With a wave and a few little skips, Joey, the 7-foot-tall green kangaroo mascot, greets drivers on Snowden River Parkway in Columbia.
Next to the jumping marsupial is the sign for Launch Trampoline Park, a new business hoping to grab the attention of families looking for a place to burn off some energy.
“What makes us different is we’re really an activity center,” said Stephanie Eldridge, one of three owners of the Columbia location, which is part of the national Launch franchise.
Eldridge owns the business with longtime Maryland resident William Garrett and former NFL football player Deion Branch.
The 30,000-square-foot sports and entertainment facility includes more than 16,000 square feet of connected trampolines, forming one jumping surface with angled trampoline walls. There is also a signature court at Launch dedicated to “extreme dodgeball” with trampolines instead of a hard surface.
But trampolines aren’t the only feature that the owners are excited about bringing to the area.
The business also features gaming pods with walls made out of Legos where children and teens can play Xbox, PlayStation 4, virtual reality and other systems and games. The chairs in the pods are exercise balls, so even though the kids are not jumping and burning calories, they’re still working out their core while playing video games.
In the last 15 minutes of every hour, the lights at Launch are suddenly switched off and the black lights are turned on.
“When we turn the lights off you can hear the roar from the jumpers on the trampolines,” Eldridge said. “It’s like a party every time.”
One hour of jump time at Launch is $16, 90 minutes is $22 and two hours is $26. Launch “grippy” socks are required to jump and cost $2.50 per pair. Birthday party packages start at $279 and include socks for all partygoers.
There is no age limit or age requirement for jumpers. In fact, young ones are encouraged to hit the trampolines. There’s toddler time on Tuesdays and Fridays for those ages five and under and for those children under two, they get to jump with a parent for free.
Ali Hynes of Columbia says that she is thrilled her 2-year-old son gets the opportunity to try out the trampolines during a special time just for his age group.
“My son has been a jumper since birth, so it’s natural that he would like a trampoline park,” Hynes says. “I like the setup, and during the toddler time there aren’t big kids jumping around, so it’s a little easier for the little ones to get to try everything. The staff is also really accommodating with the younger ones, getting out parachutes and balls to try to engage them. It’s a lot of fun.”