By Clay Riness  

Autumn is coming; winter follows. Think of all the great summer activities we relished with our families over the past months, many of them outdoors. But alas, seasons change, and soon we’ll be looking for something to enjoy as the days grow shorter and the temps get cooler. One option to consider is Jump Start Adventure Park. Your kids will thank you.

“Obviously, wintertime, not a whole lot to do … kids get bored,” says Cindy Todd, general manager. “This is definitely a great place for the fall and winter months, even though it’s fun in spring and summer, too.”

Todd’s brother currently owns the sizable building, which was formerly Toad’s Cove Arena BMX, and before that, Valley View Fitness and Racquet Club. Todd hails from Utah, where she worked with folks that owned a trampoline park and were building more of them. One day she suggested that they do one in Wisconsin since her brother’s building was available, and the idea took hold. 

“We had a lot of support from the La Crosse community, just because it’s something indoors that gets kids active year-round,” she explains. (So true in an age when kids are isolating themselves by constantly staring at screens, reducing time once devoted to physical activity and socialization.) 

As co-owner with Matthew Lee, Jeremy Dunn and Anthony Marler, her partners in Utah, Todd says a lot of research had to be done because La Crosse is a smaller market than they usually target, but they made it work.

The facility caters to all ages from toddlers on up. High schoolers and college students can also have a blast. And it’s a terrific field trip option for day care facilities. 

“Little kids will bring their grandparents in and they’ll be out there jumping around with them,” she says. “We can do parties, field trips, team-building events, group events and more. We also devote certain times exclusively to special needs and toddlers. And, we offer lots of specials throughout the week.”

So … What Can You Do There?

Jump Start houses a broad variety of fun-filled adventure equipment and then some. There is a dodgeball court, albeit much softer than the one you knew from gym class at school. The sting-your-face volleyballs have been replaced with softer versions. There are also plenty of trampolines and trampoline-related courtsand pits. 

“We have an air bag and angle tramp, and then we have what we call the Mega Drop … that’s where you can jump off a platform into a huge stuntman air bag. It’s pretty cool,” she says, smiling. “You can even dunk basketballs! Then, we have a little kiddie slide that kids can slide down into a foam pit. We also have the high-ropes course, which is a bunch of obstacles elevated 17 feet off the ground. If you fall, you fall into a net.”

There is an area dedicated to parkour, but it’s a friendlier spinoff of the training discipline using movement that was developed from military obstacle-course training. “Basically, our parkour area is a section that has a large air track as well as parkour blocks that you can do different tricks and flips off of,” explains operations manager Alex Mason. “Front flips, back flips, different kinds of handstands, stuff like that. The air track runs into a foam pit so you can do your tricks safely.”

The Warped Wall is for climbing. A ninja course, fashioned on an “American Ninja Warrior” theme, provides plenty of obstacles to navigate. There are a variety of blow-up “bouncy house” courses, including the Wipe Out, which features two rotating arms, one high and one low. Kids jump over one and duck under the other.

For parents and grandparents, there are many massage chairs on-site. You can watch your kids burn calories while you sit back and relax in one. Hungry? Good news … there is a concessions area. “During the winter we did hot foods like fried cheese curds and chicken strips and chicken wings,” Todd explains. “During the summer we’re doing cold sandwiches, snacks, candy bars, cookies, beverages and ice cream … lots and lots of ice cream. We do pizza for parties, which we order out for.”

Party Time

In fact, Jump Start is an excellent choice for parties. There are a number of areas in the facility with ample table seating, all of which are within steps from the courses. “You can actually book a party online if it’s far enough in advance. If it’s closer, then you’ll have to call. But, if you want a party in five minutes, we can do it,” says Todd.

Typically, Jump Start will gather information on what you want for your party … colors, food and so on. A deposit and waiver is required. “We will then send you an invitation that you can send to whoever you’re inviting to your party. We’ll also assign a party host,” she adds.

So, why is this so much fun? “Because it IS fun,” says Todd. “Everybody loves to bounce around!”

Jump Start Adventure Park currently employs about 30 people. 

For more information and business hours, visit www.jumpstartadventurepark.com. You can also stop in at 3939 County Road B in La Crosse, call (608) 615-1212, and email info@jumpstartpark.com or parties@jumpstartpark.com.