Pump It Up’s Pop-In Playtime

Review of the Manassas location.

I have found a sure-fire way to get a non-napper to take a nap – no really, it is pretty much a sure thing. Just hop in the car, drive to Pump It Up, fill out the waiver and let him or her go. That is pretty much it. At some point later that day, you will look over and your little non-napper will be sound asleep. Aaahhh the quiet. On to the details…

First, go to Pump It Up’s website and find the location closest to you. I had the choice of either Leesburg or Manassas. After checking both locations’ Jump n’ Event Calendars (check the upper right-hand corner of your location’s website), Manassas had a better Pop-In Playtime schedule for us. We headed out just after getting my older son on the bus one morning. My little reviewer could not wait a moment longer to check out the “bouncy place.”

We encountered a few minor issues before arriving at Pump It Up. I used GPS in order to find it, but was directed to a dead-end instead of the correct address. I made a quick u-turn and luckily I was staring right at Pump It Up when I turned the car around. Make sure you check the directions on the website before heading out! The next issue was parking. In Manassas, Pump It Up is amidst corporate buildings. The lot is pretty empty for weekend birthday parties, but during the week, it is pretty packed. It may take a few minutes to find a place.

Finally we were in the door. I signed the waiver and paid the $10 entrance fee (parents play free). They then measured my son and gave him a wristband. He was over the 34″ line, but below the 42″ line – therefore he could use all but one piece of equipment. We then watched a brief safety video. I am not sure how much my 3 year-old retained, but we watched it nonetheless. After that the nice girl working there accompanied us into the first of two massive play rooms.

The first room contained a huge slide, a bouncy house where you can also play basketball and a monstrous obstacle course (the one piece of equipment where you have to be 42″ tall). We took off our shoes and placed them in a rolling cubby cart. Then my little one was climbing up the rungs of the big huge slide. This is one fast slide and the first time he went down he looked terrified, but he seemed okay and was ready to check out the bouncy house. One side note is that we were the only ones there. It was actually a bit strange. I have been to my own son’s birthday party there and other parties and it is always a bit crazy with kids running, jumping and screaming from slide to house to obstacle course. The moral of the story is convince your friends with kids to go with you so that your children can play while you happily look on. Otherwise, you will definitely be roped into sliding, bouncing and climbing your way around the rooms.

Anyway, there is no set time limit other than the amount of time scheduled for Pop-In Playtime, but they will move you from play room to play room to accommodate other groups. We had about 15 minutes in the first room before they ushered us into the next room. The second room contained a double slide, slightly smaller obstacle course and large circular bouncy house. My son instantly ran for the obstacle course, but once inside he was a bit confused how to proceed. The nice employee let me know that I was welcome to go in and help him (great….uh….thanks). I climbed in and realized why he was confused. After a bunch of vertical inflated tubes, there was a set of horizontal tubes with a very tiny space between them. You have to find a way to slither in between to get to the next step – a climbing wall. For children this isn’t such a big deal, but I felt a bit like a piece of pasta going through one of those pasta machines. We managed to make it out the other side, but I can’t say it was pretty.

We played for another forty minutes or so, but it was definitely time to call it a day. We put our shoes on and headed for the door. Before leaving my son was presented with a punch card. After his fifth visit he would be entitled to a free visit. Visits even include being a guest at a birthday party – pretty cool.

We headed for the car after our hour or so experience and headed home for lunch, some play and then a break to watch my son’s new favorite show. I walked out of the room for a few minutes and walked back in to find my son fast asleep in the chair. Yeah.

A Brief Mention on Parties

Far more people know about Pump It Up as a birthday party venue, than for its Pop-In Playtime, but I will mention the party experience since I held my son’s party there a few years ago. It was the easiest birthday party I have ever given. I can’t say it wasn’t pricey, but it was worth it. Most of the process can be completed online, but any questions are easily answered by an employee. It is the one party where I can honestly say that I had a chance to enjoy the party. Staff did everything from set-up and clean up to delivering the presents to the car. Staff members ferried children and shoes from safety video to play room to party room. The children all appeared to have a wonderful time and the birthday boy had a blast.

Important Information

  • Pop-In Playtime is $10 per child. Children must be between 2 and 10 years old to use the bouncy structures and at least 34″ tall. Parents must accompany their children, but are not required to pay.
  • Hours vary by location and by the day. Manassas generally has playtime on weekdays between 9:30am and 12:30pm.
  • Bring socks! Socks are required in the playrooms. They are available for purchase if needed.
  • No food or drink are allowed in the play rooms.
  • Parties cost as little as $135 for a small weekday party up to as much as $515 for an ultimate weekend party. Check the website for more details.
  • Check the website for other events like their once-monthly Parent’s Night Out and regular Family Jump Times.

Bottom Line

Pop-In Playtime was a wonderful experience with the sole exception being the lack of other children. I highly recommend it for a playgroup or just rally a friend or two to join you. My little guy loved it!

Photo by Carly Blair

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