If you're wondering what to do when it’s raining and you’ve got some energetic kids to entertain, indoor rock climbing is a great way to spend an hour or two, it’s healthier than a trip to the cinema and helps kids (and you) build confidence and have fun without the use of a screen.
We’ve been to our local Rock Up Climbing Centre in Birmingham a few times now and have loved every minute, even the aching muscles the next day reminded us of all the fun we had!
So what can you expect from an indoor rock climbing experience with kids?
First off, I need to say it’s completely safe, yes the walls are high – and the “leap of faith” will feel like you're jumping into the abyss but everyone is hooked up and you cannot get on or off a climb without the help of an employee and their special locking/unlocking tool. You never have to wait too long to be clipped on or off and the staff are really friendly and patient, even if you try a climb you don’t like and ask to be released almost immediately! Only one person can climb the wall at each time so there’s no risk of a mid air crash.
The first time you want to come down the wall (let go, lean back and walk/drop gently down to Earth) you’ll have that nagging voice in your head saying “you’re going to go splat” but for most of the kids this seems to be quieter – watch them give it a go and you’ll soon be dropping down with gay abandon!
Rock up Birmingham is located in Broadway Plaza and is home to 26 imaginative, thrilling, 25 foot climbing walls. I think we have made our way through all of them – some are pretty straight forward, some require more skill.
Some walls have moving parts, some are timed so you can challenge your speed, some have deceptively tricky holds and one even requires sticks to climb – there really is something for everyone.
I loved the fact that we could all enjoy the climbs together, no matter what our age or level of skill. They have some walls where you can climb next to each other – great to encourage any nervous little climbers and my particular favourite – the see through climb where you can race a friend to the top.
Something I couldn’t quite bring myself to try was the leap of faith – the ultimate test of courage where you climb up an 18 ft ladder then launch yourself into the air, attempting to catch the punch bag or trapeze bar on your way down. Luckily the kids were braver! Jumpers must be at least 1.2m tall and The Leap of Faith is £3 extra so I recommend getting there early and watch a few others give it a go before you sign yourself up
Each session gives you 55 mins of climbing with 5 mins at the end to remove your harness, if it's your first time though I recommend their intro session which is just 30 mins and a lot kinder on the muscles! Whichever you choose, you will need to arrive 30 mins before your climb to get kitted out and attend the safety briefing.
If little ones don’t really fancy the big walls, Rock Up Birmingham has a soft play area for under 6s with slides, swings, a ball pool, obstacles to climb over and crawl under.
There’s also a little café onsite, a good place for a coffee after your climb while the adrenaline wears off or if you are after something a bit more substantial, there are plenty of chain restaurants in Broadway Plaza, right outside.
Although you can just walk in, if they are full you could be waiting a long time so I recommend booking to ensure you get your choice of visit.
Parents don’t have to climb as well, you can always borrow a luminous vest and cheer them on from the bottom of the walls but I totally recommend giving it a go, there’s no pressure to ever get to the top of the walls, everyone goes at their own pace, and only as high as they are comfortable with.
Rock Up Birmingham, Broadway Plaza
220 Ladywood Middleway
Tel: 0121 271 0322
Opening Times: 9.30am-9.00pm Monday to Saturday and 9.30am-8.00pm on Sundays and Bank holidays
Peak times run from 3.30pm on Fridays until close on Sunday and include all Bank Holidays, School Holidays and the first Monday after school holidays. During these times its £12 for under 16s, £15 for over 16s. The rest of the time is off peak and is just £8 for under 16s and £12 for over 16s.
Parking at Broadway Plaza is included in your entry price – just make sure you get your ticked stamped before you leave.
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