Sky Zone has locations all across the country, and when it came to Long Island, I was a little hesitant to allow the kids to go. I’d heard stories about trampoline parks being dangerous, and a lot of injuries happening on a regular basis. I didn’t know much about Sky Zone, and all of the information I had learned about these indoor trampoline parks came from a few local ones here on Long Island. Daily visits from the ambulance at the one close to where I live, turned me off of these parks for a very long time. Then a father at my kids’ Jiu Jitsu dojo insisted I come check out how the trampoline park was put together, from the trampolines to the way the staff was trained.
Obviously, I was still a bit skeptical on how safe it really was going to be for the kids. Of course, the discussion about a new trampoline park being built on Long Island, had already been heard by my kids , and they were so excited when it opened in January of 2014, I couldn’t say no to going there for the first night it was open. It’s hard to say no to those sunflower faces, you know what I mean? One visit to the park was all it took for me to be won over.
What’s the key difference between Sky Zone and other trampoline parks? Training. Here on Long Island, the staff is trained to make sure jumpers are always the safest they can possibly be while jumping on the trampolines; dunking baskets; or jumping into a foam pit. There are rules at Sky Zone for everyone’s safety, and the staff is trained to make sure those rules are ALWAYS followed. If they can’t manage to do this, they don’t work at Sky Zone. It was clear from the first night they opened, and it’s clear EVERY time we visit. Safety is the key ingredient at Sky Zone, and the training of the staff is what makes it all work.
Little Miss and The Boy can often be found at Sky Zone, and are super excited for the newest location on Long Island in Mt. Sinai. Although, we’re big fans of the Deer Park location, and will probably stick to that one in the future. It’s bigger, and easier for us to get to. But I digress…..
After seeing the kids’ photos, and lots of sharing on social media, a few mothers asked me about Sky Zone Cares. Sky Zone Cares is a signature event for the Long Island location in Deer Park, and even though I shared dates for when it was happening, I hadn’t ever attended. You see, my kids are mainstream kids. I’ve never brought them to Sky Zone Cares, because it’s not for them. One night a month, it’s all about special needs kids. Actually, it’s all about families who have special needs family members, whether those members are children, or adults.
Every first Monday of every month, the Deer Park location opens up from 3 P.M. until 6 P.M. for jumpers with special needs. The noise level is reduced, the staff ratio of staff to jumpers is increased, and the capacity limit is decreased dramatically. Entire families can come and jump together, as a family. The jumpers pay, and one parent/guardian can jump for free. Once Mt. Sinai has been up-and-running for a few months, the staff there will be trained to handle Sky Zone Cares as well, and it’ll start in Mt. Sinai, too.
I’d read about the events, and what happens during the events, but I wanted to really see what went on at Sky Zone Cares, so I could share it with all of you. These happen in other Sky Zones across the country, but for this particular write-up, it’s all about Deer Park, New York, for my local readers.
Sky Zone Cares on Long Island
One word to describe Sky Zone Cares nights: Beautiful. Families spending time together, doing something beneficial for their health, and their family relationships. Many families aren’t able to do things as one unit at parks like this, but Sky Zone Cares gives them the chance to have a family night out, and no one is left behind. No one feels out of place. EVERYONE feels welcome, and has fun. A lot of smiling faces, and laughter, fills Sky Zone on the first Monday of each month. The music might be dialed down a bit, but the noise level of happy kids, parents, and staff members is just as loud as any jam packed jump hour during regular business hours! It’s a big place, and families take advantage of every trampoline, foam pit, and basketball lane! There was even a Dodgeball game happening on one of the courts.
What shines the most, after the smiling faces, is the staff. The training they receive from Missing Piece Awareness is voluntary, and intense. These kids working at Sky Zone aren’t required to be trained for these special kids, they CHOOSE to do it. Just think about that for a second: kids working at Sky Zone volunteer to go through training, so they can work during Sky Zone Cares. It just makes me feel even more secure about having them around my own kids. The training is so well-done, that many of these staffers can spot a special needs child during regular jump times, or at a birthday party. There’s been a few instances where a staff member will approach a parent and ask if they would be okay with him, or her, taking a child to a trampoline court not being used. Give the child a little jump time on his own, get a feel for it, and perhaps eventually get onto the main court in his, or her, own time.
Sky Zone staffers don’t just care on the first Monday of each month, they’re always looking out for the jumpers. How can you not adore that if you’re a parent?
Oh, and the parents on Sky Zone Cares nights. After taking a lot of time chatting with staff, I spent time with a couple of moms who are regulars at Sky Zone Cares. They love the program, and trust the staff without question. One mother allowed her son, who is on the Autism Spectrum, to go with a staff member while she chatted with me. It’s not something she does often, as she is a self-proclaimed hover parent, but with the staff at Sky Zone, she trusts them without reservation. A few moms said the same thing.
I don’t know of any other kind of stamp of approval one would need in order to venture out on Sky Zone Cares nights every first Monday of every month, right? Hover parents allowing their kids to go with Sky Zone staffers, and not have to worry? Perhaps get a couple of minutes to just sit and WATCH their children having fun, on “their own” and simply enjoying the joy their kids are experiencing…..
It’s a beautiful thing to see, and having it right here on Long Island is a blessing for many. Go experience it for yourselves, I promise you’ll be impressed.