After long weeks of work and school, there is nothing better than spending quality time as a family, reconnecting and enjoying each other’s company. With all our travel, the kids are always up for an adventure, or to try something new. Last year, before school ended, I took the family to iFLY Westchester in Yonkers, which turned out to be a huge hit, followed by countless requests to go again.
At first, the thought of Indoor Skydiving worried me with little kids, but I was proven wrong immediately. Children as young as three years old can experience the fun, because iFLY wind tunnels are all indoors, and confined enough to never have the instructors leave your kids’ side.
The tunnel design and facility keep you away from the elements, so it doesn’t matter if it’s raining or chilly outside. Antsy and cooped up inside as a result of this weekend’s cold weather, I figured another trip back to iFLY Westchester would be a great afternoon treat!
During this latest trip, we walked into to find some extremely seasoned flyers training for an upcoming competition. Our instructor was practicing before checking us in, and we were surprised to hear that she had over 700 actual skydives.
Watching these experienced flyers with their elaborate flips and moves really sparked Ryder’s interest, so he started asking how he could learn to do some of the same moves eventually. iFLY offers a Flight School for children ages 4-16, which I’m considering signing him up for on the weekends!
Before getting ready to fly, our instructor outfit us with flight suits, head scarves, ear plugs, goggles and helmets. Once we were decked out, it was off to a classroom, for a brief instructional video showcasing some safety precautions, and the importance of hand signals.
One may think you can simply yell to your fly partner or instructor, but the force of the wind blowing in your face makes speaking virtually impossible. Funny enough, the kids easily recalled the signals, and Siella even jumped up at the end of class, to quiz us all.
After class, Gemma begged to go first! We were all happy to oblige, actually proceeding in reverse age order (not that it mattered!) We each had two sessions, running just under 3 minutes in tunnel with the instructor.
As beginners, the first session concentrates on proper form and positioning of your head, arms and legs. During the second flight, the instructor will assist you in flying high up, to the top of the chamber. It’s funny how Jason is petrified of heights, but didn’t complain once, as he sailed almost 3 stories in the air, with nothing below him.
In addition to action-packed flights for consumers, iFLY also offers a number of different specialized programs, corporate group outings, and even class trips. One new feature we learned about during our visit is their Virtual Reality Flight Experience. Flyers can opt to wear virtual reality goggles, offering views as if you were actually jumping out of a real plane, with the tiny, but rapidly approaching ground way below. Once we get a few more flights under our belts, I’d love to try the VR goggles for the enhanced experience.
I constantly receive emails from readers, friends and family asking my opinion about ideas and activities to do with their families that are somewhat outside the box. iFLY definitely quenches that thirst for thrill, and with over 30 locations in the US, and another dozen worldwide, you can get some air time just about anywhere.
It’s definitely super fun to do as a family, and I promise you, your kids will not stop talking about it! And here’s a little tip- iFLY makes a great gift for the holidays, or birthday parties! I think a little boy named Ryder may find a gift card with a few sessions in his stocking, come Christmas morning!