Vertex Arena. Credit: Kate Missine
Trampoline parks have long been a favorite for high-energy, action-packed indoor fun for local families, both those with older kids and the preschool set. My family loves trampolines as much as the next , but with most existing locations a considerable drive away from our Sammamish home (such as Tukwila’s Flying Circus and Bothell’s Elevated Sportz), we seldom go for a jumping session.
So, when I heard that Vertex Arena, a shiny new trampoline and adventure park was opening in our neck of the Eastside woods, I knew we had to check it out ASAP. I stalked the opening date closely and we visited last month, a week after its opening.
Tucked away in the leafy neighborhood of Redmond Ridge, the expansive, newly renovated space looks modern and clean, and is decorated with bold colors and funky graphic murals. After purchasing a one-hour play pass ($17) and a pair of grip socks ($3) for each kiddo, they dashed off to explore the premises. The parent-friendly layout, with walkways and benches between play areas, meant that I didn’t need to pay for my own ticket, while still being able to keep a close eye on my 3-year-old, who just made it above the minimum-age cut-off.
The main trampoline court, dubbed the FreeStyle Field, isn’t huge but has plenty of bouncing space and several ramps and obstacles to climb on and jump over. A large enclosed dodgeball field and a smaller air basketball court nearby had exciting ball-game action going on, and a huge pit of foam blocks beckoned to be crashed into — over and over, as my preschooler repeatedly demonstrated.
A high-performance court to the side features longer trampolines for more experienced jumpers to practice flips and tricks and wall niches of varying heights to run up and jump down from. My 9-year-old’s favorite was the battle beam game: a balance beam laid across a foam pit, where kids can face off in pairs, using arm pads to try to push each other off the beam and into the pit.
One very popular play area is the "ninja warrior" zone: an obstacle course of rings, ropes, climbers and swinging platforms. I found the design particularly well thought-out for accommodating the younger crowd and varying ability and bravery levels. Rather than one long challenge course, the obstacles are short and broken down into five shorter difficulty zones, laid out across the openly accessible pit. This makes it easy for kids to escape if they change their minds about an obstacle. It also eliminates the need for long queues.
A balance course on one end was easy enough for my 3-year-old to confidently breeze through; while on the opposite side, a series of foothold rings tested my 9-year-old's skill. A climbing wall and net on the edge provide an extra open-ended challenge.
If all that bouncing and climbing is not enough for your adrenaline-craving youngsters, how about cutthroat combat? Unique among similar local venues, Vertex offers a separate battle arena, where thrill-seekers ages 8 and older can duke it out in a Nerf gun war, and those ages 12 and over can try their hand at bow-and-arrow tag.
The enclosed battlefield is set with large pads to hide behind as you take your shots, and games begin at scheduled times throughout the day. All equipment is provided, but the “Battle Pass” to play is a separate fee from the main arena “Action Pass.” See pricing info below, and check the online schedule to find out when games are taking place.
All that energy-burning is bound to result in some very hungry littles. You cannot bring in any outside food or drink but there is onsite food service, Vertex's Sideline Social Restaurant and Bar.
Sideline serves up a full menu of kid-pleasing favorites: sandwiches and pizzas, appies and sweet treats (s’more pie, anyone?), alongside craft cocktails and beers for the grown-ups. The kids’ menu features cute items such as the “baby” charcuterie plate.
While we didn’t get to taste-test this time around, I am looking forward to coming back for a play-and-dinner date night. Vertex stays open until 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, making it an awesome evening hangout for both teens and parents of active youngsters.
If you go:
Hours: Vertex caters to the after-school crowd on weekdays, open 4–10 p.m., Monday–Thursday, and 4–11 p.m. on Friday. Saturday hours are 10 a.m.–11 p.m. and Sunday hours are 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Hours are subject to change, so check the website for any schedule updates or holiday hours.
The cost: Regular admission, called an "Action Pass," costs $17 for 60 minutes; $24 for 90 minutes; or $30 for two hours. Book in advance online for a specific time slot; walk-ins accepted based on availability. Arena also requires visitors to wear grip socks, which cost $3 a pair. Tip: Make sure to keep your socks and bring them back at your next visit! Group discounts available.
Extras: Access to play Nerf tag, arrow tag or dodgeball, called a "Battle Pass," requires paying a separate fee, and meeting other requirements such as age limit. Check schedules and book online.
Waiver: A signed waiver is required; complete in advance online to save time.
Ages: Participants must be age 3 or older to play, and those under age 7 require adult supervision at all times. Some of the activities have a minimum height requirement of 48 inches. The Nerf and dodgeball fields are reserved for those age 8 and older.
Let’s a party: Various party packages, including a party food menu, are available for birthdays and celebrations; you can also rent out the battlefield — or even the entire facility — for exclusive use. Packages start at $350.
What's nearby: Find some calm to follow up all that energy with a wander through nearby Redmond Watershed Preserve, a serene natural sanctuary with a plethora of flora and fauna to explore.