Trampoline Parks have been popping up all over the U.S. in recent years. While many may think that this is a new type of entertainment it was actually a big fad in the late 1950’s & early 1960’s. The parks were usually created in large grass lots full of pits that the trampolines were put into.
Jumpers could pay 25-50 cents to jump on the trampolines for a half hour. According to a May, 1960 article in LIFE magazine, the parks had gone from three in the Los Angeles area in the fall, to 175 in May. They said that the trampolines parks were opening at a rate of 10 a week. The article reported that their were accidents such as a 16 year old boy dying after dislocating his neck…but that “most of the injuries are sprains and bruises and insurance companies say that the rate of accidents is statistically low”.
However, shortly after the magazine article in November of 1960 the safety record started to go down hill as lawsuits started pouring in. A father and daughter sued the Bounceland Trampoline Park Franchise for $50,000 in damages. He claimed his 6 year old daughter received a sprained ankle, the father then jumped on the trampoline to see what was wrong with it and fell and injured his back on the steel supports. In 1964 another man was awarded $150,000 by the court after he was paralyzed in a trampoline park accident.
A long list of accidents caused Bounceland & other trampoline parks to close down, due to lawsuits and insurance companies no longer willing to insure them. By the middle of the 1960’s trampoline parks were just a ghost of a memory, only to come back 50 years later just as popular as ever. Of course safety is much more of a concern for trampoline park owner’s nowadays then it was back in the 60’s and the parks are much safer.
The photos below from LIFE magazine by photographer Ralph Crane are a beautiful representation of the forgotten trampoline parks of the 60’s.
LIFE Magazine.Google Books. https://books.google.com/books?id=ok4EAAAAMBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_atb&hl=en#v=onepage&q&f=false. May 2, 1960.
Living History of Illinois and Chicago. https://plus.google.com/+NeilGale/posts/MzsEzbggcEE. November 17, 2014. Neil Gale (Ph.D).
Visual News. “Babies, Monks and Trampoline Pits”. http://www.visualnews.com/2012/02/02/babies-monks-and-trampoline-pits/. February 2, 2012.
Chicago Tribune. “Rise and fall of a trampoline park”. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2009-09-25/news/0909230525_1_trampoline-jumping-bedford-park. September 25,2009. Vikki Ortiz Healy.