Apparently, John’s Incredible Pizza and Chuck E. Cheese kids’ birthday parties are passé. Nowadays, kids are kicking off each new year with the trendier activities like indoor rock climbing activity. Personally, I dig the trend-I was never really down for the germ-infested ball pools and arcades.

In the past year, I’ve taken my 9 year-old daughter to two or three indoor rock climbing birthday parties at Sender One in Santa Ana. The kids always looked like they were having a great time and climbing looked like something I could do without hurting myself too badly. After all, I consider myself semi-athletic-ish. I mean, I was a pretty mean dodge ball player back in the day (elementary school counts, right?), and in my adult years, I’ve ran (ok, speed-walked) a couple 5k’s. So, one day, on a whim, I decided to have my own rock climbing party at Sender One with me, myself, and I.

Sender One, touted as Southern California’s world-class climbing gym, is one of the biggest and tallest climbing gyms in the whole country. The gym is quite impressive and surprisingly, not daunting at all, even for a novice like myself. Sender One caters to all ages (well, 40 lb-minimum) and skill levels. They provide climbing classes for beginners as well as new routes and boulder problems every week to keep frequent climbers challenged. You can purchase day passes, packages, memberships (options, options, options!) and don’t worry about gear—they have rentals! Lastly, don’t think I didn’t take advantage of full access to their fitness facilities and yoga classes.

So, if you’re looking for a good physical and mental challenge, climb on over to Sender One. I left there feeling pretty accomplished (and with all my bones intact)…I completed several climbs, fit in some kettle bell and medicine ball workouts, and even made some new friends. And the week-long muscle soreness was totally worth it!

Sender One SNA
1441 S. Village Way
Santa Ana, CA 92705

Donna Estudillo

Donna Estudillo

RN and associate program director for a non-profit charity, plus mom who's working on being the hardest spiritual gangsta around, living the YOLO life and enjoying mishaps along the way. Current vibes: only positive ones -- which have led to her blog ( "Am I 40 Yet?" is an idea conceived after turmoil, inspired by a determination to get her sh*t together, and launched at the start of her 38th year. She writes, she learns, she shares…and hopefully, she entertains and inspires.
Donna Estudillo

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