Inside of A Jumping Joy, youngsters can run around and play on the inflatable obstacles, bounce houses and slides.
In December, the business took over the closed Niedringhaus Elementary School, which had been vacant for six years. The building was opened in 1928 and has had two additions.
The business uses two classrooms, the former gym and a media room. The two classrooms are used as party rooms.
The business is owned by Arnold, Mo., residents Adam Dunn, 37, and his wife Marie Frost, 55.
It costs $9 for two hours for youngsters to play.
“Every hour your child is on the inflatable is like putting him on a treadmill at 4 mph. once kids get tired, they’re going to still want to play, and that’s when injuries start to happen,” Dunn said. “It’s not about the money, it’s about limiting the time so your child is not over exhausted.”
Dunn recently spoke with the Belleville News-Democrat about A Jumping Joy.
Q: Why bounce houses?
A: “It started with the grandson. At the time he was 1-and-half years old and we took him to one. And he just enjoyed it. ... We thought it would be neat to get into.”
Q: When I think of bouncy castles, I think of ‘little Jimmy, he’s turning 6, mom and dad will rent a bounce house, and someone like yourself will set it up in the yard. A lot of friends will come over and bounce for a while. Why open a standalone location?
A: “You don’t have the weather bearing. We can have the bounce year round. With allergies and stuff outside, you don’t have that to deal with, and then you don’t have the mess at home. That’s the biggest benefit everyone tells us about here.”
Q: What age range do you cater to?
A: “They have to be walking, and have to be self-walking, all the way up to, we say, 12 to 14, depending on the size and weight of the child. We typically schedule a few family fun nights where we minimize the number of people that come in. That way the parents can jump with their children. Ours is adult-rated, we just don’t market it that way. We don’t want adults trampling small kids.”
Q: Do you set up at people’s houses?
A: “We have three that we will (rent out) ... and we also do two festivals a year.”
Q: When are your busy seasons?
A: “Winter, spring, and fall. Our slow time is coming.”
Q: Unless you get a rainy summer.
A: “Or an extremely hot summer. If it’s really hot out, where it runs multiple days of 95 degrees plus, grandparents who watch kids during the summer can’t take the heat sitting at the pools, they need to find a cooler place to come in.”
Q: What do you think is fun about this place?
A: “Just enjoying the kids having fun. Just letting them be able to be kids, and it’s not overcrowded.”
Q: You’re essentially trying to build an amusement center. If you do expand, do you think it will still be geared toward 14 and under?
A: “Our goal is we want to market this as a family fun center. Kids of a certain age can go here and bounce, your older kids, siblings, mom, dad, (where) they have the video games, the game systems. We’ve also talked about game trailers … We’re looking at all other things to incorporate the older kids as well.”
A Jumping Joy
- Where: 2901 State St., Granite City
- Phone number: 618-410-4792
- Website: www.ajumpingjoy.com