Climbing. It’s a childhood rite of passage. And from their vantage point, everything from a jungle gym to your living room bookshelf looks like a challenge they can’t help but accept. So here are four of our favorite indoor rock climbing gyms where scaling the walls is not only acceptable, it’s encouraged.
With individually themed walls and bouncy slides for when it’s time to take a break, this is climbing made with kids in mind. Climb Mount Rushmore, the Empire State Building or the Eiffel Tower. Make your way to the top of Jack’s beanstalk or climb a typical playroom bookshelf. Kids ages 2 and up can climb—grownups too—making this a fun day for the whole family.
Ages: 2 and up
Where: Laurel, Md and Middle River, Md
More of a traditional rock climbing gym, this is a great place for climbers who are starting to get serious about the sport. Learn the ropes with one of their classes or show up for their Open Climb or Open Belay where Sportrock staff handle belaying so you can focus on getting to the top.
Ages: 5 and up
Where: Alexandria, Va and Sterling, Va
Show up for Open Climb and get some climbing in with a trained staff member belaying you. Or sign up for their Learn the Ropes Class and get the skill of belaying under your belt so you can go off on your own. If your kids get serious about climbing, sign them up for a 4-week session. And if you need to find a little zen while your little one scales the wall, Vertical Rock also offers yoga.
Walk in and start climbing or reach the higher rocks by taking their Introduction to Climbing course which will teach you how to belay. In addition to climbing classes, Earth Treks also offers yoga and fitness classes. And if you want to take your skills outside, check out their Outdoor Introduction to Climbing class offered several times a year
Ages: 13 and up
Where: Crystal City, Va, Columbia, Md, Baltimore, Md, Rockville, Md. Timonium, Md.
Not at all your traditional climbing gym, ZavaZone will still have you and your kids pushing yourselves to new heights. The space’s multiple zones include climbing, ziplining, ropes courses, trampolines and more. Perfect for a rainy summer day when you have too much energy to spend.
Ages: 5 and up
Where: Rockville, Md or Sterling, Va
Has your family ever visited any of these indoor climbing centers? Tell us in the comments.