You don't have to wait for your kids to be invited to a birthday party to bounce with them at "inflatables" centers. The venues, crammed with oversized slides and bounce houses, offer open play every week. You won't believe the innovative playthings they've created -- inflatable mechanical bull, anyone?
Here are some venues on Long Island:
PUMP IT UP pumpitupparty.com
135 Dupont St., Plainview 516-575-2300
1750 Arctic Ave., Bohemia 631-563-3100
Just try scaling the Slippery Slope at the Bohemia location, which offers 10 inflatables, including a boxing and jousting ring with oversized, cartoonlike boxing gloves. Plainview has eight inflatables, including an obstacle course. Pump It Up is a national franchise.
Age or height restrictions: 24 inches tall; some inflatables require 34 inches tall
Open play times: From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays for ages 2 to 5 in Bohemia; check Web site for other times at both locations; from 6:15 to 8 p.m. Valentine's Day in Bohemia only ($12.95). Reserve online.
Cost: $10.95 per child; parents free
BOUNCERS AND SLYDOS 1835 New Highway, Farmingdale 631-752-2324 bouncersandslydos.com
Feel the breeze through your hair as you career down this 20-foot-high, bright yellow, red, blue and green slide. Climb eight stairs in the middle, then ride down chutes on the left and the right. Nine inflatables in all during open play.
Age or height restrictions: Ages 5 and younger
Open play times: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to noon, or noon to 2 p.m.; no open play for older children
Cost: $12 a session, or buy a 12-time-use toddler time card for $144 and get the 13th session free.
NEW YORK PARTY ZONE 1270 Broadhollow Rd., Farmingdale 516-694-0079 nypartyzone.com
You'll have a "lava" fun on this one -- the volcano climbing wall. The 30-foot-high volcano is the zone's most popular piece, says owner Joseph Ciminna. "This is something right out of Hollywood," he says. Ciminna also commissioned the aforementioned inflatable mechanical bull, which rolls instead of bucks, so riders slide off instead of being tossed, for a more comfy fall. For the younger crowd, there's the Toddler Town Big Top.
Age or height restrictions: None
Open play times: From noon to 2 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; check the Web site weekly for weeknight or weekend dates, as they are scheduled around birthday party times. Sign up for the "text message blast" by texting "subscribe" to 516-468-5477
Cost: $10 for weekday play, $15 other times; $5 extra for mechanical bull, parents free
JUMP 151 Dominion Blvd., Ronkonkoma 631-585-JUMP jumpparties.com
Duck! On this court, players have stationary, chest-high shooters called Fun Ball Blasters that poof Nerf-like balls over an inflated net. In addition to eight inflatables, JUMP has a game room where kids use tokens. Games include the Nintendo Wii and Guitar Hero for Xbox 360. There are inflatable slides and mazes for the younger set.
Age or height restrictions: Older than 2; 34 inches tall
Open play times: Call for times, look on Web site weekly, or sign up to be e-mailed.
Cost: $14.95, includes 16 game tokens; parents free
HOP N BOP 975 West Jericho Turnpike, Smithtown 631-265-2695 hopnbop.com
A velcro wall; kids put on special suits and can jump and try to stick to the wall. Hop N Bop has six inflatables in all.
Age or height restrictions: Up to 5 years old
Open play times: For toddlers only, Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon or noon to 2 p.m., call to confirm
Cost: $10 per child, parents free
KANGAROO KIDS 1015 Grand Boulevard, Deer Park 631-871-8762 kangarookidsparty.com
Atlantis is a bounce house with a nautical theme, colorful drawn fish swim the outside. Kangaroo Kids is a smaller venue with three inflatables in all. Also puts out tricycles and other toys for the tykes.
Age or height restrictions: Ages 2 to 12
Open play: Call for times; if you have three or more children in a group, you can schedule an open play
Cost: $10 per child, $7 for siblings, parents free