It was the perfect storm. Single digits and the kids home from school. What do you do with that?

Snow days are different. There’s ready-made entertainment right outside the window.

But there was nothing fun about plain old cold. Not even the bait of new skateboards, courtesy of  Santa, could tempt them outside.

Ideally, the novelty of Christmas toys will carry you through winter break. But the timing was off this year. The Lego sets were built, the bath bomb kit made, the remote control BB8s put through every pace known to droids.

We’d already burned through classic Christmas break outings, too. A day making the return rounds to liquidate the presents we didn’t love. A day terrorizing the Asheville Mall on new Heelys. A trip to the movies.

Now options were running thin. It was time for the big guns.

For more than a year, my kids had been regaling me with tales of the trampoline parks picked up in school. There were even trampolines on the walls, or so they heard.

Of course, the cool cousins from Charlotte had been talking about trampoline parks for years, so I suppose we were late to the party. But going from zero to two in a year — Launch Trampoline Park opened in March ‘16 and Sky Zone opened in March ‘17 — felt pretty darn up-and-coming to me.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. A giant room full of trampolines, I suppose. But the trampoline parks are so much more.

There’s foam pits for landing flying flips, climbing walls, hoops, dodge ball and obstacle courses  — the Ninja Warrior kind with ladders and rings and ropes over a giant ball pit. And yes, there are trampolines on the walls.

The friends we invited along had been to both Launch and Sky Zone. A hearty review on the pros and cons of each broke out and I concluded that a trip to both was warranted. Yes, the trampoline parks are pricey compared to roller skating or the indoor pool — our other go-to activities for exercise on a cold day. But it seemed worth it to me.

The trampoline parks are suitable for all ages. However, toddlers and preschoolers won’t get as much out of them. They’ll spend most of the time falling down and getting up, so if you’re strictly dealing with the under 5 set, you’ll probably be better off heading to Smoky Mountain Jump House in Waynesville and going the giant inflatable route.

But for elementary kids, tweens and teens, add the trampoline parks to your arsenal for the next time you need a big gun of your own.

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