Forget building forts, jumping on beds and leaping from couch to couch at home. Ignite some adventure and help your kids soar to new heights by taking them to climb, jump, pull and crawl through many of Long Island's unique obstacle courses, rock climbing centers and ninja training classes.
Many gymnastics facilities offer ninja warrior-style training, similar to NBC's hit show "American Ninja Warrior," while other venues specifically focus on rock climbing and obstacle courses. Each class or place caters to kids of all ages, from beginner to advanced skill levels.
Take a look at indoor obstacle courses, rock climbing walls and more in Nassau and Suffolk.
Active Kidz Long Island
At Active Kidz Long Island in Jericho, kids can check out a ninja-style obstacle course with multiple challenges to try to beat their best score. There's also a 20-foot-high rock climbing wall and a four-story adventure maze, which according to the facility, is the largest on the North Shore of Long Island. The maze features more than 40 ways to play, including slides, winding tunnels, bridges and a web climb. Open play is available, just call in advance to make sure the coast is clear to climb. There are no age restrictions (except for laser tag, which is for children ages 6 and older). Check website for hours. Prices: $13 adventure maze, $5 rock climbing, $10 ninja obstacle course. Information: 200 Robbins Lane, Jericho; 516-621-6600; activekidzlongisland.com.
Beyond Epic Athletics
The focus is on gymnastics, cheerleading and other related activities at Beyond Epic Athletics in Freeport. But kids ages 7-14 may be interested in their ninja obstacle party, where they will assemble a lengthy obstacle course with balance beams, soft climbing blocks and other challenges. The courses are geared toward skill level, starting with beginners. Some obstructions include a mix of objects that challenge balance and dexterity, including beams, trampolines, a foam pit, bounce house and items of various height for climbing activities. Check website for occasional open play on the obstacle course; register online in advance as space is limited. Best for ages 4 and older. Prices: $135 a month (one day a week) for ninja-style classes, $245 a month (two days a week). Information: 102 Buffalo Ave., Freeport; 516-868-9600; beyondepicathletics.com.
Gold Medal Gymnastics Centers
As the name implies, Gold Medal Gymnastics Centers in Nassau and Suffolk are a gymnastics-focused venue first and foremost, but the center also offers Ninja Zone programs, the only certified centers on Long Island. Young ninjas-in-training will have a chance to climb or leap over obstacles, bounce off walls and navigate tricky paths. Instructors will also teach them flips, jumps and other stunts. On select Saturdays from 5-7 p.m. families can check out open play on the course, which includes a foam pit and use of gymnastic rings, horses and other equipment; no experience necessary. Ninja Zone programs are geared for kids ages 3 and older. Prices: $116 tuition; call for party rates. Information: Locations: Centereach (1752 Middle Country Rd.; 631-981-4653), Garden City (1100 Stewart Ave; 516-357-3636), Greenlawn (266 East Pulaski Rd., 631-427-8275), Levittown (10 Gardiners Ave., 516-735-4653), Rocky Point (683 Route 25A, 631-821-2100) and Smithtown (253 West Main St., 631-366-4653); gmgc.com.
The Gravity Vault
Enter this indoor rock climbing facility and you’ll feel as if you're at the bottom of a canyon with 40-foot walls that offer climbing right up to the ceiling. At The Gravity Vault in Melville, kids can even hang off the ceiling. Good for all levels of experience, this play space features 40 to 60 rope stations, auto-belays, bouldering areas and more. It's always open play. Simply reserve a time before you climb. Little ones and beginners who've never done it before can try a walk-in basic climb that should help determine if this challenge is to their liking. The Gravity Vault is best for children ages 5 and older. Prices: $20 walk-in climbing, $18 day passes for ages 20 and younger, $21 for ages 21 and older. Check website for available packages. Information: 40 Melville Park Rd., Melville; 516-777-9255; gravityvault.com.
Island Rock Climbing Gym
Island Rock Climbing Gym can challenge guests in several ways — not only is it a fitness training center, but vinyasa yoga and ninja training classes are also offered. There are 30-foot rock walls, a rappel tower, a bouldering cave, more than 100 routes, instruction climbing courses and more. The rock walls are open on a first-come, first-served basis, but there are various restrictions concerning children under 18; some ages and activities require the presence of either spotters or rope holders; call ahead for details. Best for ages 5 and older. Prices: Vary by age and experience level; $20-$40 trail days, $210-$375 membership. Information: 60 Skyline Dr., Plainview; 516-822-7625; islandrock.net.
