To me, indoor rock climbing is one of those things I’ve been curious about for a long time.  Memphis doesn’t have a dedicated place for this activity – but BRIDGES opens their doors to the public a few times each month and anyone (all ages) can enjoy as much climbing as your body can stand.  We went with both kids, and our nine year old was excited to climb.  Our four year old looked at the lady like she was nuts when offered to climb, but the volunteers there said she’s seen kids younger than him reach the top.  Pretty impressive!


Getting hooked up to the gear

BRIDGES is an impressive place, and the climbing wall is big.  We were the first climbers to arrive, but by the time we left some ropes had lines of more than five people waiting to climb.  The wait goes quickly though, but getting there early helps.  It’s a big open room, with plenty of space for little kids to run around.  You don’t pay unless you are climbing.  There are bathrooms, but no water fountains in the main room, so you might want to bring your own.


The climbing wall – there are 11 or 12 ropes to choose from, with varying degrees of difficulty

My big kid was nervous, as was my husband.  On his first try my son didn’t make it to the top, but he was eager to try another spot.  Then he made it – and was really proud of himself (we were proud of him too).


He did it!

I did it!!

I did it!!

Wear workout clothes, you need to be able to move easily and you’re probably going to sweat a little.  You can wear your own shoes or rent climbing shoes.  There is also a ropes course attached to the ceiling (see photo below).  Using that is a separate admission charge, and it’s not open every time, so check their website for more information.  This is a great family outing, or make it a date night.  There were all shapes, sizes and ages there – so just go and have fun!  Check their website for upcoming dates and pricing.


There are two types of open climb times at BRIDGES.  Check their Facebook page for the schedule:

  1. During ClimBRIDGES, volunteers belay climbers on multiple routes.  There are concessions, music, tables, and ample staffing to handle this bigger climbing event.
  2. ClimBLOCK is set up more like a climbing gym.  There is usually just one staff member running the desk and the wall is open to climbers.  There are auto belays up so you can climb by yourself, while being protected, on specific routes.  Other roped climbs can be used by certified belayers.  These Events happen 2-4 times a week.  This is still a beginner-friendly event.

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477 North Fifth Street, Memphis