Trampoline parks the new indoor play trend

By Holly Eitenmiller For Chronicle Media

Among the features at Elevate Trampoline Park in Peoria are a rock climbing wall, foam pits and a Parkour court. Each attraction provides ample room and padding to ensure that kids of all ages have a safe play area. (Photo by Holly Eitenmiller / for Chronicle Media)

Like the kids who bounce around the park on Allen Road in Peoria, Elevate Trampoline Parks are popping up all over central Illinois.

By the end of 2018, Elevate owner Liz Wilson will open a third park in Town Centre II, East Peoria, in the space once occupied by MC Sporting Goods next to Planet Fitness. Wilson recently opened a park in Champaign, and another is underway near Moline, in Milan.

“East Peoria has been so welcoming, we got calls from Mayor Mingus who reached out to say, ‘We’re happy to have you, we’ll help,’” Wilson said. “Peoria has exceeded our expectations, and we’re excited to give this side of the river more opportunities.”

Already eying the trampoline park concept, Wilson visited one while vacationing in Arizona a few years ago. She emailed Rob Genet, the owner of Krazy Air Trampoline Park in Mesa, Ariz., along with a growing number of other parks in the southwest.

“We caught them at the right time, and it really has worked out great,” Wilson said of Genets.

Genet joined Wilson as an investor, and in July 2017 Elevate opened in Peoria in the former Bergner’s department store warehouse. Though Wilson considered East Peoria as a first location, there was no room available then for a trampoline park.

“We talked to them before they went to Peoria, and, at that time we didn’t have anything that would fit their needs,” East Peoria Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Rick Swan said. “MC Sports moved out and left a vacancy that will work for them. It’ll be a great attraction.”

Town Center II sits at what Swan considers a hub for traffic flowing to the nearby municipalities of Pekin, Washington, Metamora and Morton. The park will be easy to find, he said, and will have ample parking.

A group of kids engage in a heated game of dodgeball at Elevate Trampoline Park on North Allen Road in Peoria. Adjacent to the two dodgeball courts are three basketball hoops where kids can easily land slam dunks from the trampolines below the hoops. (Photo by Holly Eitenmiller / for Chronicle Media)

Along with the addition of the trampoline park, a Starbucks Coffee is under construction at the shopping center, and Ashley Furniture recently opened there as well.

“A trampoline park is one of those places like Chuck E. Cheese’s that kids today gravitate to,” Swan said. “It’ll be great for parties and the sports teams that stay in the area from April to August, and it’ll be a great spot for indoor activities in the winter. It’s just a terrific fit with everything we have going on there.”

Elevate East Peoria is still in the planning stage, but Wilson said the 23,000-square-foot facility will feature many of the attractions that draw guests to the Peoria park.

Among them, an open court, a dodgeball arena, a rock climbing wall, and a basketball dunking court. A Ninja Warrior court, based on the popular television obstacle course competitions, is also on the list. Adult fitness classes are also on the list.

“There is no doubt that there’s great exercise in this for the kids and the adults,” said Wilson, who formerly managed Peoria’s Landmark Recreation Center. “It’s so entertaining, they don’t even realize they’re getting a workout until they’re done. It’s possible to burn 1,000 calories an hour with trampolines.”

Other activities will include Toddler Time, Family Night, and Black Out Night, a popular Saturday night event where teens ages 12 to 18 romp around in laser lights and black lights to popular music until the park closes at 11 p.m.

While vacationing in Arizona, Liz Wilson met with Krazy Air Trampoline Park owner Rob Genet to discuss her plans for a park in Peoria. Genet became an investor with Wilson, and Elevate Trampoline Park opened on Allen Road in July 2017. Wilson and Genet are currently setting up trampoline parks in East Peoria, Champaign and Milan. (Photo courtesy of Krazy Air Trampoline Park)

As with all the parks, East Peoria Elevate will feature food, non-alcoholic beverages and free Wi-Fi, though there will also be features that are exclusive to each location.

“Every park is different. East Peoria will be similar to Peoria, foam pits, a Ninja Warrior court, dodgeball, basketball dunking,” Wilson explained, “but there are so many different kinds of activities we can incorporate, we can’t fit them all into each location, so there will be unique things to do at every park.”

Prices will mirror those of Elevate’s other locations; around $12 for the first hour, depending on the age of the guest and the day of the week. Prices are reduced for the second hour of jumping, and Wilson offers a range of discounts based on groups, themes and affiliations.

The price includes a free pair of Elevate “grippy socks”, a pair non-skid, low-profile socks everyone must wear while playing in the park. A dollar is discounted from the price when guests return with previously worn socks.

Safety is first, Wilson said, and there have been very few injuries at the Peoria park. All of the trampolines feature concealed springs, safety nets and heavily-padded equipment. Like lifeguards at a pool, Air Guards continuously monitor the park for safety, and also engage in and referee games like dodgeball and basketball.

“We’re always paying attention to safe play, making sure the equipment is in top quality, and injuries are the same as what you might find in an outdoor park, like a rolled ankle,” Wilson said. “There’s so much space to run around in and jump in, and padding and foam pits. It’s safe for all ages. If you can walk, you can jump, though we do have an area just for toddlers with fun things for them to do.”

If all goes well with construction and the city’s permitting process, Elevate East Peoria should be open near the Christmas holidays, Wilson said. For a list of prices, times and events in Peoria, visit



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