Mouse is going through a “lively” stage at the moment, by which I mean she has selective hearing, a Teflon guard towards discipline, and a blatant disregard for instruction. As for me, I’m going through a “flagging immune system” stage, and have lost my voice. Can you think of a better activity to unite these two afflictions than an hour spent in public… where excitement, noise and sweat combine to create a potent cocktail of fishwife parenting?
Me neither. And so it was that the four of us tried out the fairly new Oxygen Freejumping park in Southampton. It’s essentially a massive hall of various interconnecting trampolines, with some specialist sections for wall climbing and obstacle courses. We were invited to go along to their Little O’s Christmas Party event, which is one of the special festive activities available throughout December.
On arrival, we were checked in and given some special Santa socks with gripper dots. We offloaded our various baby / toddler paraphernalia into the free lockers and assembled for a quick briefing video, which told us what we could do (jump jump jump), and what we couldn’t (lay down in the middle of the trampoline). I KNEW Mouse would be getting a raspy, squeaky bollocking from me at some point but meh, c’est la vie.
My poor throat. Moo’s poor tired eyes.
Little O’s sessions are aimed at the under fives, and although I was a bit dubious about rocking up with my 10 month old (yeahIknowhowdidthathappen), Moo got right in on the action.
Check the socks! Family sock quads…
We went in and immediately launched ourselves into an area that was chaperoned by a, er, festive pirate. Mouse can be a bit of a wet blanket sometimes with new activities but she was well away, throwing balls at said pirate and leaping from one trampoline to the next better than I could.
Christmas music was blasting out, and while there were lots of families there, there’s so much usable space that it didn’t feel crowded at all.
(I’m a crappy vlogger, sorry. Memo to self: ALWAYS HOLD YOUR PHONE LANDSCAPE!)
We tried out the largest section, which has a good 50m stretch of trampolines to run and bounce across.
While I let Daddy supervise Mouse, I eyeballed a fitness class taking place in one of the smaller areas. I’d assumed that the park was just for kids to come and piss about, basically, but trampolining is actually a superb form of resistance exercise and I’d definitely try out some of the classes. One of the ladies taking part looked like she had abs of steel so there we go, short term goals. I also clocked a “quiet zone” for autism and disability friendly peaceful play, which is brilliant to see. I have friends with autistic children and I know that a place like this could seem like sensory overload, but it’s so important to provide accessible activities to everyone where they’re managed considerately.
After an hour of bouncing (and only three instances of my squeaky, largely ignored hollers of discipline), it was time to get our land legs back and go to meet Father Christmas. Now, Mouse really is a twat when it comes to the big man, and put up a Grade 1 level of resistance as we carted her into his grotto. However, he talked her around and by the end of our visit she was giving him her life story. The only minor beef I had is that he pretty much said “Yes, little girl, of course I’ll bring you a pedal bike for Christmas.” I have it on fairly good authority that he IS bringing her one (please Christ no-one break into my garden shed in the next week) but a little good behaviour caveat would have gone down a storm, cheers buddy.
I was so dedicated to the “please speak to Father Christmas and don’t cry” cajoling that I didn’t take a photo of the grotto, oops. So here’s another one of the festive gripper socks which I seem to have an unnatural level of enthusiasm for.
Each of the girls were given a little goodie bag and there were some arty activities to do as well, but in all the excitement Moo had let out one of her finest room-clearing poos and so we retrieved our crap from the lockers and went home happy (notwithstanding THE MOST STRESSFUL trip to Lidl ever, but that’s not for here).
Oxygen Freejumping have eight parks across the UK with a range of special offers and party packages. Although sessions are only an hour, in reality this is plenty as it’s quite energetic and full on. There’s a very nice and clean cafe area with lunchbox deals (and MULLED WINE!!! But I just couldn’t, at 11am. Boo hiss) so a visit can easily be eked out for a couple of hours.
Take a look at their site to see if they have a park near you, and what activities are running over the Christmas holidays.
-SJW December 2016
Disclosure: My family of four received complimentary tickets for the Little O’s Christmas Party event in return for this review. All opinions and views are my own. Please take a look at my Disclosure Statement for more details.