PLEASE NOTE: This post was written in 2013, and while it should still give you a good overview of the experience, it is also possible that it may contain some outdated information. Please check their website for the most current information, especially about things like schedules and pricing.
Way back when it was cold outside (remember those days?) and I was looking for fun indoor activities where we could stay warm, I stumbled upon Bounce U’s website and their unique “Preschool Playdate” program. Well, now it’s 90 degrees outside and we’re all looking for ways to stay cool (hello AC!), so I thought this might still be a great option.
Every Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. (two separate sessions), Bounce U reserves its inflatables for the 7 and under crowd. Now, during the school year this might not seem like such a big deal considering that most kids age 5 and up are enrolled in school anyway and not going to bounce arenas. But it’s great news for the summertime and school vacations. Plus, the price of admission includes a small snack and a drink served in a party room at the end of the bounce session.
Another big bonus (and preschooler-friendly feature) is the early start time. Many other local bounce arenas don’t open their doors until 10:00 a.m., so this is a great option if you’ve got little ones who are up early and nap midday.
While this is a drop-in session, they do limit the number of kiddos who can attend. But you can make a reservation so you know you’ll have a spot (this might be especially important if you plan to come with a big group). When we visited, it was still during the school year, so things were pretty quiet. I did call ahead, but was told that reservations are only really necessary during school vacation days.
Some other good things to know: Admission is $10.95/child (parents and non-walking infants are FREE); you can buy a 5 session pass for $45; prices are subject to CT sales tax; children MUST be able to walk to play on the inflatables.
Okay, so now that we’ve gotten some of the nitty-gritty out of the way, let’s take a look at what Bounce U has to offer.
Although it was very easy to get there, finding Bounce U was just a little bit tricky. I feel like these bounce arenas are always located in areas or buildings that don’t seem like they are the kind of places you’d find a kids’ activity. Just keep an eye out for the sign near the road with the street number on it (712 Brook Street).
Bounce U will be in that building on the left as you drive in. There is plenty of parking and even some spots right out front that are reserved for Bounce U patrons.
Once you enter, you can pay at the counter to the left. On the right side you’ll see some arcade games (too advanced for Boo) and a seating area with benches and some vending machines with snacks and drinks.
Once you pay your admission fee, you can head on back to the two bounce rooms. On the day we were there, both rooms were open for Preschool Playdate. However, in chatting with one of the staff members I found out that during the summer Bounce U also runs day camps for older kids, so there is a chance one room may be devoted to the camp while the other is open for Preschool Playdate. The important thing though, is that they keep the groups separate. So you won’t have to worry about your toddler getting inadvertently trampled by any big kids.
Let’s go in! The entrance to the bounce rooms is just past all the arcade games (head toward that bouncing birthday cake and hang a left).
One room is off to your right. That’s where we went to explore first. The first thing I noticed was all the chairs and benches around. I definitely appreciated that!
As for inflatables, there is a big slide, a couple of fully enclosed bounce houses that looked great for little ones, a basketball game, and something in the back left corner that I forgot to take a close look at so I can’t tell you exactly what it is 🙂
In the other room (head straight through another door instead of turning right), we found even bigger inflatables including a giant boxing ring of sorts (complete with giant gloves), an obstacle course, and a huge slide.
There are also plenty of benches and chairs in this room too.
Or this if you prefer 🙂
And an air hockey table, which is probably more for the older crowd.
Boo’s favorite thing was the giant slide in this room. I think we spent 90% of our time on that one.
Look how itty bitty he is all the way up there!
After about an hour and 15 minutes of playtime, one of the staff members came in to announce that snacks were ready in the party room. We had a tough time convincing Boo to leave his beloved slide, but eventually he agreed to go check out the snacks.
Today the snack was animal crackers and juice boxes. The snacks and drinks are already served at the long tables, so just find an open spot and let your little one go to town.
After Boo finished his snack, we decide to head out rather than let him bounce for five more minutes and then have to face another tantrum when we told him it was time to go (again).
Bounce U’s Preschool Playdate is a great way to spend a morning if you’re looking for an indoor activity to beat the heat or get out of the cold. It’s fun, it’s social, and the kiddos really tucker themselves out. Just the way we like it 🙂
712 Brook Street, Rocky Hill, CT 06067
Phone: (860) 529-6500
Get directions here:
Hours & Admission:
Preschool Playdate: Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Click here for the full Open Bounce schedule.
Admission for Preschool Playdate: $10.95 plus tax per child (adults and non-walking infants are FREE)
Tips & Things to Bring:
- According to their website, the inflatables are suitable for children age 3 and up, but walking children under 3 are welcome to bounce (however, it is recommended that an adult be able to accompany them on the inflatables due to the size of the equipment). Not recommended for non-walkers and young toddlers.
- Socks are required to bounce. No shoes allowed on the inflatables.
- You’ll want to dress your little one in long pants and long sleeves if possible to avoid any “burns” from the inflatables, especially the slides. At the very least, dress them in long pants.
- Reservations are suggested for Preschool Playdate, but I was told they are really only necessary for busy times like school vacation days. Although, you may want to consider a reservation if you are meeting several others.
- If you are bringing a group and want to make a reservation: for groups of 6 or larger they ask for a credit card number to secure your reservation. However, they will not charge it until the date you have reserved. Due to the limited space, there will be a $20 charge for group no shows.
- Running late? No worries. You can arrive at any time during the session (9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. OR 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.), although you’ll still pay the full price.
- Small snack (crackers and juice) served at the end of Preschool Playdate.
- Vending machines available in the lobby area.
- Restroom with changing station.
- Check out their birthday parties and kids’ classes too.
Meet Our Sponsors!
- Bright Horizons Early Education and Preschool – Visit their newly renovated center in Glastonbury. Now enrolling infants, toddlers, preschoolers and pre-k children for their fall programs.
- Kathryn Deane Photography – Kathryn is a natural light photographer specializing in maternity, newborn, child, family, and senior portrait photography.
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