'Inflatable kingdom' lets kids bounce off the walls

Published on Sunday, 10 August 2014 20:44 - Written by

BY CASEY MURPHY

cmurphy@tylerpaper.com

Kourtney Mendoza loves working with children.

Since taking over Bouncin off the Wallz in January, she enjoys being a part of giving kids a special day.

“I love getting to be here with the kids. … It’s so sweet to see their faces light up and have such a good time,” she said, adding that some kids don’t want to leave when their time at the “big party inflatable kingdom” is up.

She and her husband of five years, Angel Mendoza, grew up in Center and have lived in Tyler for nearly 10 years. Mrs. Mendoza, 29, worked as an ophthalmic technician for seven years before leaving to run the business. Her husband is a salesman for Ben E. Keith Foods.

Mrs. Mendoza never wanted to own a business, but “it just fell into our lap.”

“It was an awesome opportunity,” she said. She prayed a lot about whether they were making the right decision and felt like it was the right direction for the family, she said.

Bouncin off the Wallz has two large inflatable slides, a boxing ring and an obstacle course, as well as arcade games, air hockey and, soon, basketball. They rotate some of the attractions and will soon change out the obstacle course for a Velcro wall, where children can put on suits and throw themselves onto it.

She said there also is a toddler playground and bounce area, where bigger kids are not allowed. Mrs. Mendoza said they closely monitor the play areas to make sure everyone is safe and “where they’re supposed to be.”

The Mendozas have added a lot of activities since taking over the business, including character days. On July 25, they held a Cinderella Day, where about 75 children came to jump, meet Cinderella, have story time with the princess and got their faces painted.

“It was pretty intense,” she said.

She plans to do a “Frozen” themed day, in which Elsa will come meet the children, as well as Super Hero days, when kids can dress as their favorite character and bring their lunch to eat with the super heroes. She said they usually do the special events on Fridays, but she wants to add some on Sundays so working parents can bring their children.

Throughout the week, they offer open jumps, when anyone can play on the bounce houses and slides for $5. They also allow private groups, such as cheerleader squads, baseball teams and church groups, to rent out the space.

During the summer, the business offers open jumps from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, while Wednesdays and weekends are reserved for private parties. When school starts, they plan to be open two days during the week.

Weekend parties start at 10 a.m. and last two hours, with the last starting at 6:45 p.m. Different party packages are available, including the “incredible theme party,” where Bouncin Off The Wallz provides themed decorations and party supplies, as well as a cake, punch and a party attendant.

She said they also hope to do parent’s night out events on Friday nights.

They have four employees, and Mrs. Mendoza is often there running the business, while her husband helps out on weekends.

Since taking over the business, Mrs. Mendoza said it has been busy.

“It’s been a little overwhelming, honestly, but we’ve balanced it,” she said.

She said the business allows her to spend more time with her 3-year-old son, Maddox, who sometimes comes and plays on the bounce houses.

“What’s bad is he thinks everything up here is his,” she said.

Mrs. Mendoza was taking online courses through Stephen F. Austin State University to become an elementary school teacher but has decided to take a semester off so she can focus on running the new business and having a baby due in November.

She said taking classes is a “pretty full-time thing,” and she doesn’t know how she has found the time. She wants to one day be a teacher because she loves children and loves to see them learn and develop, she said.