Kid-Friendly Rock Climbing Places in New Jersey
Fitness and fun in one
If you’re like me, the mere thought of ice skating, sledding or any other outdoor winter sport is enough to make your teeth chatter. Yet, while it’s tempting to microwave popcorn and watch a movie with your kids every weekend, research tells us (and common sense confirms) that it’s important for them to get daily exercise (getting up to refill the popcorn bowl doesn’t count). Luckily, New Jersey is full of fun, climate-controlled facilities, including bounce houses, laser tag arenas, and jungle gyms, where kids can get moving indoors when it’s cold outside (or rainy).
Another option that serves as a way for parents to get in on the action with their kids (because let’s face it: the bounce house is not for you) is to try rock climbing. It’s an activity you can do together, and it’s tops in building muscle strength, balance, and self-esteem, says Barbara Lawrence of New Jersey Rock Gym in Fairfield. The climbing facilities listed below are kid-friendly, don’t require membership, and—best of all—are completely indoors!
- The Gravity Vault, Upper Saddle River; 201-934-7625; ages five and up (additional locations in Chatham and Middletown)
- Elite Climbing, Maple Shade; 856-273-1370; ages seven and up
- Milton and Betty Katz JCC, Margate; 609-822-1167
- New Jersey Rock Gym, Fairfield; 973-439-9860; ages five and up
- Rockville Climbing Center, Hamilton; 609-631-7625
- Middlesex Gymnastics Academy, East Brunswick; 732-249-6422; ages six and up
- Garden State Rocks, Morganville; 732-972-3003; recommended ages five and up
- Diamond Rock, East Hanover, NJ; 973-560-0413; ages six and up
- Randolph Climbing Center, Randolph, NJ; 973-598-8555
- Summit YMCA, Summit, NJ; 908-273-3330; ages seven and up.
Rock Climbing to New Heights
Kids often need a belayer—someone to control the ropes. You can take a one-time lesson at some facilities and belay for them, or a staff member can do the belaying. Call at least 24 hours in advance to check belayer availability.
Some places have special family packages or times. Visit the facility’s website or call for details.
If your child falls in love with rock climbing, find out about the facility’s membership packages, monthly passes, classes and teams. It just might be the activity that propels her to new heights!