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I’ve never met a child who doesn’t wish they could fly

And now they can! I had the pleasure of visiting iFly DownUnder in Penrith, NSW last week and wow! What an experience!

Whether it is for Father’s Day, Christmas or your birthday, I’d be putting iFly on your wish list.

ifly kids 1iFly is a state of the art indoor skydiving facility that caters for all ages, with kids from as young as 3 being able to participate. Australia’s first indoor skydiving facility opened in Penrith just 3 months ago and five more sites are set to be open around the country in the near future with The Gold Coast being next on the list.

From the moment we arrived, the experience was phenomenal! The towering ‘wind tunnel’ was awe inspiring even from the outside. Even the staircase leading us to the top added to the anticipation with each step reading a thousand feet as we climbed. 1000ft, 2000ft, 3000ft, 4000ft.

ifly kids 2Right in front of us as we walked in was a huge 16ft wide glass tunnel with two of the more experienced instructors gracefully and effortlessly flying their bodies inside, flipping and somersaulting in the air. This show alone is worth the visit!

Something that really struck me about this place was the range of different people in the facility… Everyone from experienced award winning skydivers to 3 year olds, to adults 70 plus!

After we checked in we sat down to watch the other flyers until it was our turn for training. Gazing down into the depths of the tunnel invoked excitement and admittedly a little nervousness. As per usual all the kids were raring to go!

ifly kids 3After a short time our smiley instructor Tim called us into a room where we watched a short video about how to fly. Everything from hand signals to body position and a quick look at the gear we would be wearing was covered. The instructor took as through a practice session of our body position and we all got the thumbs up!

Now if you or your kids wear glasses, do not fear. They have special goggles that can go over the top so you can wear them for the flight. After hearing a few stories about people losing wedding rings and other bits and pieces in the tunnel, we took off all our loose items and stored them safely.

ifly kids 4The butterflies had kicked in as I strutted around in my suit but the kids were more excited than ever!

We walked single file into the holding chamber in the tunnel to take our places, but before we got started they invited all of us inside the huge tunnel to bounce around on the net and feel the air rush around us! Wow! The winds in this tunnel can be turned up to over 280km/hr!! For the more experienced fliers this is far more than a thrill ride, it’s a sport with ‘Bodyflight’ competitions being held all around the world with participant’s competing in many categories from artistic flying to ‘speed rounds’.

It was time…. We could hear and feel the wind increasing as we excitedly waited for our instructor Tim to gives us the nod. I launched into the tunnel with the help of Tim and started flying! Really flying! The first thing you notice is the strength of the wind and how it rushes all around you. The highly trained instructors never let you far from their grip and coach you all the way through with hand signals and extremely animated facial expressions. It’s actually surprisingly easy to get the hang of. Relax your body, chin up and smile!

Of course the kids were naturals which according to instructor Tim is common. iFly DownUnder even have a Junior iFlyer club with after school and weekend sessions for youngsters. If footy or dance lessons aren’t their thing, this very well could be! Bodyflight is a great way to keep kids active, improve coordination, build confidence and of course meet new friends!

They warned us as we arrived that flying is addictive and they were right! The feeling of effortlessly floating around inside the tunnel was incredible. In our last flight for the session the instructor cranked up the wind and whizzed us up to the top of the 13 metre tunnel and safely back to the net. For a moment you get to experience what would take hours of flying time to be able to accomplish alone.

Watching on as the other instructors spun and flipped and flew around the tunnel, it wasn’t surprising that so many become regular fliers.

Feeling euphoric as our session came to an end, we handed back our gear and high fived each other as we exited the tunnel. Looking through the photos and videos of our flights afterwards was hilarious. We never knew we could smile so wide!

We decided to stick around and grab a bite to eat while we watched the other flyers have their turns. Even the café there was amazing! UpRaw café supplies ultra-healthy foods that are delicious! No refined sugar is used in the café with a focus on healthy cooking techniques such as the intriguing ‘Air Fryer’ and the use of coconut oil. They of course offer Gluten free, lactose free and animal product free options.

iFly offers plenty of options for kid’s birthdays and other events with a focus on education and fun. This is definitely somewhere you want to check out.

Click here as iFly have specials running all the time and you can get all of the details here.

Thank you to Lex Stanley: Guest Dads Online writer and Skydiver.