Going to a trampoline park requires a leap of faith.
Especially if you're a grown-up. I felt funny, heading for Get Air Buffalo Trampoline Park in Cheektowaga. I had bounced on trampolines before, if not exactly recently. A friend had a trampoline, and I had a great time bouncing on it with her little kids.
But isn't that who trampolines are for? Kids?
Well, I told myself, I didn't have to do trampoline dodge ball or basketball or rock climbing, all amenities that Get Air offered. I didn't have to slide down the slide into the pool of big soft foam cubes. I could just bounce.
Ready to take that leap? Put on active wear, something you can move freely in, but nothing loose that will fly around. No need to worry about what's on your feet. You will be issued textured jump socks. They're yours to keep and reuse.
The hard part was signing the waiver. One clause was headlined, "Covenant Not To Sue." After that I decided I wouldn't read any more.
Get Air, barely visible from the street, is bigger than you think. I went for the simple open jumping area -- what looked like an acre of trampolines, connected to each other with colorful walkways between. I began to bounce.
Immediately, it felt great. My stressful day vanished. On a trampoline, you feel light and free. Especially here, where there was no danger of missing the trampoline on the way down, or landing too close to the edge.
Getting bolder, I tried a few modest tricks. You can land on your fanny, then bounce onto your feet. Land on your knees, then bounce onto your feet. Whee! Fun!
The sound system was playing the kind of pop songs you hear at the gym. Five or six songs had passed when two 10-year-olds showed up, bouncing with me. Their names were Lucille Fischer, Lucy for short, and Harper Fundalinski. They were here with Harper's mom, Erin. Erin and Harper were expats, visiting from Colorado.
These kids were great. They loved the park and sort of adopted me, wanting to introduce me to every bit of it. We did target shooting. You take a big bow and arrow and aim at targets held up whimsically by air. Nearby are a group of punching bags you can try to climb. Or not. The kids preferred simply throwing themselves onto the deeply squishy floor, which they called "the butter." I agreed.
Balance beams were a challenge. But when you fell you fell into the butter -- aaahhh. I also joined Lucy, Harper and another kid for a game of dodge ball -- in this context the world's safest sport. And yes, I jumped into those foam cubes. It felt crazy, floundering around in them, trying to walk. I asked a staffer, Brandon, how many people lose their jump socks in there. He rolled his eyes. "A lot."
Two hours later, leaving reluctantly, I had just one regret. It was a weekday afternoon, not crowded at all, but almost all the adults were just standing around, watching their kids. That was too bad. The place is supervised. The staff is helpful. It's a great workout. Jump in!
Harper's mom, Erin, said that she had just had a massage, otherwise she would have done just that.
She said, "You feel like a kid again."
Where: Get Air Buffalo Trampoline Park, 3637 Union Road in the Union Road Plaza; 205-3794.
When: 10 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
Cost: $14 an hour, each additional hour $8; kids less. Jump socks $3.
Tip: Watch for discounts on sites such as Groupon.