Trampoline parks gaining bounce in South Florida

Indoor trampoline parks are gaining altitude across South Florida, as people are jumping to try them out.

Off the Wall Trampoline Fun Center in Coconut Creek opened April 28 in a former Publix and joins two parks that began business last year: Planet Air Sports in Deerfield Beach and Sky Zone in Doral. Another Sky Zone should be popping up in Pompano Beach by year's end.

"It's good exercise, it's something I can do with my son, and it's just fun to bounce," said Fabian Kleyman, of Hollywood, before his 5-year-old son, Jonathan, tugged on his hand to keep the pair bouncing at Off the Wall.

Nationwide, about 140 trampoline centers have opened in the past few years, and they've drawn interest from celebrities, including the Jonas Brothers, David Beckham, even troubled Amanda Bynes, who on May 29 made news when she ditched New York City for a bounce-away in Buffalo.


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The idea of a trampoline park started back in 2004 when Sky Zone tried to form a sport in Las Vegas that was a combination of basketball and football — played on trampolines.

"The sport didn't work out, but everyone who came and saw it wanted to try bouncing on the trampolines for themselves, and Sky Zone quickly realized they had a different business on their hands," said Juan Brandt, who has the franchise rights to the Miami-Dade County Sky Zone.

The trampoline parks have a bouncy area with padded walls for visitors to launch themselves, a smaller trampoline area with basketball hoops for those who want to dunk like LeBron James and play trampoline dodgeball. Most have arcade games, plenty of birthday party rooms, a snack bar and quiet place for parents to hang out.

"I remember being a kid and you'd be out all day; you'd leave and ride your bike until you were called in and night," Brandt said. "This forces [kids] to disconnect for at least an hour."

While trampoline park visitors are mostly children and teens, adults have fun, too, Brandt noted.

"It's not just like an upgraded bounce house," he said.

Fans include Alicia Ramcharran-Black, 31, who takes a trampoline aerobics class at Sky Zone. The Miramar resident, who's "very active" with kickboxing and stationary cycling, said an hour of jumping while engaging her core to keep her balance provides a medium- to high-intensity workout.

"I've brought friends with me to try it, and they've had to sit out part of the class," she said.

But the word "trampoline" can scare quite a few folks, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, which broke down statistics on trampoline injuries from 2004-09. Afterward, the academy issued a policy statement last year noting that most trampoline injuries occur with multiple simultaneous users on the mat, adding that cervical spine injuries often occur with falls off the trampoline or with attempts at somersaults or flips.

However, the report, which was released in September 2012, differentiated between home trampolines, which have been around for decades, and trampoline parks, which are new and so far have shown no unusual injury data, the study noted.

"Therefore, the home use of trampolines is strongly discouraged," the study concluded.

Off the Wall owner Ervin Mendel says most of the injuries are sprained ankles and knees.

"Yes, you can get injured here. But people come here because they want to jump," he said. He adds that the trampoline parks, which have constant supervision, are much safer than backyard trampolines because they are enclosed by padded walls.

"You can't fall off of a trampoline here," Mendel said.

On a recent Saturday, Elmydalys Morales and her boyfriend took her three nephews to Off the Wall, where the boys, ages 6, 12 and 14, wore themselves out sprinting across the trampoline and trying to either flip or launch themselves off the walls.

"It's a low-budget day," said Morales of North Lauderdale, who says they've visited about five times.

And for this story, that's as good a jumping-off point as any…

NSortal@SouthFlorida.com

If you go

The trampoline parks charge $12 to $20 for an hour of open jumping, and extra for features such as zip lining, rope climbing and laser tag. All of the parks also host birthday parties, corporate outings and other events. Visitors must sign a waiver.

Off The Wall Trampoline Fun Center: 4939 Coconut Creek Parkway, Coconut Creek; 954-973-3031, OffTheWallFl.com

Planet Air Sports, 1401 Green Road, Deerfield Beach; 954-428-3386, PlanetAirSports.com

Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park, 5450 NW 82nd Ave., Doral; 305-640-5424, SkyZone.com