The latest update for this article is written by Lindsay Podolak.
The kids are climbing the walls. They’ve watched every movie on Netflix and have been glued to their phones and devices all day. They need to get moving—and so do you—stat! But the temperature is beyond bitter outside. So why not try something that gets the whole family moving? Something like indoor rock climbing.
Indoor rock climbing is a great way for people of all ages and fitness levels to build muscles, balance, confidence and self-esteem, all while having a good time. Here are some of our favorite family-friendly indoor rock climbing facilities in the state.
Location: 149 Ridgedale Avenue, East Hanover
Details: Here, you’ll find 3,000 square feet of uniquely sculptured surface with 20- to 37-foot altitudes and routes for all abilities. If you’re climbing with a friend or already know how to belay, drop in 7 days a week during operating hours with a one-hour or full-day pass. If you need an instructor, call ahead and visit during scheduled times throughout the week. Diamond Rock also hosts birthday parties, office groups, school field trips, scout troops and other special outings.
Why I like it: Not sure if you have the right shoes for climbing? Rentals are available for $3.
More info: www.diamondrock.net or call 973-560-0414
Location: 67 Old Kings Highway, Maple Shade
Details: A dedicated top-roping and bouldering gym, Elite offers 100 fun routes on walls including slab, straight and overhanging, geared for all ages and ability levels. The bouldering wall features 10 different angles including an 18-foot cave. Special events include Ladies’ Night on Tuesdays, Student Night on Thursdays and Kids Club on Fridays. Children ages 7 to 14 are introduced to climbing with two hours of instruction and use of a harness. Elite Climbing also hosts birthday parties, school break mini camps and summer camp.
Why I like it: Purchase a Beginner Package for just $45 and you’ll receive an overview belay class, gear rental, unlimited climbing for the day, plus a two-week membership.
More info: www.eliteclimbing.com or call 856-273-1370
Location: 80 Fifth Avenue, Hawthorne
Details: Rising to 25 feet, the sculpted walls provide over 2,000 square feet of climbing terrain. You’ll find 13 top ropes, lots of cracks, toe-holds, bouldering and overhangs, providing plenty of challenges for novice and expert climbers. Drop in during daily open climb hours (call ahead for availability) or register for a rock-climbing class. Members must be certified to belay or otherwise pay $5 for an instructor to belay you.
Why I like it: Kids as little as three years old can participate in the climbing fun – try the RocKids Intro Class or choose a Gymnastics & Climbing combo class.
More info: www.elitegymnasticsinfo.com or call 973-423-4040
Garden State Rocks
Location: 705 Ginesi Drive, Morganville
Details: This innovative gym features state-of-the-art top rope and lead walls, an awesome bouldering island and an expansive cave. Over 6,000 square feet of climbing surface includes vertical and overhung terrain with bulges, roofs and slabs with realistic cracks. Special walls in the gym are designated for group events. Parties at the venue include instruction, climbing, harness and all equipment. Call ahead for reservations to climb in the gym during operating hours.
Why I like it: Group classes are kept small – no more than four students per instructor, which allows for individualized attention.
More info: www.gardenstaterocks.com or call 732-972-3003
The Gravity Vault
Location: Locations in Chatham, Flemington, Hoboken, Middletown, Upper Saddle River & Voorhees
Details: Each Gravity Vault gym has its own unique layout so you’ll get a different experience at each location. The facilities offer over 14,000 square feet of climbing, 45 to 60 top rope stations, extensive bouldering and more. Walls feature arches, key holes, aretes, chimneys, cracks and overhangs. Gravity Vault can accommodate any size group, with instructors tailoring team-building exercises and rock climbing to meet the group’s needs. Want to check them out? Register for a private session or purchase a day pass. Classes, camps, walk-in climbing and birthday parties are also available.
Why I like it: There are Gravity Vault gyms located throughout the state, so chances are one is within a short driving distance for you. Coming soon is a location in Brick in 2019!
More info: www.gravityvault.com
Location: 266 Union Street, Northvale
Details: High Exposure features 14,000 square feet of climbing terrain including 16-feet-high bouldering walls, a 45-degree bouldering training board and 100 climbing routes. They have day passes for the climbing gym and walk-ins are welcome. The gym also includes a Parkour room and a Ninja Warrior Course with over 10 activities, including the Salmon Ladder and Warped Wall. A new addition to the facility is the 4,200 square foot Ninja Nerf Arena, which combines climbing and NERF guns.
Why I like it: Classes are taught by nationally ranked rock climbers, so you know your kids are in good hands.
More info: www.highexposureclimbing.com or call 201-768-8600
New Jersey Rock Gym
Location: 373D Route 46 West, Fairfield
Details: New Jersey Rock Gym aims to show people that rock climbing isn’t a sport just for elite athletes – everyone can participate and enjoy benefits like increased endurance, strength, flexibility and balance. Instructional climbing classes are offered for children and adults, or make a reservation for a climbing session with a partner or a staff belayer. Every Monday is College Night, Tuesdays are Ladies Night and Fridays are High School Night – participants in those categories pay only $8.50 to climb or $11.50 if they need gear, too.
Why I like it: If you’re afraid of heights, another option here is to go bouldering. Bouldering is when you climb to a moderate height protected by padding instead of ropes.
More info: www.njrockgym.com or call 973-439-9860
Randolph Climbing Center
Location: 3 Middlebury Boulevard, Randolph
Details: Scale 30 feet high top roping walls with more than 75 routes to climb with a partner or belayer. And four Autobelayers are available for climbing if you don’t have a partner. Randolph offers day passes, monthly memberships, group events and even lunchtime passes for work groups. Open gym nights are held on Friday evenings, where you can enjoy rock climbing plus trampolines, gym apparatuses and inflatables like a bouncy house.
Why I like it: For an extremely affordable (and fun!) birthday party, you can host up to 10 children for just $160. That includes an hour of climbing plus a half hour in a party room.
More info: www.randolphclimbingcenter.com or call 973-598-8555
Rockville Climbing Center
Location: 200 Whitehead Road, Hamilton
Details: No partner, no problem. You’ll find 19 Auto Belays here. Climb walls 28 to 32 feet and take advantage of 30 top ropes. Rockville Climbing Center offers monthly, 10-visit or day climbing passes. College kids on a limited budget and in need of a study break get a reduced price of $14 for a day pass and $4 for full gear rental after 5:00 pm on Monday nights. The facility is also available for scout groups and birthday parties.
Why I like it: Youth climbing classes are offered in 12-week sessions for kids ages seven and up.
More info: www.rockvilleclimbing.com or call 609-631-7625