By Laurie Jo Miller Farr
Urban kids need to let off steam and explore their creative side, too. And when the weather doesn’t allow for a trip to the park, indoor play gyms are the welcome solution for a wide variety of age groups. Some are drop-in classes, others are pre-booked.
House of Air
926 Mason St.
San Francisco, CA
It seems that nobody’s standing still in this place. Giant trampolines are irresistible to kids. At House of Air, they can join the fun in age-appropriate groups from 2.5 years and up. The huge 8,000-square-foot warehouse-like space in the Presidio is popular for birthday parties (that are guaranteed to wear the kids out) and for school breaks and holidays, as well as the 10-week after school courses. Kids follow the USA Gymnastics Trampoline standards and work their way through levels 1-10. Or, they can pursue aerial movement instruction for ski boarders.
3200 California St.
San Francisco, CA 94118
With activities designed for preschoolers to teens, the recreational spaces for kids at the JCC are unparalleled in the city. KinderDance, KinderGym and other Kinder Fun Klub are popular after school activities and Kinder Boogie kicks in from six months. From ages 3 to 5, children can develop basic motor and gymnastics skills in classes featuring tumbling, balance beam, bars, trapeze and obstacle courses. From ages 5 to 9, a progressive gymnastics class develops skills further on the trapeze, rings, uneven parallel bars, inflated tumble track, balance beam and mat. Basketball is another option for team sports in the gym.
2295 Harrison St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
It’s all about the 50-foot wall at San Francisco’s oldest climbing center. Especially for kids: climbing teams, climbing camps, and climbing parties where they’ll be introduced to the basic skills while wearing a harness. Two-hour climbing parties are available for ages 6 to 12. A 10-week class with instructors focuses on the fundamentals of climbing, including belaying, knot craft, basic climbing technique, and bouldering. Hourly private lessons can be arranged for members or non-members starting at age 5. At a sister space, Dogpatch Boulders, the kids area has a bouncy castle and a slide.
639 Frederick St.
San Francisco, CA 94117
Right in the heart of the city near Golden Gate Park, AcroSports is a non-profit circus, gymnastics, and acrobatics center. Toddlers playgroups with parents begin at 10 months and after age 3.5, friendly and knowledgeable coaches take over. Some of the activities include rings, swings, trampoline, trapeze, parkour, and obstacle course as kids gain confidence, strength, and dexterity. From age 6, classes involve gymnastics, tumbling, trampoline, vault, bars, beam, and more. Circus arts and aerial arts can kick in as children grow. There’s also a one-hour open gym for special needs children to enjoy with a parent.
Related: Best Jungle Gyms In San Francisco
Recess Urban Recreation
470 Carolina St.
San Francisco, CA 94107
Recess can be paradise for the under 4’s and their parents because drop-in play fills a gap like no other. More of an indoor play space than a gym (which reflects the age group it’s designed for), Recess has won all kinds of parent magazine awards since opening in 2008. The 3,200-square-foot location in Potrero Hill has open areas for moving and crawling, cozy nooks for reading and relaxing, and a popular pint-sized climbing wall. The gym is often put to use for new and expecting mothers’ fitness classes of yoga and pilates, plus baby and me yoga for pre-crawlers.