8 indoor rock climbing spots to get your kids’ wiggles out

If your kids have been climbing the walls, it’s a great time to take them to a place where acting like a monkey is totally encouraged. Rock climbing is a fun way to burn energy and bond as a family, plus you don’t have to go far to find some of the best scaling spots in and around Chicago.


Brooklyn Boulders


Although plenty of hardcore climbers frequent this gym, but guests with children aren’t required to take any intro classes, just a quick facility orientation. Daily Kids Academy classes teach skills such as bouldering, roped climbing and team building. Birthday parties and S.T.E.A.M.-focused  adventure camps are also offered, along with teen and after-school programs.


100 S. Morgan St., Chicago


Vertical Endeavors


This gym is the Western Suburbs is one of the largest indoor climbing facilities in the U.S., with over 45,000 square feet of space. Three bouldering gyms (where no harnesses are required) and 30 auto belays (a device that picks up the slack and lowers you to the ground in case of fall) make this spot ideal for families. Discount days are available for homeschoolers and Scouts, and there are plenty of classes, clubs and camps for families to choose from.


246 Windy Point Drive, Glendale Heights




If your kids aren’t quite ready to tackle a full-on climbing gym, this play center is a fun way to introduce them to the sport. Forty interactive “fun walls,” including a magic beanstalk and a dinosaur skeleton, will thrill and delight your little ones, while bigger kiddos can attempt the Rocktopia Granite wall. With two locations in Glenview and Naperville, there are also ropes courses, climbing obstacles, a Jungle Gym and a realistic cave structure to explore.


2050 Tower Drive, Glenview and 2639 Aurora Ave., Naperville


Ackerman Sports & Fitness Center


The Glen Ellyn sports club is home to the Ackerman Alps, two thirty foot climbing rocks and a bouldering wall which feature an auto belay system. Make sure to check out adult/tot drop-in days, where parents can bring their 2-5 year olds climbing for free ($5 for non-members). There are daily drop-in hours for older kids and adults, too.


800 St. Charles Rd., Glen Ellyn



Climb On


From top rope and bouldering to lead climbing, you’ll find courses for all ages and skill levels at Climb On. If your kids are serious about learning rock climbing skills, the gym offers a $70 family orientation for children under 14 to (quite literally) learn the ropes and practice working together as a team. Once you’re ready to make climbing a regular part of your routine, there are multiple membership plans available.


18120 Harwood Ave., Homewood


First Ascent


This yoga, fitness and climbing gym offers rock climbing for kids 5 and up at each of their six Chicago area locations. Parents are required to supervise children, but don’t have to pay a fee if they’re just watching. Their wide range of classes aim to improve kids’ balance and coordination, as well as increase confidence and strength. Parents can take a survey on the gym’s website to figure out which class best suits their children’s needs.


Various locations in Chicagoland


Hidden Peak Climbing Gym at Lakeshore Academy


Novice climbers will feel right at home here (parents, too!), where classes are available for every skill level. The gym is mostly for bouldering, but there is a smaller wall with harnesses for kids to practice their skills. Classes are available for children ages 5-16, and there’s even a competitive climbing team if your child decides to go pro.


937 W. Chestnut St., Chicago


UIC Campus Recreation Climbing Wall


The 43-foot Entre Prises’ Free Form wall at UIC simulates the look and feel of an actual rock, which makes for a truly authentic experience. Featuring seven top ropes, the wall’s intricate detailing will make you feel like you’re miles away from the city. Kids ages 5 and up are welcome to use the wall during weekend hours and college breaks, and non-members can get a five climb punch card.


Student Recreational Facility, 737 S. Halsted St. Chicago



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