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Inflatable playground owner pumped up for kids
by Jessica Garcia
Apr 24, 2008 | 1522 views | 2 2 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune/Tony Contini - Kevin Simmons co-owns Pump it Up, "The Inflatable Party Zone," with his wife Michelle. They will be having their first party on Saturday.
Tribune/Tony Contini - Kevin Simmons co-owns Pump it Up, "The Inflatable Party Zone," with his wife Michelle. They will be having their first party on Saturday.
Local parents seeking a way to help their kids blow off some energy will soon have a new option on Glendale Avenue.

Pump It Up, a warehouse turned lofty playground for vivacious kids, opens on Saturday with a private party. The grand opening is planned for June 1.

Pump It Up offers a bright environment for pre-kindergarten tykes to preteens to bounce, slide, climb and jump on six inflatable custom bounce houses, slides, obstacle courses and basketball and jousting areas.

“What better business than one that revolves around having fun?” said co-owner Michelle Simmons, who is starting the business with husband, Kevin.

Simmons worked as a Channel 2 news producer 10 years ago and also was a Realtor. Kevin worked as a photographer. While they enjoyed their careers, they fell in love with the atmosphere Pump It Up provides for children.

The Simmonses chose Sparks for their location after attending a family event at another Pump It Up, which is one of the country’s largest franchises of giant, indoor playgrounds.

“We went to my niece’s birthday party at Pump It Up and we thought it was the most amazing place we’d ever gone to,” Simmons said. “We hadn’t seen anything like it.”

The inflatable playground can cater to birthday parties, pop-in play times and other special events. A two-hour private party from Mondays to Thursdays costs $215 and from Fridays to Sundays costs $255. The time allows for 80 minutes of play time and 40 minutes in the party room. The package covers 25 guests, although parties can pay $10 for each additional guest.

For pop-in playtime, admission for pre-kindergarteners is $6 per child and $4 per sibling and hours are Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and Wednesday from 3:30 to 5 p.m. For elementary students ages 7 to 10, hours are Wednesdays from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at $6 per child and $4 per sibling. Parents are free.

Parents of children who come to play must sign a waiver releasing Pump It Up from liability should any injuries be sustained. Although Simmons said the age requirement is very loose from 3 to 13 years old, it really depends on their height. Guests must be taller than 34 inches to play.

After waivers are submitted for first-time visitors, the Pump It Up staff is prepared to educate children on proper behavior.

“We bring them into a safety area and show a video that can run three to five minutes,” Simmons said. “If there are bigger kids who want to joust and box, the video is a little longer to show them how to use jousting poles and boxing gloves.”

Simmons said kids are bursting with energy from the get-go when they enter the lobby. After the video, they are directed to the first arena that has three of the six bounce houses.

The Octagon, for example, has an inflated mushroom area in the center of its eight walls for kids to climb. An obstacle course, called the Gauntlet, allows two teams of kids to crawl and bounce while competing against another team. A basketball arena has inflatable rims.

“Of course, you can’t hang off of them,” Simmons said with a smile.

After spending 40 minutes in Arena A, they go on to Arena B with three more huge inflatables waiting for them and an air hockey table and other smaller toys for toddlers. The 80 minutes worth of play time leaves kids hungry, so Simmons and her staff then escort the group into the party room for snacks or birthday cake, depending on the occasion. An inflatable throne is set up to seat the guest of honor with their own table and a place to open gifts.

All inflatables are anchored to the ground, part of the franchise’s required safety measures to prevent injury.

“We have very strict regulations from anchoring to the floor to how many kids we can have on an inflatable at one time,” Simmons said.

Just in case, Simmons said, first aid kit is required to be on hand at all times.

Pump It Up offers more than 175 locations in the U.S.

Simmons, who has a 3-year-old, is ready to welcome fun-loving kids, whom she hopes will receive Pump It Up with excitement. She’s confident kids will love it based on her own daughter’s experience.

“She’s been here with us testing it out and having fun,” Simmons said. “We want people to know we’re here and we’re active members of the community to help with special events.”

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Comments-icon Post a Comment
May 14, 2008
This is a large indoor play area for kids. It is filled with inflatable play structures. My 3 year old loved playing at Pump It Up. Would recommend it to anyone.
Grandpa Mike
April 28, 2008

Just what Sparks needs!
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