Review 2014: Airkix in Basingstoke

Warning: These are the only photo’s that you will ever see of me on NHM :-D. 

I committed to myself at the beginning of the year, that this would be MY year. (and it REALLY has been. 2014 has been an amazing year for me!!)

As part of this I made a decision early on this year, that I would do a Sky Dive for charity in 2015. (A few people have been very critical of this as I’m a parent, but life’s too short not to take the odd risk now and then, whether you are a parent or not!!)

Next year is a “big” birthday for me (21 again!!!) and I would love it if my family and friends donated money for me to Sky Dive to raise funds for Sebastian’s Action Trust, instead of buying me a birthday present.

I wanted to try Airkix first, to see if I could *hack* a Sky Dive.

So, Mr NHM bought me an awesome birthday present, which I cashed in on Sunday.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect and was a little terrified.

But…it was SOOOOOO AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was so amazing that I have booked my Sky Dive, two days after Airkix! lol.

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Play

Once you have brought your Airkix ticket you need to book your slot online. During school holidays and weekends it can get very busy, so I booked at least a month in advance and then promptly forgot about it. DON’T DO THIS! Make sure you read the paperwork that gets sent to you at least a few days in advance.

When you arrive, you will need to complete a “Statement of Risk” disclaimer on the computer terminals. You are supposed to complete this at home, in advance, but I completely missed this bit. (Sorry Airkix!!!) It takes a bit longer than you would think because the keyboard has clearly been used many times before.

If you’ve had shoulder problems, you also need to confirm that you are ok to jump.

Once everyone arrives (I was dying of embarrassment that we were late), you then get taken upstairs to a room with a video and asked to watch the 5 minute video which explains everything you need to know and remember.

I was very pleased to see that I wasn’t the oldest person in the room. However, it was a little misleading as a few parents were sitting with their children and the parents didn’t actually jump. Sneaky!!!

The video covers quite a bit and I’m sure if you are younger and not so stressed about being late, you would take in a lot more. I tried to concentrate on the hand movements that you need to watch for, as you can’t hear or talk in the wind tunnel.

Luckily, I didn’t really have any time to become nervous. Once the video has finished, you then suit up.

You are given a lovely jump suit and helmet, goggles and then you can also have ear plugs. I wore these as I’m partially deaf anyway, so really couldn’t hear anything! lol.

Then, it’s time to go. You are taken into the ar-locked area of the wind tunnel and you sit on the bench. The other side of the wind tunnel are the spectators. I think this was the worst bit! Knowing that people were watching you!?!?!?!

I was 5th in the queue. It was fab watching everyone else, but this was the point where I started to get nervous.

When it was my turn, I could literally feel all of the spectator’s eyes on me. I was by far the oldest “girl” and I think they were expecting me to freak out of flake out. (I didn’t, I loved it and am REALLY proud of that fact! lol.)

Then, before you know it, it’s your turn….

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I didn’t realise how much you needed to concentrate. I think I just expected it to “happen”. It did happen but you need to make sure you were paying attention to the hand signals. It actually takes a lot of control.

I had two jumps of two minutes each. About 1.40 seconds into the first jump I had to get out. My back was KILLING ME! It’s not used to being arched in such a direction, so the instructor did two, one minute sessions next for me, rather than two minutes in one hit. This was much better.

I managed to do a 360 degree turn in both directions, went sideways and up and down. It was amazing how little movement was needed to move around.

In my last “jump” I was taken up and down the wind tunnel by the instructor. This was AMAZING and, despite grinning like an idiot and trying not too dribble everywhere, it was a real highlight. This is the bit that secured the Sky Dive booking for me :-D.

After everyone has done their jump and the photo’s have been taken, you then take off your gear and are given your certificates. I’m very proud of my certificate and it’s displayed next to the award I won for NHM earlier in the year.

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The instructor said I was a natural, which I’m sure is what helped my enjoyment, plus not having the time to get nervous in advance.

When you have finished you check out downstairs and have the option to buy repeat jumps at a reduced price.

Guess who knows what she’s getting for Christmas :-D.

Tips

Check your paperwork BEFORE the day of your jump. DO NOT do what I did and check it the morning of your jump, only to realise that you have to be there AT LEAST an hour before your scheduled time. We left the house in 7 minutes. This was the fastest time we have EVER left the house! lol.

(Thankfully, I was only 20 minutes late and the staff were lovely about it. We were THAT family though! I think if we had been 25 mins late, I would have lost my slot.)

Breath. I didn’t realise until after my first jump that I had been holding my breath. Nearly two minutes of holding ones breath is a long time. Make sure you breath!!!!

You will dribble. Not just at the “easy on the eye” Instructors ;-).

You will also ache the following day. Three days on and my stomach muscles haven’t quite forgiven me. So worth it though!!!!!

Leave your jewellery at home. It’s not recommended to wear it in the wind tunnel.

Non-participating children cannot be left alone, so make sure you bring someone along with you to watch them.

If you have long hair, tie your hair back as you don’t want it whipping around you in the wind tunnel.

Food

n/a

Facilities

Are excellent as it’s a very new facility. To be fair though, we didn’t do much exploring. Did I mention we were late? <blush>.

Baby Facilities

Not really sure, I was too excited to check these out.

Parking

Is free in Basingstoke Leisure Park

Prices

Are actually very reasonable for what you get.

