In full disclosure we were given a one hour staff belay session for our family of four, in order to write this review. We appreciate the Gravity Vault’s support of Jersey Family Fun and our efforts to let readers know about fun things to do with families in New Jersey. As always all opinions are our own.
Our Day at the Gravity Vault
Perhaps you can relate to having a child that just won’t sit still… who sees life as an obstacle course to jump through, swing from, and climb up. For me, that’s my son. Recently I watched him play and thought, “Rock climbing! That’s what he needs!” The workout of climbing would be great for us parents, and could be something our family of four could do together. None of us had ever done it and I wasn’t sure if there was a local rock climbing facility nearby.
Happily, a quick internet search brought us to The Gravity Vault (their website). There are multiple rock climbing locations in New Jersey, but the nearest to us is the Chatham facility. There are plenty of options for climbing including:
- One hour private session
- Walk In Climbing (two climbs)
- Introduction to Rock Climbing for groups
- Day Passes for experienced climbers
- Belay Training
The Gravity Vault also offer daily specials, birthday parties, kids climbing classes and more. We scheduled a one hour staff belayed session for a Sunday, and headed to Chatham unsure of what to expect. (I had to look up the term “belay” – which refers to a climbing partner holding onto the rope, and the climber attached to the harness.)
When we walked in we were beyond impressed. The rock climbing facility has 13,500 square feet of climbing space and is visually stunning! There were at least 10 staff visible from the lobby area and all customers were being attended to. It felt like a mix between an indoor play space (there was a birthday party just getting underway) and a gym. There are couches for resting or watching the climbers. We were introduced to our staff for the hour and given our equipment. We were assigned two instructors and given our harnesses and shoes (you’ll find the shoes are uncomfortable but necessary to get that grip) and got ourselves ready to climb.
There was a quick rundown on what to do during rock climbing – use your legs, how to fall, but it’s generally just time to CLIMB! We went up two at a time, and started easy. For the next hour we were taken through 5 or 6 walls, all different skill levels. It gets easier as you go, and you figure out how to move your feet and hands, and just how far you can push your body. Some walls have letters as grips, or animals, which makes it easier for the instructor to tell the climbers where to move. In the hour, the kids did all 5 or 6 climbs and the adults watched for a couple. It was great to have the couches for a rest, and to have our possessions in a nearby cubby (lockers are also available down the hall). My son, the active one, loved just jumping on the bouncy surface when he wasn’t climbing.
There are some serious rock climbers there, as well as plenty of first timers. The kids at the birthday party were loving it! Each was getting a turn and some were going up blindfolded. It was a welcoming and fun environment, but also safe. Staff members were present throughout the location and redirecting anyone who might be in danger.
The parents loved it. It was a workout for us but one where we could include our kids, and watch them surprise us as they scaled the walls. The kids definitely had a great time too! The challenge and the constant movement and the feeling of accomplishment when you get to the top makes it an hour well spent. I anticipate many more rock climbing hours here in our near future!
If you go rock climbing at the Gravity Vault:
- It is a workout! Dress in layers and dress in comfortable clothing. The harness goes around your waist and thighs so the less bulky the better.
- There is a locker room if you wish to lock your valuables.
- No reservations are necessary for walk in climbing, but call ahead for lessons.
- Weekend hours are 9AM – 8PM and weekdays 12 – 10 PM
- Visit their website for additional details.
See more pictures from our visit to The Gravity Vault in our Facebook album.
Click over for more ideas for fabulously fun indoor play areas in New Jersey.