If you thought flying wasn’t possible, think again. Thanks to the high-powered wind tunnel at iFly, children (and adults) can experience reverse gravity and truly fly. Amazing doesn’t begin to describe the experience.
Your simulated, indoor sky-diving experience starts with watching a short safety video funny enough to keep kids’ attention. Since the wind tunnel is noisy, some basic signs are taught so that you can communicate with your instructor while flying. There aren’t very many rules to follow so it’s not difficult for kids to catch-on quickly. While waiting and getting ready, you can view others in the wind tunnel to get a great idea of what to expect.
The next stop is to suit-up. A flight suit goes over your regular clothes and you are given a helmet, ear plugs, and goggles for protection. Once you are ready, lock your valuables in a locker, and head to the main attraction – the wind tunnel. Your family (or group) enters the waiting area, and after a quick safety review, the first flier is off!
The wind in the tunnel is fast, and you go up almost immediately. Our instructors were great at assessing everyone’s comfort level in a matter of seconds. My son who tends to scare easily was eased into his flight while my dare-devil daughter was taken way up to the ceiling early on. My daughter with special needs was given as much independence in the tunnel as she could safely handle. My husband was flying on his own pretty quickly, while I requested to stay a little closer to the ground. Despite the differences in our approach, we all had an amazing time. Parents cannot go in the actual tunnel with their kids, but since the tunnel is glass your kids can see you and vice versa the entire time.
Typical flights are a minute long, with most people going on between two-four flights each visit. Basic packages start at $79.95 for two flights and packages are available for more fliers and more flights. Prices are lower for return fliers. While this is on the pricey side, it is an unforgettable experience. Our instructors told us that children cannot skydive until they are 18, so this is the closest kids can get to experiencing this extreme sport. What’s more, each one minute flight is equivalent to 3 or 4 sky dives.
If you choose to return for more flights, you can gain more skills each time you go. At the end of our flight time our instructors put on an amazing in-flight show demonstrating going upside down, spinning, and more showing what is possible with lots of practice! Our instructors told us that there is a couple who come every other week for date night and have gotten so good that they can fly together.
Who can fly? Almost anyone. Children as young as three can fly (and look extra adorable in flight suits and helmets). iFly has an extensive program for individuals with special needs and can handle fliers of all abilities.
The very experienced (and patient) instructors have gotten quadriplegics and individuals with missing limbs moving in the air. They also have a great program for autistic individuals. My oldest daughter who uses a wheelchair and has cognitive disabilities had the time of her life and I had no concerns whatsoever about her safety.
iFly is a great family activity, no matter how old your children or what their abilities may be. It’s also a great option for date night or Moms Night Out. iFly also birthday parties.
While a flying experience is a splurge, it is one that is well worth it. My kids weren’t even out of their flight suits before they were asking when they could go back. My husband commented on the way home that he thought iFly could become a healthy addiction. If you are looking for a truly unique experience to give your child, iFly is one they are certain to enjoy. A gift certificate would make a great last-minute gift as well!
If you go, be sure to make reservations in advance as flying slots tend to fill up quickly. If anyone in your party has special needs, call to discuss them ahead of time. Also consider getting some pictures or a video clip!
Photos courtesy of Jamie Davis Smith.