Iron Coyote Challenge Park is a place you have to see to believe — especially if you’re a kid (or a kid at heart)
This epic adventure zone, also known as a ninja gym, is a favorite among tweens, teens and young adults
You may think if you’ve seen one indoor play area, you’ve seen them all. But Iron Coyote is here to show you that couldn’t be further from the truth. And just as your big kids start to become a bit too cool for all of the places you’ve typically played indoors, you can take them to Iron Coyote to level up their indoor fun in this truly unique challenge park.
Before you go
You’ll want to visit the Iron Coyote website as you start planning. It’s easy to buy tickets online for the exact time you plan to visit and you can take care of all your participant waivers ahead of time, too.
If you’re taking kids who are at least 52 inches tall, you’re going to want to make sure you get a two-hour pass or an all-day pass. It would be hard to just stick to the ninja course — unless you have kids with a fear of heights — with the high ropes overhead calling your name. And while a one-hour pass sounds good in theory, time goes really fast here, and two hours is our best minimum recommendation.
Make sure anyone who is participating has athletic shoes to wear!
Once you’re there
Iron Coyote has a “one harness rule,” which means once you’re saddled up, you stay saddled up for all of the harnessed activities. It is a good idea to get the lay of the land with your kids and decide when you’re going to get in a harness. On our visit, we did all of the ninja obstacles for a while before deciding it was time to venture upstairs and see what the ropes had in store.
All of your favorite ninja warrior obstacles are at Iron Coyote, like the warped wall, arm rings, spider jump and more.
All about the aerial ropes course
This may seem intimidating, especially for those who have never done an activity quite like this. Parents and kids alike can participate in the course; the weight limit is 275 pounds for high ropes, speed walls, speed ladders, leap of faith and speed bag.
You’ll wait in line to get a harness as only a certain number of people can get oriented to the course at a time. This probably won’t take more than a few minutes. Once you are harnessed up, you get a lesson in how to work the state of the art key/safety system in use on the ropes course. If you have done a high ropes course in the past, you may remember unclipping and clipping carabiners carefully as you switched from rope to rope.
The system in place at Iron Coyote seemed to be a much better one, in that you can’t have both of your “keys” unhooked at the same time, and thus able to fall off without a “backup.” Rather, each time you want to switch ropes, you move one of your keys to the new rope and lock it in before your second key will “unlock” from the rope you were just on. It is a great system and our kids picked it up quickly! Plus, it made us much more comfortable letting them cruise around out there compared to some of the carabiner systems of yesteryear.
More cool things
The climbing walls and the leap of faith were big favorites with our group. It feels a little weird to just jump off a high platform and trust that you are going to slowly land on the ground but that is exactly what you do here. Once you take your harness off (or before you put it on), you can try out the bouldering walls. When you’ve climbed as high as you can on these, you simply fall backwards on the giant inflatable pillow to catch you. Another favorite in our group!
If you get hungry
The “coyote cafe” took great care of us when we needed drinks throughout our visit and some food to refuel when our time was up. We definitely didn’t want to “miss” any of our two hours, so we had a snack on the way over, drinks while we were there and put in a pizza order about 10 minutes before our time was up. It was all delicious and an easy solution to round out our day trip.
Iron Coyote Challenge Park certainly gets two thumbs up from our “big kids” after their first visit and we expect to head back again and again throughout the tween and teen years. You’ll definitely want to make the drive over from Champaign-Urbana to check it out for yourself!