Incredible New Kids’ Fitness By Betsy Hjelmgren

There is no shortage of warehouses full of bounce houses in the Chicago area, and when DSC_0492[12]the weather is nice around here, there are loads of parks. But places for older kids to run around and play hard are all too rare.

That’s why I am so excited to introduce The Zone in Mount Prospect to you. It’s an indoor parkour space, which is a free-form style of tumbling, jumping, running and hurdling over all kinds of obstacles. My kids and I got to join their soft opening on April 9 and were so completely wowed by the space–full of big, bold and creative equipment ideal for older kids and teens (and adults who are still kids at heart!).

For an 1.5 hours, my kids played hard—as in completely sweaty-they-didn’t-even-realize-they-were-exercising kind of playing. They were lost in a climbing maze, scaling a wall, running up high ramps, flipping over mats, flying into a foam pit and trying all sorts of fun, physical challenges. Think of Ninja Warrior-lite, and you’ll get the idea.

The Zone officially opens on June 4, and will offer classes, open gym and birthday parties. The goal, says Bret Fahnstrom, executive director of the River Trails Park District, is to offer something adventurous, cutting edge and different. As far as he knows, The Zone is the only indoor dedicated parkour space in the state. Parkour programs include running, jumping, catching, rolling, flipping, tumbling, martial arts, strength training and more.