Have you heard that Austin is now home to the largest indoor rock climbing gym in the world? Everything’s bigger in Texas, right? Besides its size, Austin Bouldering Project is unlike any other climbing facility around. It’s a beautiful, brand new space in East Austin (on Springdale Rd.) where folks of all ages can go bouldering. What is bouldering, you ask? It’s rock climbing where you don’t use ropes or harnesses, and your climbs won’t take you too high off the ground. The boulders are mostly thirteen to fifteen feet tall, and the entire floor of the gym is a giant, squishy pad. The boulders have problems, or climbing routes, that are a series of carefully-placed holds which you climb from start to finish.
Our content manger, Heidi, is the mom of three boys (ages 6, 8, & 9), and her family is always seeking active ways to get out an have some fun together. She stopped by Austin Bouldering Project last week to check it out. Read all about her experience below.
My boys have had the chance to try the climbing walls at Main Event, Austin’s Park N Pizza, and it’s their favorite thing to do at Round Rock Express games. But we’d never tried bouldering before, and this was such an exciting new adventure. And for the kids who don’t like being strapped into a harness (like my youngest), bouldering provided great freedom in climbing and exploring.
The space at Austin Bouldering Project is so sleek and pretty with colorful, visually stunning boulders. There are rooms with big boulders suited to experienced climbers as well as sections for junior climbers towards the back of the facility. There is a fun, playful room for kids that even incorporates a slide and a little cave. There is a party room that is already booking up for children’s birthday parties. There’s a great space for junior climbers or beginner adults. You’ll find locker rooms with a sauna in the center of the building as well as rooms for yoga and fitness classes, too. This huge space with a loft-style 2nd floor featuring plentiful seating options where you can rest, use wifi, have a chat with friends, etc.
When you arrive, you can check in, get the day’s schedule of fitness classes and rent climbing shoes (rentals are free on your first visit). You can place your items in one of the cubbies in the hallway and head off to climb. You’ll find the kids and youth areas in the back and the more advanced bouldering to the right.
Being our first visit, we spent most of our time in the kids areas. My boys loved warming up in the playful zone where they could climb up the walls and slide down the slide (instead of climb down) as a warm-up. We spent hours going from the party room (which was vacant and open at the time) to the junior climbing area.
We had a really awesome time. My husband loved it as much as the kids and is talking about getting a year-long membership. It’s definitely a place that we’ll return again and again. Bouldering requires some focus and problem-solving skills that are great challenges for all ages.
What To Know Before You Go:
- You do not need a reservation. You can drop in during any open business hours: Monday-Friday from 6 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday from 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.
- Any children (younger than age 14) must be actively supervised by an adult during their visit. An adult cannot supervise more than 3 youth at a time.
- Everyone must sign a waiver. Fill it out online before you go to save time.
- There are several safety rules to read to the kids before you go. Click here for those.
- Wear comfortable clothing that’s easy to move in. (We were there on a very warm day and my kids wore shorts, but ended up scraping up their legs. I’d suggest yoga pants, leggings, sweat pants, etc.)
- There are lots of options for admission rates — annual and monthly memberships, punch-passes, day passes, family options, etc. Click here for the full list of rates. Day passes are $16 for adults and $12 for youth. First time visitors get free shoe rentals.
- Youth classes will be available soon. Click here for more info on classes.
- You can also book birthday parties and group outings in the party room. Click here for info about reservations.
–> Giveaway: We’re pretty sure you’re going to love it! We want to share the experience with a lucky reader. Please fill in the form below for the chance to win a family 4-pack of day passes. Good luck! *Entering the giveaway will add you to the Do512 Family email list, where we let you know about the best Austin family events each week.
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