Last winter a friend who sends her kids to gymnastics class at The Matrix happened to mention that they offered an open gym time. This news was music to my ears since the cold, rainy weather had given us cabin fever. My 3 year-old was immediately hooked and it became our Friday morning ritual. When it came time to register for the 2013-2014 preschool year I left Fridays open specifically for these Open Gym times that we had come to enjoy so much. As the secret of these sessions has spread, they have developed quite a following. In fact, the sessions have become so popular that they are now offered several times a week!
If you haven’t been to The Matrix you will be amazed by this awesome facility! The gym is HUGE with tons of room to run, jump, swing, and flop! It gives your kids the perfect venue to do all the monkeying around that you want them to be able to do, and saves your living room couch from destruction. There are multiple trampolines (with varying degrees of springiness) for your child’s jumping pleasure. Balance beams introduce your child to mind-body exercises and require focused concentration. A giant foam pit begs for all manner of cannonballs and daredevil stunts to be practiced. The equipment is all in good condition and appropriate safety precautions appear to have been taken.
One thing I love about the open gym time is that each week there are some little changes. Mats and springboards and various climbing/jumping apparatuses will be rearranged in different configurations. Open gym time is completely unstructured, allowing free play and exploration without instruction. There is, however, always a watchful staff member overseeing the little acrobats and lending a hand when needed. Don’t be ashamed if you need a rescue operation to extract yourself from the foam pit. I am totally guilty of doing an 80’s style Nestea plunge into the pit… and then panicking when I couldn’t get out! As with any gymnastics type activity, there is some risk of injury. So don’t be that mom who thinks this is social hour and ignores her kid while he/she runs roughshod through the facility.
Get there a few minutes early to hit the potty, stow your shoes, etc. An hour is the perfect amount of time to tire my little guy out, but if you tend to run 15 minutes behind schedule in life, you’ll be missing a big chunk of your playtime. Also, go here to fill out the liability waiver ahead of time so you don’t have to wait in line to use their computer.
Want more? If your kiddo just can’t get enough Matrix, check out their Class Schedule to find a class that works for you. The Matrix offers a wide range of classes for various ages/abilities. There truly is something for everybody. I have heard rave reviews from a friend who sends her daughter to the Sensory Bounce classes and Special Needs Cheerleading Program. Go check it out! You’ll be so glad you did. And hey, it may even earn you some extra naptime!
Location: 3228 Leeman Ferry Rd., Huntsville, AL 35801
Hours: Whiz Kids Open Gym times are for kids under age 6 and are scheduled as follows: Monday & Friday 9:15-10:15am, Wednesday 12:15-1:15pm, Saturday 8:30-9:30am. Additional open gym times are available for adults, older children, and those with special needs.
Cost: $5, or $3 if your child is currently enrolled in a class. A Frequent Jumper pass is available for $20 and is good for 5 Open Gym sessions.
The mom of three rambunctious redheads, Meg Nester is a Chicago area native and wannabe crafter extraordinaire. When she’s not tending to her boys (and baby girl) or training for triathlons, you can find her in the garage wielding her beloved power tools or firing up a kiln full of enamel jewelry.