Location: 110 Della Court, in Carol Stream (off of Gary Ave.)
Type of Place: Gymnastics academy
Secret: Check the website for the open gym schedule, which will be changing in June. Supposedly they have a moon jump set up pn Fridays, although we didn't see it!
Appropriate ages: Toddlers and older!
Cost: The preschool open gyms are $5.00 per child. Other open gym days are $5.00 for members and $10.00 for nonmembers.
Every weekend I list free and cheap events for the week ahead. Gymnasti's open gym is always on the list for Fridays, but I had never actually been there. (We've gone to just about every other gymnastics open gym in the area, though.) So this past Friday, I grabbed Pufferfish and went to check it out!
Many gymnastics academies host open gyms so that their students, and other interested kids, can practice their gymnastic skills in an unstructured environment outside of their regular gymnastics classes. But Gymnasti also hosts "little kid" open gyms for toddlers and preschools. With kids this little, unless they are actually in the gymnastics class, the thrill is mostly in jumping on the trampolines and exploring the other equipment.
One thing I noticed about Gymnasti was that there was an area with a huge, deep pit (not filled with foam blocks or anything) that the employee warned us to stay away from. I was paranoid the whole time about Pufferfish not watching where she was going and falling into the pit of doom! (I guess it wasn't that deep. She probably wouldn't have broken her neck or anything. But it would have been hard to get her out!)
The rest of it was fun, though. Pufferfish loved jumping into the foam pit. (Warning: If you are a grown up, you might not want to jump into the foam pit! It is pretty hard to get out of! Little kids are too light so they just kind of crawl on top of the foam.)
There was a rope swing which she tried to swing on, after she saw another little kid clamor all the way to the top. Pufferfish had trouble getting on it, though!
She liked hanging onto the rings for a minute, although when I took this picture, she was telling me, "I'm gonna fall!"
She always loves the balance beams, too. Usually she needs me to hold her hand as she walks along on them... but she has great balance!
Pufferfish even tried to do a trick, after she saw another kid (the same one who climbed the rope) doing flips on the bar. Maybe she'll be a gymnist some day!
Her favorite was the trampoline though. She could start on one end, run all the way down the trampoline, and jump onto a big, squishy mat! This delighted Pufferfish to no end. At one point, though, she slipped while trying to climb onto the trampoline, and landed smack on her back! It was a horrid sound! The employees came rushing in, demanding to know whetherPufferfish had jumped off the wrong end. I scooped her up while I explained that she had only slipped while trying to climb onto the correct end. The employees turned and walked away without another word... something I found a little rude! It didn't seem like they were very comfortable around small, non-gymnist children at all.
Pufferfish was fine, though. For a few minutes she didn't want to do anything but sit on the mat and watch the older kids. But after a while she said, "Come on, I want to go on the trampoline again!"
The website claimed that there would be a moon jump set up on Friday afternoons, which would have made the whole thing more fun for Pufferfish. But there was no moonjump in sight! Oh well... maybe in the summer they'll have it.
My overall impression is that this place is more geared towards older kids or kids who are actually taking gymnastics classes. It was a nice place for Pufferfish to bounce around a little... but there are some even nicer open gyms available for the same price. It might be worth trying out, though, if you live in the Carol Stream area!