Once there, we headed in and signed our waivers. We could have chosen to rent shoes, but they didn't quite have them little enough for my young boys. I do think they would have been helpful in climbing the walls though, and for only $3 a pair, that might have been worth it.
When we headed in, we noticed that it was a little different than other rock climbing places we had been to. There were no harnesses. The reason given was that none of the walls were too high. Plus, they had a bouncy floor, similar to a floor at a gymnastics studio that cushioned people's falls or jumps somewhat. There was one wall on each side of the gym with countless holds and routes up the wall. One wall was basically straight up and down while the other was angled inward to make it more difficult to climb.
When my boys got in there they weren't quite sure what to do, but they soon got into the swing of things and started having a ball. My youngest, at three, was perhaps to young to get as much good out of the place because he was too small to reach many of the hand and footholds. My 5 year old on the other hand, was big enough to do some climbing, but the lack of a harness threw him off. It took him a little while before he was brave enough to climb up high on the walls because he had to climb or jump back down. Once he did find his courage, he had to climb his favorite routes over and over again. It was nice that we didn't have to wait to hook into a harness every time he wanted to climb.
There was also a slack line set up in the middle of the room which is like a thick tight rope. My youngest had a ball with this. He couldn't get up by himself, but he loved walking and bouncing along as I held his hands.
What we liked: We loved how Progression Climbing is really trying to cater to kids. They have the special "kids' climb" time on Saturdays from 11am-1pm where adults are welcome, but kids are encouraged so that they can climb and socialize with other kids. They also welcome playgroups any weekday from 11:30am-4:30pm. You can also reserve the facility for birthday parties or sign up for their summer camp this summer. It's a great place to go to get kids excited about rock climbing.
What we would change: As with any climbing gym, at $10 per kid, the price is a little high for a regular play outing, but the kids definitely enjoy it. Plus, you can buy a ten visit punch pass for $90 to make it a little more affordable. The lack of harnesses was both a negative and a positive. As I said, it made my son more hesitant to climb up high, but you didn't have to clip in to a harness every time you wanted to climb up which made it much easier and less of a hassle. Also, it is not the best for younger children. I would say kiddos 5 and up could get their money's worth
Website and other important information:
Address: 1713 Legion Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27517
Cost: Youth (under 18): $10, Youth with Parent: $21, Rental Shoes: $3
(a look at the whole gym)
(the easier of the two sides)
(the other, more-slanted side)