The biggest bounce house in the world is taking over the Wheatley Heights Sports Complex on the San Antonio’s East Side Friday through Sunday.
The Bouncer, which clocks in at 11,400 square feet, holds the Guinness World Record for biggest bounce house. It is open to people of all ages, as long as they have a ticket and wear socks. Each day has multiple bounce sessions for different age groups, The Big Bounce America tour manager Danielle Hodge said.
“Everybody that goes in gets one hour in the bounce house,” she said. “The toddler session is 3 and under, then we have the junior session which is 7 and under, the bigger kid session is 15 and under, and the adult session is 16 and up.”
Adults can bounce with their kids, but still have to purchase a ticket for that session to allow organizers to account for total weight, she said.
Scottish DJs Cammy Craig and Grahame Ferguson co-founded The Big Bounce America last year, touring 15 major cities in the U.S. with the Bouncer. They were inspired after frolicking in a bounce house at a music festival, Ferguson explained in a press release.
“We were producing an event as part of a big musical festival and the organizers had created a small family section, which included a fairly standard bounce house,” she said in a prepared statement. “When the kids weren’t using it and nobody was looking, we snuck on and bounced around like [we] were kids again. Then it dawned on us … What if we made a much bigger bounce house? What if we built the biggest one in the world?”
Hodge said the two founders sat down with designers and “ran with it,” selling out the first year’s tour.
“It ended up working and being a success, which made them have two tours [this year] – East Coast and West Coast,” she said.
Hodge is traveling with the West Coast tour. This year, The Big Bounce America upped the total number of destinations from 15 to 59 cities and added a Bounce Village, made up of smaller bounce houses, an obstacle course, and a giant slide.
The Big Bounce America West Coast tour visited El Paso last weekend, and will stop in Houston next week. The tour finishes in New Orleans the week after that.
Hodge said the whole setup – Bounce House and Bounce Village – takes around seven hours to build and seven hours to break down at the end of the weekend. All the equipment is pressure-washed before being set up at each new location, and Hodge’s team has gotten fixing leaks and cleaning up messes down to a science, she said.
Hodge said her favorite part of her job is seeing kids’ reactions to the main Bounce House.
“I sneak off inside and watch all the kids, look at their faces, and see how excited they are – that’s my favorite,” she said. “They’re enjoying all the activities, so you’ll see some kids in front of the DJ booth and doing their dances.”
She confirmed all kids inevitably do the floss dance.
“They won’t stop doing that, and the one where they have their fist the air,” she laughed. “And the DJ is doing it with them.”
The Big Bounce America will be in San Antonio from Friday, Oct. 19 to Sunday, Oct. 21. Ticket prices range from $12 to $21, and an additional $6 provides all-day access to the Bounce Village. There will also be a sensory-friendly bounce house session on Friday at 1 p.m. for children with autism, at which no DJ will be present. If weather conditions cause canceled sessions, customers can request a full refund.