Of course McKinney and environs offer a wide variety of entertainment options. But did you know there are so many local ways to – as John Gillespie Magee Jr. penned in 1941 – “slip the surly bonds of earth?” Check out these:

Elevate Trampoline, at 2040 Redbud Blvd. In McKinney, can get you up in the air fast. Owners Jamie Tovy and Rick Witmer, along with Managing Partner William Duke, opened the high-flying venue last April. Duke says the place is a hit – especially with the 2nd-through-8th-grade crowd.

Three slam-dunk basketball courts provide jumpers a chance to “sky” like the pros. “They can bounce up in the air and be Michael Jordan, right?” Duke says. Nearby, “free-style” trampolines stretch wall-towall, with half-pipe-like risers at either end. Dodgeball and volleyball are available on two other courts. “They definitely get up in the air and get after it,” Duke says.

Dunk like a pro at Elevate Trampoline.

Dunk like a pro at Elevate Trampoline.


All walls are carpeted and padded for safety, with gymnastic-foam flooring and safety nets installed throughout. A bungeetrampoline station shoots riders 20 feet into the air, allowing flips and other stunts while safely tethered to bungee cords. Steps away, a 24-foot rock-climbing wall provides a change of pace.

Fitness classes are offered “A lot of the moms will do trampoline fitness in the mornings,” Duke says. “You’re not pounding your legs on concrete. It’s a lot better for muscle and joint strength.” He adds, it’s a great cardiovascular workout and as much as 1,000 calories per hour can be burned.


A café, live DJ and private rooms are all found at Elevate Trampoline too. Visit elevatetp.com for more information.

Heard About This?

The Ropes Course at McKinney’s Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary.

The Ropes Course at McKinney’s Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary.


The Ropes Course at McKinney’s Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary is a fine place to elevate amongst the trees. Located near the Heard entrance at 1 Nature Place — just east of U.S. Highway 75 and SH 121 — the course features a range of climbing, swinging fun. Teambuilding is a major focus.

“We can customize the program as desired,” says Ropes Course Manager Jim Parry.

Scale a 175-foot “rock climb” built into a 200-year old Bur Oak tree; ascend a 24-foot-tall pole and leap to a trapeze; sail 700-feet through the trees on a zip-line. There’s much more, including games and leadership exercises. Groups of 10 or more are requested and a typical outing lasts four hours.

Corporate training, school field trips, religious retreats, birthday parties and family outings are welcome. They’ve even hosted a bachelorette party! A trained staff is on hand, helmets and harnesses are worn, and safety ropes are at the ready.

Visit heardmuseum.org for more information.

Buoyant Escape

Seniors take advantage of buoyancy with water aerobics classes at the McKinney Senior Recreation Center.

Seniors take advantage of buoyancy with water aerobics classes at the McKinney Senior Recreation Center.


The more seasoned among us are afforded their shot at beating gravity — through buoyancy — with water aerobics classes at McKinney’s Senior Recreation Center, 1400 S. College St. “The benefits of water exercise are tremendous,” says Aquatics Supervisor Natalia Robalik. “I think we are really fortunate that we have a pool for our seniors. … It’s a low-impact exercise. No impact on the joints.” At the same time, with water resistance much greater than air, it’s “almost like getting a massage,” she says, which is particularly helpful to those dealing with challenges presented by arthritis, multiple sclerosis or fibromyalgia.

Different intensity levels of exercise are offered, with HUGS (Helping U Get Started) as the starting point. Here, seniors are introduced to the basics of “water walking,” while balance and endurance are improved. Intensity levels for each class-type are noted on schedules with “water drops,” from one to four, giving participants an idea of what to expect. The only prerequisites for seniors: participants must be age 50 or over and able to “function independently in the water without the use of flotation devices.” Separate classes are also available to the public, ages 16 and up.


Participants may progress through successively more intense levels to the most advanced class: synchronized swimming. “Having a variety of classes allows our seniors to choose,” Robalik says. “It depends where they are at their physical level.”

All instructors are U.S. Water Fitness Association-certified, and some are Arthritis Foundation-certified, as well. “I have an amazing team,” she says. Robalik is most impressed by participants’ loyalty to the program. “I have seniors who have been here for years and they are here every morning at 9:15,” she says. “It doesn’t matter what comes their way, they are here.” She adds, the extra benefit of socializing for seniors is tremendous. “They’re happier, they interact with each other. … They enjoy their life every day, and they’re active.”

The pool is open year-round. Visit mckinneytexas.org for more information.

Skydiving – Indoors?

Practice Skydiving indoors at iFLY.

Practice Skydiving indoors at iFLY.

Ever wanted to jump out of a perfectly good airplane? Me neither. The next best thing is near, though — in Frisco, next to Stonebriar Mall at 8380 SH 121. It’s iFLY Indoor Skydiving, where one can “free-fall” — cushioned on a bed of 175 miles-per-hour wind — and not have to worry about the landing.

“If you’re a first-time ‘flyer’ you basically exit the wind tunnel with a giant grin on your face,” says iFLY Chief Marketing Officer Stuart Wallock.

Four giant fans sit atop iFLY’s futuristic flight chamber, producing one million cubic feet of rushing air per second. The air is funneled down side-walls of the structure to a basement chamber, then up through the wind tunnel. The air is “squeezed” in a constricted passage on its way up, for a velocity-boosting “venturi effect.”

The all-glass chamber is 14 feet in diameter. Inside, you may “fly” as low as three inches above ground level or nearly 48 feet up, at the top. Experienced skydivers report the sensation duplicates an actual free-fall. “They say they can’t tell the difference when they close their eyes,” Wallock says. In fact, 20 percent of iFLY’s business is skydivers looking for more efficient practice time.

Visit dallas.iflyworld.com for more information.

So don’t be tied down, folks! Opportunity abounds in and around McKinney for a high-flying good time.


About the author: Rick Atkinson, 58, is a McKinney-based freelance writer and cartoonist. His experiences with gravity have been mostly pleasant to date, yet he sees fine entertainment potential in “beating” it, now and then.