A maze of playground equipment designed to get children and adults’ hearts racing as they jump, turn, slide and shoot targets awaits in a new adventure park in Chandler.
Uptown Jungle Chandler opened earlier this month on North Arizona Avenue just north of Warner Road, becoming the latest indoor family fun-oriented business to hit the Valley.
Uptown Jungle also has operations in Mesa and Peoria, as well as in Murrieta and Santee, California.
While many indoor playgrounds feature trampolines or video games, Uptown Jungle offers a diverse range of equipment aimed at fending off boredom and getting participants moving.
It offers many climbing walls and giant slides, including one with animated pictures; gun-like ball blasters, or devices that shoot soft balls; a small merryground aimed at the littlest visitors; a trampoline/bounce area with dodgeball games and a low-hanging zipline and intricate mazes of jungle gyms.
Started by friends and entrepreneurs Bob Krause and Dan Collins in Santee in 2012, Urban Jungle touts itself as a “playground metropolis with A.D.D.”
With a target audience of kids under 12, most of the play surfaces are soft and allow parents to play alongside their youngsters.
An adult lounge with flat-screen televisions, high-speed Wi-Fi, massage chairs and other amenities gives adults a place to unwind while their kids run wild.
“We want to provide entertainment for families,” said CEO/creator Krause. “We wanted to build a place where families could all come together to have fun. Because there’s so many things to do, our biggest compliment is the fact that kids go (home) tired.”
Kids and adults can get a good workout in an hour, 90 minutes or two hours, he said.
The normal price Mondays through Fridays is $10 for 60 minutes of play, $12 for 90 minutes and $14 for 120 minutes.
On Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, admission is $12 for 60 minutes, $16 for 90 minutes and $18 for 120 minutes. Adults who accompany children pay half-price regular admission. The non-grip socks customers rent cost $2.50 plus tax.
It’s easy to spot the many climbing walls in a multitude of colors and designs with firm structures. One climbing wall lights up to make it easy to see where to step.
An “earthquake” slide features hard grips for climbing up a soft, steep side leading to a huge slide.
A toddler area called Uptown Tot, for kids 5 and younger, has a “waterbed,” an area that looks like a kiddy pool but lets kids play without getting wet.
Urban Jungle Chandler also sports a ninja course with many obstacles to run through and punch, as well as two small trampolines.
The business gives jungle gyms a twist with tubes that include spiderweb material that forces participants to use their full bodies to crawl through.
Since so many schools have cut physical education classes from their curriculum, Uptown Jungle offers a fun form of exercise, Krause said.
Teamwork is encouraged in a spot where customers feed soft, foam balls into ball blasters that other people up high in a jungle gym tower shoot at anyone below.
Nearby, an interactive slide displays pictures of alligators and fruit slices that change as people slide down it.
“We want them to come to a place where fitness is fun,” said general manager David Allen, who manages the Chandler and Mesa locations. “We don’t want kids getting bored. There’s a lot of ninja courses. There’s ropes, barriers, things you hang on, little obstacles. We want more action-oriented things. We want them to use all their body parts.”
Customers can rent space for birthday parties, with Uptown Jungle providing pizza and drinks.
Katie Summers, 11, of Mesa, enjoyed playing in Uptown Jungle after the ribbon-cutting.
“I like that zipline,” Summers said. “It’s really fun. I’m really tired.”
Several people at the ribbon-cutting brought their children, who dashed around the center trying the equipment.
Chandler City Councilman Terry Roe said his wife will take their young grandson to the play park while Councilman Jeremy McClymonds called Uptown Jungle a “top-notch facility.”
“It definitely will challenge the youngins and mid-range kids,” McClymonds said. “I think that Chandler would eat this up. It’s definitely a welcome addition to uptown Chandler.”
Chandler City Councilman Kevin Hartke said the new business is offering a needed entertainment venue in Chandler.
“We’re excited that you’re bringing more value to Chandler,” Hartke said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Matthew Staffieri, of Gilbert, a business owner who is also on the advisory board for Uptown Jungle, said his kids, who range in age from 6 to 15, love the park and he likes the owners and employees.
“This team is amazing,” Staffieri said. “I love these guys and gals. They’re awesome, very professional. I love their investment in people.”
Brad Collins, COO of Uptown Jungle, of Ahwatukee, is also a father and he likes the Chandler location.
“We like the number of kids and families in the area,” Collins said. “That’s who we want to entertain. We have a huge variety of activities and target the younger demographic. We have an awesome toddler time. We have a lot of parents participate. It’s just as challenging for adults.” Information: chandler.uptownjungle.com.