At Gym-Nest in Medford, children ages 5-13 can check out the ninja warrior-style program, which includes an obstacle course with rock walls, rings, a cargo net climb, trampolines and other equipment. According to Gym-Nest management, the classes are intended to improve both technique and life skills, such as focusing, listening and respect. The facility hosts open gym sessions with instructors on select Saturdays from 5-7 p.m., to both members and nonmembers. Prices: $116 monthly membership for one class a week, $220 a month for classes twice a week, $20 open gym sessions for children ages 7 and older. Information: 145 Station Rd., Medford; 631-205-5437; gym-nest.com.
Obstacle Athletics in Deer Park is an obstacle fitness and ninja warrior-type training facility. Particular challenges include warped walls, monkey bars, walls, rope climbs, double salmon ladder and a devil staircase. Open gym is available at all hours, for both members and drop-ins. All obstacles are for open use, except when a class is using a particular task or obstacle. The kids classes are best for ages 7-12. Prices: Start at $20 for an all-day visit; membership packages available. Information: 770 Grand Blvd., Deer Park; 631-627-8253; obstacleathletics.com.
Well-suited for beginners, Tumbling Tunes in East Northport features a small gymnastics obstacle course, available for either drop-offs or parents staying put. The course includes a trampoline, balance beam, roll mats and a bar vault. Open play is often available, except when classes are in session; check website for schedule. Classes are aimed for children ages 18 months-8 years old. Prices: $12 hourly for one child, $17 for two siblings, $20 for three siblings. Information: 212 Laurel Rd., East Northport; 631-697-0140; tumblingtunes.com.
With locations in Huntington and Stony Brook, My Gym offers ninja training classes that involve obstacle courses that can be adapted for the child's skill level. Regular obstacles include tests, such as the "Tilted Table," the "Spider Climb" and the "Quad Steps." Kids coming in for open play sessions have full access to the ninja obstacles when set up. My Gym ninja-style classes are best for children ages 3½ and older. Prices: $109 a month, which includes unlimited use of the gym and access to ninja classes, karate and gymnastics. Information: 1320 Stony Brook Rd., Stony Brook; 631-751-5437 and 128 W. Jericho Tpke., Huntington Station; 631-427-GYMS; mygym.com.
Bounce! Trampoline Sports
In addition to the springy trampolines and foam pits, Bounce! Trampoline Sports in Syosset features an “Adventure Zone” that includes an elevated rope course, zip lines and rock climbing walls. The course features varying degrees of difficulty to appeal to kids who are beginners or more advanced. Guests more than 4 feet tall can also try the ninja course, with a variety of obstacles. There are also Open Bounce sessions, which are usually available Tuesday through Friday from 4-8 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Prices: $15-$32, depending on age and session length. Information: 310 Michael Dr., Syosset; 516-762-1300; bouncesyosset.com.
Pump It Up
Kids will find inflatable obstacles at Pump It Up in Great Neck. Good for beginners, the "Combo Maze" and "The Gauntlet" are among the challenges that can accommodate all ages. Kids can use the inflatable objects for climbing, exploring and sliding down. The “Ninja Jump” is a course featuring large hanging inflatable spheres that require kids to navigate around, plus tubes on the floor, and platform-to-platform jumping. All obstacle courses are available during open play sessions; be sure to call ahead or check their Facebook page for scheduling. Most obstacles are good for ages 3-9. Prices: $14.95-$20.95. Information: 225 Community Dr., Great Neck; 516-466-7867; pumpitupparty.com.
Kangaroo Kids Inflatable Fun Center
The obstacles at Kangaroo Kids Inflatable Fun Center in Deer Park come in the form of tall, inflatable objects for climbing, exploring and sliding down. Some challenges include slides, tunnels and things to climb. Some pieces are intended for kids ages 4 and younger, while others are good for all ages. The center features open play in two-hour sessions, which change daily. Be sure to call ahead or check their Facebook page for times and dates. The play center is best for children ages 2-9. Prices: $10 for first child, $7 each additional child for two-hour open play sessions. Information: 1015 Grand Blvd., Deer Park; 631-871-8762; kangarookidsparty.com.