Photo by Ethan Dial
By Claire Thompson and Ethan Dial, staff writers
Walking into Altitude, the new trampoline park in west Little rock, on a typical Thursday afternoon, the first thing that hit us was the overwhelming stench of sweaty children and the pungent smell of stinky feet. As soon as we overcame the scent of the place, our anticipation to jump overtook our easily amused teenage minds and all traces of common sense flew out the glass doors we had first entered.
It was only after we had thrown our backpacks down and excitedly kicked off shoes, running straight for the trampolines that we realized that in order to jump we first needed to sign our lives away.
As quickly as we had started our adventures, before we even knew what was happening, angry teenagers in bright orange shirts came hurling towards us, their loud and high pitched whistles deafening us. And in that moment, we realized that our day of fun might be a little more restricted than our minds had imagined. Why were they blowing their whistles? We had no idea until they said “Stand up!” Soon we realized that we were not allowed to sit on the trampolines or jump together on one trampoline.
Rules, Rules, Rules.
Obviously, some rules (like previously mentioned) are meant to be broken. Others are set in place for a reason. In some cases, rules have to be strictly enforced to keep the peace and safety of people. But these rules may be enforced a little too strictly. Part of having fun is breaking the rules. Unless, there’s no way to break them in your area of confinement patrolled by neon shirted, sleep deprived, barefooted drill sergeants.
For example, some of the more ridiculous rules include the “not sitting on the trampolines”. Sorry we got a little tired. Oops. We’ll be sure not to get tired next time, maybe we should have been in better jumping shape, gosh.
Also, “no double bouncing”. I’m serious, like no jumping on the same squared trampoline with your pals. And our loneliness continues. No entering the kids section. We tried the excuse that we’re really five at heart, but they wouldn’t take it. So now, no dodge ball for us out of fear that the mob of angry gigantically grown men towering above our heads might just attack and not miss. Their merciless looks and fearful biceps sent us fleeing away from the grownup section. Back to our originally claimed corner. But of course, on separate trampolines.
After energetically jumping for a while and being slightly disappointed in the rules we had been following, we jumped up onto a huge orange block serving as a platform and lookout nest for the orange shirted menaces to take a break. Here, after realizing this is a place we can sit, we got the chance to ask a nicer employee what was up.
“You’d be surprised, but most accidents that occur here happen when kids double jump. Nothing major, but twisted ankles, hurt knees, stuff you don’t want,” he informed us.
As we looked around, we noticed many signs saying that shoes weren’t allowed, so we asked how gross this place really was. It seems that a place like this, with sweaty men and children and shoeless teenagers, is the perfect place for foot funguses and parasites to grow and spread like wildfire.
“Haven’t caught a fungus yet, but one thing I will say, is that we were patrolling the trampolines one day and someone had pooped straight onto the trampolines. I’m not kidding. And we had no idea who it was or where it had come from. My coworker had to clear the trampolines and clean,” the tired staffer said, “other than that I’ve only heard rumors. The foam pit in the kids section is horrendous and the smell is unbearable. But we clean the trampolines every day at closing, and most people wear socks.”
Twelve dollars and an hour of our lives later, we each left the place unscathed. With just a scratch as a battle scar, we left our twelve-year-old selves back in child paradise and headed back to the real world.
Although you could find a friend with a back yard trampoline and jump your heart out for free any day, Altitude Trampoline Park is worth the while for the experience. Now it’s your turn, are you up for the adventure?