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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Inside Play

I'm writing this post from one of the most amazing inventions I've ever come across for children. Near my house there is a place called DAC Kids. I'm sure I could post a few photos, but they wouldn't do justice to the scene that lays before my eyes. Apparently today is a busy day here, with several birthday parties underway. I see before me about 50 or so adults standing by watching as the nearly 100 kids immerse themselves in the wonders of the enormous indoor sandbox. Yep - you read that right - there's a sandbox inside. It isn't just any sandbox, either. It's HUGE. And right in the middle of the sandbox is a wooden jungle gym, playground thing. What are those called anyways, the swing set things that people put in their back yards for climbing and jumping and stuff? Well this one is as big as the sandbox and has rope ladders, benches, pirate flags, and cannons that shoot spongy balls. It also has about 50 occupants right now jumping, climbing, shooting, yelling, and screaming, two of which belong to me. Actually, my two are on the ground in the sand.

If that wasn't enough, to add to the confusion there are also several inflatable bouncy things here for the kids to romp upon. Basically, it's totally awesome. We can come here and play when it's too cold outside - or too hot - or too rainy - or just too boring. (I bought passes today so we can come every day if I so choose. I'm sure there are a couple of monsters around here who would thoroughly approve of that idea.)

The one thing I like most about this particular indoor playground is the security. There is one door for people to enter or exit. Oh, I'm sure there are other doors for safety purposes, but they are not generally in use. My kids can not possibly get out of the building without me seeing them (usually...Today might be different considering the large volume of people standing between me and the door.) That isn't all, though. When you come in, you get arm bands. Of course the bands are intended to show proof of payment, but they have numbers on them, too, and the parents are required to wear a band to go along with the kids' band. On the inside of my arm band there are two numbers written. Those numbers correspond to the number on the bands that Kira and Risa are wearing. On the inside of their bands is a number, too. You guessed it - it's MY number.
And when I get ready to leave, we have to remove our bands and show that we belong together before the employees will let us out the door. How cool is that? So even if you happen to come stalk me here - now that you know where I'll be spending a large portion of my time - you couldn't possibly leave with my kids. (Ha! Ha!)

Oh yeah - one more thing.... Adults without children are not allowed. My husband came one day to join us and I had to tell the owner that he was with me before they would let him in. Too funny.

I'm sure your local area has something similar to this. If they don't, and you're inclined to open your own business - this is SERIOUS business here. At $8.00 a head, these people are rolling in the dough. Few parents spring for the $85.00 per child annual passes and opt ot pay as they go. This is only our second or third visit and I finally had the available cash to make it possible to spring for the passes. I know we'll be here enough to make it cost effective in the long run. So if you don't already have a place like this - go open one. Hey, then your kids can play for FREE!!!


The Mother said...

When mine were little, there were places called Jungle Jim's. They were big indoor play places with ball pits and mats and big rolly things--no sandboxes though.

And you're right--the problem was security. You can't keep track of more than one in a place like that, but people came and went.

I just had to tell mine that if anyone tried to take them out the door but me, they were to scream bloody murder.

No one ever tried to take my kids--quite possibly because they were by far the most rambunctious.

Mia said...

My God, I so need one of these in our neck of the woods. It sounds like it would beat the heck out of that Chuck E. Cheese. My son loves the sand - it calms him.

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

Yes, it sounds like a lot of indoor and safe fun for the kids without parents worrying about them. It's a veritable indoor playground with lots of other kids playing along with your own. Thanks for this amusing post. God bless you always.

Bryan Karl said...

There is one playhouse in the mall and I love watching the kids play and enjoy. But I guess here in our country, such business wouldn't be too much of a hit. But thinking about it, it is absolutely cool!