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Indoor Fun Year-Round


By Catherine Pritchard

It’s cold outside. Or it’s rainy. Or it’s sweltering. Or maybe the weather’s fine but it’s dark or it’s early or you know you and your family should go out and do something active but what? And it’s just so easy to while away time indoors, playing video games, watching TV, texting or just fiddling around.

But wait. There’s plenty of active indoor fun to be had in Fayetteville all year-round, including a trampoline park, roller skating, ice skating, play spaces, climbing places, bowling and even indoor sky-diving. Read on – and get moving.

*On a recent Sunday afternoon, Jason Thomas and his 12-year-old son Ari stood by a ninja course at Defy Fayetteville, a trampoline park at Westwood Shopping Center, and took a short break.

Outside, the weather was cold and windy. Inside, Jason and Ari were among 200 or so people happily sweating as they jumped on trampolines, turned flips, played dodgeball and basketball, balanced on beams and slacklines, climbed on ropes and rock walls and tumbled into pits filled with cushy foam squares. Huffing, puffing and giggling was everywhere.

If they’d stayed at home in Stedman, Jason said, both he and his son would likely have spent the afternoon playing video games on their computers. Here, they were having lots of physically active fun together.

Jason said they’d probably keep coming back throughout the year, no matter the weather.

“It’s something I can do with him, which is huge,” he said.

Defy Fayetteville, which opened in early December in 40,000 square feet of space once occupied by a 12-screen movie theater, is the area’s first trampoline park.

But it won’t be the last. Two more trampoline parks are in the works – JP Jump Masters Trampoline Park, on Nexxus Court just off Raeford Road near Seventy-First High School, and Surge Trampoline Park, in a former supermarket on North Main Street in Hope Mills. Both are said to be opening by late February.

Defy’s offerings include more than 35 flat and angled wall trampolines, launching decks, a dodgeball area, stunt falling areas, slacklines, battle beams, foam pits, basketball, trapeze, parkour, a ninja course and a zipline.

Much of the time, the park is open to all comers, with timed tickets available in increments of 60, 90 or 120 minutes. But it does offer special deals and times for certain audiences. For example, it limits jumping to kids 6 and under, along with a parent, on weekdays from 9 to 10 a.m. It gives discounts to families on Monday nights and to college students on Thursday nights and has “club nights” for teens aged 15 and older between 9 p.m. and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

*Will you go ‘round in circles? Why not? Kids and adults have been rolling up a storm for more than four decades at Round-A-Bout Skating, which has two rinks in Fayetteville and one in Goldsboro. Round-A-Bout’s local rinks are on Elm Street at the rear of Eutaw Village Shopping Center and on Skateway Drive, just off Raeford Road near Seventy-First High School.

Each rink has special events for different audiences, including Slow Rollers, teens, families and even Ladies Nights, Super Soul Skate times and Christian Skate Nights. The rinks offer learn-to-skate classes but have plenty of rental skates suited to beginners, along with regular and inline skates.

Plenty of parents and adults skate but for those who’d rather watch, Round-A-Bout has seating areas, as well as party areas, arcade games and a snack bar.

Among the up sides to skating? You can burn off 600 calories an hour at it, according to Marian Hodges, whose parents Gene and JoAnn started Round-A-Bout in 1974 and who now runs the business. It’s also a fun family-friendly and budget-friendly way to exercise – and wear out the kids.

Another added bonus: You can amaze your teens by asking if they know where rap star J. Cole worked when he was their age. The answer? The Fayetteville native worked at the Eutaw Round-A-Bout, where his job included dressing up and skating around as their kangaroo mascot Roller Roo.

Other options for family indoor fun:

*Twirl around the ice. Yes, indeed. Cleland Ice Skating Rink may be on Fort Bragg but it’s open to the public as well as military members and their families. It’s the only ice rink within a 60-mile radius offering year-round ice skating.

*Check out indoor play areas. There are several of these in the area, including Bravery Kids Gym at Eutaw Shopping Center (next to Round-A-Bout); Fascinate-U Children’s Museum on Green Street in downtown Fayetteville; MegaPlay in Skyland Plaza in Spring Lake; and Monkey Joe’s at Westwood Shopping Center. You might also check what’s going on at the nearest center operated by the Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks and Recreation Department.

*Get climbing. There are two indoor climbing gyms in Fayetteville – The Climbing Place on West Russell Street and Triangle Rock Club on Raeford Road behind Carolina Carpet.

*Go bowling. If you have a moment to, ahem, spare, you might… strike out for one of the area’s three bowling alleys – B&B Bowling Lanes on Fort Bragg Road, Lafayette Bowling Lanes on Raeford Road and North View Lanes on Ramsey Street.

*Or, as Woody from Toy Story would say, Reeeach for the sky and go indoor sky-diving. Seriously. Paraclete XP Indoor Skydiving is on Raeford Road just across the Cumberland- Hoke county line. If you’ve never been whooshed 50 feet into the air atop a cushion of air, you might want to consider trying it. Or watch the kids do it.

Whatever you choose to do, go have fun!