of tables for enjoying a snack (you can bring your own food). There are also several leather couches facing a wall of flat-screen tv's (kind of random) and four of those electric massage chairs you see at the mall (even more so!).

    Just past registration, there is a bank of lockers and cubbies. The lockers are FREE -- how nice is that? You can't really transport much gear while you're jumping with your toddler -- and I guarantee you, if you have a fun bone in your body and no medical restrictions, you'll want to jump! -- so it's great to have somewhere to lock everything away. The lockers take a second to figure out, but once you do, they're super easy and convenient -- I grabbed stuff out of my bag multiple times during our visit and loved that I didn't have to worry about things as I hopped.

    My first impression was that everything was spotless and looked new and well-maintained. The bathrooms reminded me of a hotel or restaurant bathroom, rather than a kids' amusement place. Bizarrely, there was no soap at the bathroom sinks or at the sink near the vending machine area, but fortunately there were multiple hand sanitizer dispensers instead.

    You walk up a short staircase to the jumping floor, and wow!

    The jumping level is divided into four distinct "rooms" of sorts. To your left is the "classic" trampoline park room, pictured above -- 12+ trampolines side-by-side, covering the whole bottom of the area and extending up the sides. Each trampoline is basically an island, so if someone is jumping on the trampoline next door to yours, you don't feel any of their bounce. This is great with little kids, of course -- the more you separate small children on big trampolines, the less likely anyone is to get hurt. One corner of that room is set aside for kids 6 and under at all times, but for Rockin' Tots, the whole place belongs to the little ones!

    Action shot, iPhone style
    Across from that "room" is the massive foam pit, with three trampolines lined up to allow for a nice launch. That foam pit is no joke! It is deep as can be -- seriously, I couldn't feel the bottom! -- and densely packed. It was legitimately hard to move around in, and sort of tough to get out of. If you get at all claustrophobic, I might recommend staying on the edge. Toddler X, of course, loved it. :) My big advice for the foam pit: hold onto those special Rockin' Socks you just paid $2 for! The foam is grippy, the socks are grippy, it's just a matter of time until one falls off, and I'm fairly certain that when things fall into that foam pit, they're not found for like 100 years.

    Next to the foam pit is another "classic" trampoline park room, but with a twist: soft yellow balls are spread out everywhere, because this is the dodge ball room! Lots of fun for toddlers to roll and throw, but probably best for them not to aim at each other. I personally am not a fan of the dodge ball room -- on two separate occasions, I came down on a ball when jumping and nearly twisted my ankle badly, so be aware of that (it didn't seem to be a problem for the kids).

    The final room is the basketball court, with a trampoline for each half court leading up to a padded (and lowered, for Rockin' Tots) dunk-ready basketball hoop. Toddler X loved this room.
  • Rockin' Tots, Specifically. Rockin' Tots is the 6 hours each week when Rockin' Jump is limited to kids under 6 and their parents. During that time, toddlers and preschoolers have the run of the place, and can use all four of the rooms. When we visited this morning, we saw only about 10 families during the hour and a half we were there (I can imagine it would be more busy for the Saturday hours, though the early start time might deter some me). With such small jumpers and such a large facility, needless to say, there was ample room for everyone. There were a couple of boys present who were maybe 5 years old, but the rest were 4 and under, and it was a very safe environment for toddlers.

    I would NOT recommend going with a toddler or preschooler during normal Open Jump hours. During those times, one corner of the main trampoline room is reserved for kids under 6, but it's not too big, not too exciting (compared to the foam pit, dodgeball and basketball), and to get there, you actually have to pass some of the room's other trampolines (and, presumably during busy hours, other trampoliners). I can't see an adventurous toddler being happy for long in the little cordoned off area, and outside the area would definitely NOT be safe for a little one when groups of mixed ages are present. I can also see the foam pit as being very dangerous for toddlers during Open Jump, and obviously the dodgeball and basketball courts would be out of the question.

    In other words, if you have a child under 6, stick to Rockin' Tots for a fun, safe (or as safe as you can be when hopping on large trampolines!) adventure.
  • Last thought...Rockin' Jump is a great opportunity to be active -- really, really active! -- with your kids! I'll occasionally climb in a bouncy house with Toddler X and hop around a bit (the big one at Silver Creek Sportsplex is pretty fun), but for sheer enjoyment, a bounce house doesn't even begin to compare to getting big air on these trampolines! Wear athletic gear and treat it as a workout -- it was the most fun I've had doing cardio in a long time!
Overall, we had a wonderful time at Rockin' Tots and will definitely be back next time we find ourselves with an open Tuesday or Wednesday morning. (The Saturday hours are too early for me!) It's definitely worth checking out!

See ya later!

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