There are also a few special offers that you can book on the day, for your next Airkix flight, which I may or may not have booked on the day because I loved it so much :-D.

Rating out of 5

10 out of 5. If only to prove to yourself that you aren’t JUST a Mum. 😉

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22 things to do with an under 7 year old in Basingstoke when it’s raining

I recently put a plea out on “Louise nhm Smith“, asking if anyone has any suggestions of posts they would like me to investigate.

Wendy came back with some great suggestions. One of her suggestions was for me to do some more research on places, other than soft play, to go on a weekend when it rains.

Great suggestions for a post, so thank you Wendy and here are my suggestions. Hope they are useful!

22 things to do with an under 7 year old in North Hampshire when it’s raining

1. Libraries

Libraries are a great place to take your little one when it’s raining. They nearly always have an area that is dedicated to children. They also have some fantastic services available. Did you know that it isn’t mandatory for your child to pay late fee’s on their books (I pay anyway, as I love my local library and if we don’t support them, then they could easily be shut down).

These are some previous posts that have featured on NHM about libraries in the area and the services they offer:

Library Membership

Below is a list of Libraries in the North Hampshire area:

2. Local Museums

Our local museums do lots of events for children.

Milestones Museum

The Willis Museum

3. Kids Cinema

Saturday Morning Cinema Club – Odeon or Vue

  • Cheap tickets for children and adults go free.
  • For Odeon – recommend joining their premier club as it allows you to collect points and use them to pay for tickets or food.
  • Don’t forget to check out the Newbie session if you have a baby.

4. Places to Go

Lots of places close down for the Winter season so it can be hard to know what’s still open. These are the places that I know that are still open over Winter:

Finkley Down Farm

Intech Science Centre in Winchester

Alice Holt, Farnham

The Vyne

The Living Rainforest, nr Newbury, Berkshire (keep your receipt as it’s valid for a year)

Longleat Safari Park

This is a list of all of the places that I’ve Reviewed since NHM began, including lots of places that are free to visit.

5. Coffee Shops

There are lots of coffee shops in the area who are particularly welcoming of children. Check out the post below with a list of local cafe’s:

Reasonably Priced Afternoon Tea’s

I particularly like the Little Roses Coffee shop and The Parlour Tea rooms, who go out of their way to make children welcome.

6. Swimming

We are very lucky to have so many swimming pools in the area. I’ve been meaning to do a post about local swimming pools for AGES. I published a post in the very early days but it didn’t have the links in. I really should get that sorted and published again!

This is a list of swimming pools in the area:

These posts may also be useful:

Swimming with babies

Swimming Pools in North Hampshire suitable for Babies and Children

8. Covered Shopping

If your lucky enough that your children can be restrained in a pushchair, you can’t beat wondering around a shopping centre, window shopping and people watching.

Festival Place

Mothercare, Hatch Warren – they have baby changing facilities and it’s great to let your children have a look at all the toys. Honest.

The Oracle at Reading

Ikea at Southampton or Reading – excellent breastfeeding room and great free creche for your over 3’s.

Marks and Spencers Camberley

9. Puddle Jumping!

Wrap everyone up in their waterproofs and go splashing in the puddles. This works for pushchairs too, but I recommend making sure the rain cover is on ;-).

Miss NHM has been puddle jumping since she could walk and it’s by far one of her favourite activities. Even without her welly boots on. Grr :-D.

10. Pots2Paint – Viables Craft Centre

I love Pots2Paint and it’s great fun to work with the team to create presents that are going to be treasured.

11. Breakfast with Children

Also check out the posts listed below for posts that have been published on NHM that you may find useful:

10 Places to Breakfast “out” with Children in North Hampshire

12. Games you can play with your little ones

Coloured spaghetti

Dry food play

Making Gloop

A Toddler box of tricks

Other Suggestions

13. Airkix Indoor Skdyiving 4 years and upwards apparently!

14. Hobbycraft – do free pre schooler classes during term time, but I can’t see anything on their site that shows this. Maybe it’s school holidays only?

15. Bowling – we took Miss NHM Bowling on her 2nd birthday and she loved it!

16. Ice Skating . Try the Ice Tots class first if you are nervous about taking your little ones out on the ice.

17. Pets At Home, Tadley Pet Supplies or the Aquatics shop at Wyevale Garden Centre.

18. Trampolining at the Active Life Centre and JumpFactory.

19. Show your children some of the military history of this country. You could try the Royal Navy Submarine Museum at Gosport, the Army Flying Museum near Andover or the Gurka Museum in Winchester.

20. Take your child on a steam train. The Watercress Line isn’t far away and is a brilliant experience.

21. Visit an Aquarium. I think the nearest ones to Basingstoke are the Blue Reef Aquarium in Portsmouth or the London Aquarium. Or you could take your children along to one of the local fish shops.

22. Take your child to the theatre. The Anvil and The Haymarket have regular children’s performances.

23. Nature Detectives – great for inspiring the family!

Do you have any suggestions that should be added to this list?

Related Posts

8 Cheap or Free Rainy Day Activities in Basingstoke

5 Places for Sunday lunch, with Children, in North Hampshire

8 “Cheap” Restaurants in Basingstoke (Meal for 2 for under £15)

9 Foody Places to go as a group of Mums with babies/toddlers

Local Parks and Open Spaces

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