Confidence and growth come from overcoming challenges, no matter your age. In the spirit of conquest, gather your kids and your competitive spirit and take a trip to Brooklyn Boulders, a rock-climbing gym built on a scale worthy of the gigantic Gowanus garage that houses it. Time your trip for a weekend morning, when the crowds are sparse and special family classes are in effect. Though you might expect to find a fake-outdoorsy place that transports your family to some rocky crag out west, the vibrant rainbows of graffiti here serve as a constant reminder that you’re in Brooklyn. The climbing surfaces themselves are dotted with bright neon holds that jut out like worn-down spikes on the multi-angled surfaces, providing a colorful, easy-to-follow path on even the most challenging courses.
Start off with an instructional “Learn the Ropes” course, which will teach you and your kids everything you need to know about tying knots and safe climbing. One it’s over, your children will be raring to go, itching to get their tiny feet off the ground. Once everyone’s outfitted with harnesses and ropes, watch with pride as your kids focus their attention on the climb and hoist themselves to new heights, never pausing for long as they scramble upward. Let out a giggle as they scale a replica of the Brooklyn Bridge and play Spider-Man — complete with sound effects — on everyone’s favorite landmark. Now, it’s your turn. Don’t worry if your climbing experience is limited to clamoring onto subway trains at rush hour. You’re among pros here, and your kids’ whoops and hollers from below are all the encouragement you need to make it to the top.
Instructors make sure coming down is just as much fun as climbing up, as you and your kids take turns belaying each other through the air with climbing ropes. When you leave, your kids have a better sense of their balance and a newfound fearlessness when it comes to heights. Though you may have to keep them from climbing the walls at home, the holds and pattern at Brooklyn Boulders change all the time, so you will be back soon enough to take on all new challenges.