This post and experience is sponsored by Upper Limits Climbing Gym but all opinions are that of the writer.
Dried brittle pine needles have blanketed my floor and new toys sprawl out across every flat surface of my house. While we stand knee-deep in the debris of Hurricane Christmas, I also take a minute to breathe in the sense of contented calm that follows such a festive storm. I glance at my calendar and realize that my 5 and 7-year-old boys still have ten days of winter break remaining and endless stores of energy to burn. It’s freezing and gray outside, but we need to flee this cluttered house and move our bodies. It’s the perfect day to head out to one of our favorite St. Louis spots to beat the winter blues: Upper Limits Climbing Gym.
While Upper Limits has three different locations in the St. Louis area, we often gravitate towards the Chesterfield location to take advantage of the Wacky Walls room. This self-contained area is a dream come true for parents who don’t want to worry about chasing their littlest ones amidst a busy rock-climbing gym packed with bouldering kids and extreme cliff-scaling aficionados.
The Wacky Walls room is designed to make rock-climbing fun and accessible to people of all ages and experience levels. The brightly colored room is constructed with nearly 20 auto-belay walls that make climbing safe and incredibly simple for beginners. While little ones need adult assistance to clip their harnesses in and out, there are climbing options like spider webs and build-your-own-wall foam blocks that will even appeal to a fearless preschooler.
That being said, older kids and adults alike will experience adventure as they attempt more challenging apparatuses like the beanstalk and dangling geometric structures that sway slightly as you climb. There is a limit to the number of climbers who can attend each hourly climbing session, so you won’t be overwhelmed by waiting in lines or wading through mobs of people. Booking a time slot online is easy and strongly recommended to ensure your choice of climbing time.
As soon as we arrived, my boys made a beeline for their favorite climb: the spider web. After clipping their carabiners in, they channeled their inner Spidermen powers and raced each other towards the ceiling side by side. While my 5-year old preferred to climb down methodically, my 7-year old loved to throw himself back and rappel to the floor in a nearly inverted black widow pose.
Next, they were off to scale the skyscrapers that create a miniature city in the center of the room. My little guy could only muster enough nerve to mount a couple smaller buildings, but my bigger guy scampered all the way to the tallest building, so that he could swing down with true superhero flourish. Each Wacky Wall invites a new climbing experience with a different theme ranging from holds shaped like dinosaur bones to a free-standing three-dimensional beanstalk.
There are also two traditional rock climbing walls in the room for adults or older kids interested in a more authentic feel. Outside of the Wacky Walls room, climbers will also find an expansive bouldering gym filled with lower-height walls and hefty mats designed for free-climbing without a rope and harness, as well as a couple traditional climbing walls accompanied by auto-belays
After an hour of nonstop climbing, I unhooked two tired-out boys from their harnesses and we headed home for some hot chocolate. My 7-year old requested that his next birthday party be at Wacky Walls and lamented that Santa didn’t bring him his own rock-climbing harness. My 5-year old set a personal goal to make it to the next row of skyscrapers on our next visit.
If you’re looking to get some indoor exercise and give your kiddos an opportunity to test their drive, courage, focus, and stamina—Wacky Walls at Upper Limits is a must-do.
General admission including harness rental is $17 for a 1-hour session, $25 for a 2-hour session, and $23 for a combo session that includes 1 hour of Wacky Walls plus bouldering with shoe rental.
**From now until January 26th, Upper Limits is running a family promotion that allows a family of 4 to climb for $49.95. Promotion-users will also automatically be entered for a chance to win a full-year unlimited family climbing membership (valued at $1350). Get your coupon today and learn more at upperlimits.com/winter-promo! **