How to pay $20 for a Ninja Warrior type experience – bouldering wall, ropes course, warped wall, zip lines and more

How to pay $20 for a Ninja Warrior type experience – bouldering wall, ropes course, warped wall, zip lines and more
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I have a friend who has an unfinished basement and four sons. Shortly after the debut of American Ninja Warrior, he went down to his basement and installed monkey bars on the ceiling joists. A few days later he went online and bought rock climbing holds and screwed them into plywood that he hung on the wall studs.

The first time I went down there I stayed for an hour and later than night went to bed hating myself for living in a house without an unfinished basement.

I feel this piece of information, and a little more, is necessary before I tell you about Kinetic Heights, a new adventure facility that Kid #1 and I visited last week.

Kinetic Heights’ grand opening will be Saturday, November 12 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. They’ll have a DJ, a food truck and activities for kids, and the facility will remain open for use after the event.

They invited the Agenda an early look at the facility. Here’s our experience.

Kinetic Heights

For context, I think kayaking at the U.S. National Whitewater Center and riding Backyard Trail in Madison Park and wakeboarding on Lake Norman are among the best things to do in this town.

I have no desire to sit inside on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon in the fall watching television despite the fact that I, too, love football. For these reasons and many more, Kid #1 and I showed up expecting to love the place. And we did.

I have three life mottos that, because I’m a self-employed 40-year-old father of two young kids and husband to a woman whose motto is “Safety First,” aren’t always achievable on a daily basis anymore.

(1) It hasn’t been a complete day unless the shower water turns brown from the dirt on your skin.

(2) Leave nothing in the tank.

(3) If you don’t scare yourself at least once a day then you’re not living.

Kinetic Heights will get you #2 and #3. The only reason it doesn’t get you #1 is because it’s inside.

The 22,000 square foot facility is located just off Providence Rd, sandwiched between the Olde Providence and Sherwood Forest neighborhoods.

The building is in an old strip mall that is in the process of being refurbished and upgraded.

Kinetic Heights resides in the anchor spot of what I was told was one of the original Harris Teeters in Charlotte. (Tip: Do not use verbal prompts to ask your phone to navigate to Kinetic Heights. They aren’t yet in the database of addresses and Siri will take you to the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. I hate Siri).

There’s also a Jewish deli next door if you want to grab lunch. Gleiberman’s has pretty amazing pastrami and corned beef – all made in house. The matzo ball soup was pretty awesome, too. I love Jewish food despite having no personal religious connection. In college I used to go to Passover Seders just for the food.

When we got home I checked out Gleiberman’s on Yelp and this was the first review: “This was either the best knish I’ve ever eaten or I was just really high when I ate it.” Preach. I digress.


Kinetic Heights is owned and operated by a team of people who are pretty passionate about the very distinct areas of the facility and bring a legitimate authenticity to the experience.

Jim used to help run the Crown Fitness Club uptown and leads the general fitness area and the pretty awesome Ninja training course, which includes a quintuple step, jumping spider wall, swing ladder, salmon ladder and full-sized warped wall.

There’s also a bouldering wall and an area for teaching parkour.

kinetic heights bouldering

It’s okay if you’ve never heard of any of these things.

Kinetic Heights is as much of a teaching facility as it is a run-around-and-play place. It’s not just for people who are in decent shape; it’s for anyone who wants to try new things and maybe continue to try them again. I’ll say this – you have to have a general desire to be active while at Kinetic Heights or you won’t have much fun.

Leanne is the sports/yogi/paddling/martial arts junkie who, along with Jim, teaches the fitness classes that are part of the daily programming, including bootcamp, athletic conditioning and yoga that incorporate various elements of the facility.

I didn’t do a fitness class because there wasn’t one going on when we were there, but Leanne seems like the kind of person who would be a great instructor. Before I got married, my wife took me to my first and only group exercise class. It was an athletic conditioning class at the Dowd Y, where we proceeded to do nothing but squats and lunges for 45 minutes while a female instructor stood in front of me and yelled every time I stopped. When I got home I had to ice the underside of my butt for two days. Leanne wouldn’t yell at you in a fitness class. Think ripped NorCal mom with a flat-brimmed hat who owns a long board and actually uses it.

Brian, an experienced challenge course builder and former rock climber who has a very gruesome story about why he no longer climbs, oversees the ropes course and zip lines.

There is an easier course for kids and a more difficult one for adults. The kids obstacles were challenging but not too difficult for my second grader, who loves ropes courses. I followed him on the kids course due to his height but I didn’t do the adult course. It looked fun and people who love ropes courses will love it, but I’m not really a ropes course guy.

Something about having my manhood cupped into a midevil-looking jockstrap doesn’t appeal to me.

kenetic heights ropes course

Kid #1 also loved the zip line, which he did at least ten times and probably would have done ten more if it weren’t time to leave. He saved it until last because he always saves what he loves the most until last – like the bacon on his plate in the morning.

kenetic heights zipline

Again, the zip line looked like fun but I’m not a zip liner, which is not the fault of Kinetic Heights. In addition to disliking harnesses, I don’t like doing anything that involves adult supervision. I’d rather just try something and see if I can avoid hurting myself the first time I do it.

My wife, in a pleasant manner, reminds me that many things I think are idiotic. So, again, bonus points for Kinetic Heights.

So how do you go? Kinetic Heights has daily grounds passes that provide up to three hours of open play. Prices are around $20-25 depending upon the length of play, peak hours and desired features. K-Classes (hour-long workouts) run around $15. Kinetic Heights can host birthday parties, group outings and teambuilding.

On Friday nights, it plans to host competitive events for high schoolers and adults.

kinetic heights wall climb

I ate most of the corned beef on the car ride home. Gleiberman’s!

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