Two new North County sports attractions open next week

By The San Diego Union Tribune - August 29th, 2017

Two North County attractions opening this month will join the growing list of places where adventurous people can go to bounce, leap, hang, climb or otherwise spend time suspended above the ground.

One is iFly Oceanside, an indoor skydiving facility ton Vista Way just east of El Camino Real, which opened quietly earlier this month and will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony Aug. 24. There are now 65 iFly locations around the world, including six in California and one in Mission Valley.

Indoor skydivers ride a cushion of air, suspended in a vertical wind tunnel that gives the sensation of flying. The experience can be a fun, family activity, but is also a training tool for military and recreational skydivers, said Robert Blomsness, a Navy SEAL veteran who co-owns the franchise with his wife, Melissa. Anyone from age 3 to 103 is welcome, they say.

The other new North County attraction is House of Air, Carlsbad's first indoor trampoline park, scheduled to open Aug. 26 on Innovation Way, off Palomar Airport Road. It's the first spin-off of a successful House of Air park that opened in 2010 in an old airplane hangar in San Francisco.

Trampoline sports, which take a little more legwork than skydiving, are especially popular with the young and confident, said Dave Ogilvie, general manager of the Carlsbad location. The average jumper at a trampoline park is 12 years old, he said.

"They are not old enough to worry about their knees," Ogilvie said. "Our goal is to wear everybody out. We want everybody to go to bed early."

Indoor trampoline parks are sometimes called "adventure parks" or "adrenaline parks" for the thrills experienced by the jumpers.

The Carlsbad park has 34,000 square feet, twice the space of the original San Francisco park, with more trampolines and related activities including trampoline basketball and dodge ball. There are also a rock-climbing wall, a "jousting" wall, from which the loser falls onto a giant air bag, slack lines and other sports, for a total of about nine activities.

Overseeing the Carlsbad activities will be 72 uniformed, part-time employees known as the "flight crew."

Each employee will be trained in safety and first aid, Ogilvie said, and all the activities will be watched by walkie-talkie-toting employees and by 48 separate closed-circuit cameras.

Children must be at least 7 years old for most of the activities. Kids ages 3 through 6 can try something more appropriate to their age and size, such as smaller trampolines or an inflated obstacle course.

There's also an elevated viewing platform where parents can sit and watch their youngsters, while snacking or checking their electronic devices. Packaged food will be available for purchase, and food such as pizza can be delivered.

The trampoline park craze came to North County in 2014, when Get Air opened in a Vista industrial park building, and Sky Zone opened a similar facility in San Marcos. Poway, Chula Vista and San Diego also have trampoline parks.

The parks are especially popular for children's birthday parties and occasional corporate events, Ogilvie said.

The sudden popularity of trampoline parks brings a jump in trampoline-related injuries, as anyone might expect.

Emergency room visits by trampoline jumpers across the United States rose from less than 600 in 2010 to almost 7,000 in 2014, according to a study published last year in the Pediatrics medical journal. The number of trampoline parks increased from 40 to 280 in the same time frame.

"It's inherently dangerous, and we do have injuries," Ogilvie said. "We need to be prepared for that."

Still, the same could be said for roller rinks, a ski resorts and many other popular activities.

Reservations at both new North County facilities can be booked online.

House of Air charges a single entry fee of $16 per hour for all activities, and trampoline jumpers are required to wear a special kind of sticky socks sold for $2 a pair at the park.

At iFly Oceanside, a ticket for a first-time flier costs $79.95 for a package of two flights, or $119.95 for four flights. A repeat visitor pays $54.95 for two flights, or $99.95 for four, and other packages are available.

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