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Fairfield Kids Leap for Gym's New Play Area

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Samantha Wiggetman bounces and swings like a monkey from spring-loaded cords. Her twin sister, Gabrielle, and Eleanor Gordon chase each other around a series of trampolines. Jacob Pressman completes the same loop over and over again: up the bouncy steps, down the slide, repeat.

Such was the scene earlier this week at the Fairfield Gymnastics and Cheerleading Academy. While  young Fairfielders enjoyed the gym’s newest addition, the Playscape, their parents relaxed and chatted nearby.

“People with little kids were hanging out in the halls all the time with nothing to do,” said gym director Jane Marella. “I knew that the Playscape would be a great service for them.”

The gymnastics academy was the first tenant in the Sportsplex on Mill Plain Road. Over 27,000 square feet of space, the academy holds a host of classes in both gymnastics and cheerleading for customers ranging from kids barely able to walk to adults looking for exercise.

Since it opened in November 2009, the academy  has expanded considerably. It has more than doubled its space, most of it geared to students, adding more trampolines and cushioned floor space. But the Playscape is the academy’s attempt to reach out to more Fairfield families. The gym’s members or those who want to pay an extra walk-in fee can use the new addition any time the center is open.

“Basically, anyone that’s able to walk is able to use [the Playscape],” Marella said. “It’s best for 15 months to 8 years old, but even older kids can go in it.”

The Playscape consists of two separate jungle gym-like structures over a soft, padded floor. It has slides, cargo nets and other items you might find on an outdoor playground. But Marella stresses that the center specifically added parts with a gymnastics bent to them— such as a shaky bridge designed like a balance beam.

The academy is not done expanding yet. Right now construction crews are building a 3,000-square-foot area for parkour and freerunning , the sport that consists of running and maneuvering around obstacles in urban environments. When the gym is completed in October, it will be the first of its kind on the East Coast.

For hours and fees, visit the academy’s Website.

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