Personally, when I got wind that there was someplace a person could literally bounce off the walls, I couldn't entertain the idea of waiting. So when the family headed out this summer to San Francisco, a session at House of Air was the second reservation I made. (If you know me, you can probably guess what the first one was.)
I kept my machinations a secret. All Paul and the boys knew was that on Day 2 of our trip, I was frantically pushing them to ride faster on the bikes we'd rented at Fisherman's Wharf because we had to "be somewhere" in the Presidio by 3 PM. Super annoyed does not describe the tude I was getting from them. Add "confused" to the mix when we rolled up to House of Air and they saw people popping in and out of sight beneath the roof of what looked like (and indeed might well have been) an enormous wall-less airplane hangar. When I walked them in and they spotted the near-endless sea of contiguous trampolines underfoot, their heads nearly spun off their bodies.
We plunked down $16 per person for our hour in the air. Signed waivers, the gist of which was, I believe, that if we broke our necks or ankles, it was our problem. Donned cute little rubber shoes. And headed to the open jumping section, where "air traffic controllers" kept potential mayhem at bay. We joined the ranks of about 30 hoppers of all ages and shapes, ranging from a group of 8-year-old girls popping about one inch in the air to a 20-year-old guy doing flips from an elevated launch pad to a jiggle-bellied Zach Galifianakis lookalike who bounced back and forth across the length of the room in a trancelike state for the entire hour.
Paul and the boys quickly abandoned this scene when they learned that a game of trampoline dodgeball was about to get underway in another massive jumping bin across the way. They never bothered to come back, except to laugh at me as I jumped up and down, up and down, up and down, up and down. "It's great for core strength!," a 22-ish air traffic controller bubbled to me as I bopped along. "You burn the same amount of calories during 10 minutes of trampoline jumping that you do running for a half hour! That's 1000 calories an hour!" she raved.
Maybe. I had broken a sweat by the time the buzzer rang, but I sure didn't feel like I had run my usual route or taken a spin class. I might have gotten more of a workout if I had had taken one of HOA's organized "air conditioning" classes, but perhaps next time. As for joint and bone health, that's even iffier. Already, law firms and orthopedists are doing business with jumpers who have suffered trampoline park injuries ranging from head trauma to dislocated shoulders to broken arms and ankles. One venue in Illinois had 16 ambulance visits within just the first months of doing business.
Paraplegia was hardly on my boys' minds when our hour at House of Air was up. In fact, they declared their rubbery interlude one of, if not, THE highlight of their trip along the California Coast (really? Not Big Sur? Not those 1000 -year-old redwoods? Not Chez Panisse?). And I'll bet that if Chelsea Piers were to open up one of these places, it would become the toast of New York's exercise and kiddie party circuit. At least until someone sued their asses off. In the meantime, if you happen to visit San Francisco, a pitstop at House of Air during a bike ride up to the Golden Gate Bridge might be a risk worth taking. And a decent way to burn off all those California eats.