Keeping cool and active inside

With temps around 100 degrees, indoor play places offer alternatives to the yard

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published July 27, 2016

 Coffee drinks, made from beans roasted in-house, can keep parents occupied while little ones play at Detroit Kid City.

Coffee drinks, made from beans roasted in-house, can keep parents occupied while little ones play at Detroit Kid City.


METRO DETROIT — Summer vacations are best spent outside, right? Kids can tucker themselves out running around in the fresh air, while Mom and Dad get a reprieve from the noise inside.

It’s a good plan, until a heat wave moves through like the one last week and brings sky-high — almost dangerous — temperatures to town. There has to be a plan B for keeping kiddos active without sending them out into the sweltering heat.

At Airtime Trampoline and Game Park in Troy and Sterling Heights, operating partner John Zebari said he likes to keep temperatures inside “borderline chilly.”

“You know that refreshing feeling you get when you walk into a retail environment and the air conditioning hits you? Everyone likes that,” he said. “Plus, the kids are bouncing off the walls and working up a sweat.”

The indoor, musically themed parks have about 31,000 square feet of fun packed into each location, with dodgeball courts, foam mosh pits, trampoline-based basketball dunking courts and plenty more. The parks are nearly wall-to-wall trampolines, so kids are definitely staying active.

“They love the dodgeball, and being able to engage with the DJ; we have a DJ all weekend engaging them to do hula hoop contests, musical chairs and get them dancing.”

While birthday parties are a huge draw for Airtime, families with kids of all ages can pop in anytime during the day for open jump. Zebari said it’s a great option for parents who don’t want to keep their kids indoors when it’s too hot to play outside.

“We’re a place for the kids to come for an hour or two and get aerobic and anaerobic exercise. They’re not on the couch in front of the TV. They’re burning some calories and having fun,” he said.

If you’ve got a decidedly younger family with kids ages 1-8, there’s another, less rambunctious indoor option in Southfield and Clinton Township. Detroit Kid City has been around for about four years, according to manager Laura Lewis. Since then it’s gotten rave reviews from kiddos and parents alike, because it’s got a little something for both.

“Everything here for kids to do is electronic free. We’re engaging them without devices to get them out of video game mode,” said Lewis. “It’s comfortable for everyone because it’s all inside and air conditioned. Plus, we have our in-house roasted iced coffee, fruit smoothies and blended drinks. It’s a nice, healthy way to cool down.”

Lewis said lots of families pop into Detroit Kid City locations throughout the summer when it’s raining or just too hot to play outside. The kids can play in the Detroit replica playscape while grown-ups kick back with coffee and the playlist of Motown hits.

“They’re having coffee in the café, and it’s just as much fun for them as it is for the kids,” she said. “And they comment that the staff is very professional and how clean the environment is. We say it’s good old-fashioned family fun, but it’s old-fashioned service too. And I think that really shocks people.”