I recently had the chance to experience Pump It Up, the kiddie party place, when my grandson celebrated his sixth birthday.
In business since 2000, Pump It Up has 140 locations across the United States, primarily in the West, Midwest, East and South. It has three locations in the San Francisco East Bay Area: Union City, Milpitas and Santa Clara.
We went to the Milpitas location.
The reception area has a couple of fun things to complement the welcome counter – a funny house mirror, a board with the honoree's name on it, a personalized rolling bin for presents, and a stuffed toy grab machine (sneaky way to lighten parents' wallets.
They started the party off in the reception area with a descriptive video of rules, but of course, nobody paid attention as friends kept arriving.
Once that torturous requirement was done, everybody moved on to the first playroom filled with gigantic indoor inflatables that soon had the kids bouncing and climbing and sliding all over the place. And thankfully, not climbing or crashing into the walls.
It's like the kids were working off a sugar rush, it was so noisy and hard to move about with kids underfoot all the time. We spent 40 minutes there – too short for the kids, but a lifetime for the adults.
Then ... onward to the second room, with MORE inflatables and more activites, including a very popular wind tunnel machine that cost $2 a blow after which the kids would scream "One more time! One more time! One more time!" My son kept on swiping his credit card until they'd had their fill.
Forty minutes later, they sent us into a third room with long tables and lots of chairs, including an inflatable throne for the Kid of Honor, who sat there grinning from ear to ear while his gaggle of kindergarten friends screamed out the Happy Birthday song and every birthday-type tune they could remember from school.
But it sure got quiet when they started eating their pizza, chips, and cut-up fresh fruits, all preordered from Pump It Up, drank their soda, and smeared their birthday cake all over their mouths.
All tuckered out, the kids left one by one, receiving a goodie bag from the Birthday Boy and his mom, occasionally assisted by the one and only ... me.
Want to do this? Here's where we were at: Pump It Up, 164 N. Abel St., Milpitas, CA, phone (408) 400-9663. Website: Pumpitupparty.com.