Another great review from Christina, otherwise known as Hampton Roads Mom, as our guest blogger with her great review of the Indoor Play Area at Patrick Henry Mall. Make sure to check out her website with lots of information for families on the Hampton Roads Peninsula at Hampton Roads Mom!
Review - Patrick Henry Mall's NEW Play Area
When Patrick Henry Mall announced that there would be a new play area, I believe I heard sighs of relief on the Peninsula. The closest play area of its kind until now had been at MacArthur in Norfolk--not a drive I particularly care for with having to navigate the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel and since there is no shopping there that I prefer.
We went on a Monday morning around 10am. It was practically empty and perfect for the toddlers in our group. From standers to early walkers to runners, our kids were all able to find something that suited their fancy.
Highest on their list, of course, was the yellow submarine slide. ~We all live in a yellow submarine...~ Oh, wait...it's not music time, but that's exactly what I was thinking as I saw the slide in all of it's yellow submarine glory.
There were these great figures to play in, on and around. Missing from these photos is a turtle the kids can climb on and a fish 2-piece sculpture that includes a ramp as the one piece and a bridge-like piece as the other.
And then on 3 of the 4 walls, there were these great activity centers. At this one, you move the fish and other sea creatures around the board. There was another which allowed the child to spin the whole thing around and beads would move. A third had children twisting a knob which would catapult a bead (or beads) up and around the maze inside of it.
- developmentally appropriate toys and play areas
- lots of seating along the wall for parents and other caretakers
- all *new*, which means no broken parts and it's clean
- rules clearly posted at the entrance
- defined stroller parking outside the entrance
- one entrance only (plus an additional emergency exit which remains closed)
- the parents and caretakers -- This isn't to point out that we as parents are a negative to our children's experiences, but instead to point out that there are rules for a reason, and they are meant to be followed (i.e. stroller parking OUTSIDE of the area because otherwise they become obstacles for our little ones)
- area isn't visibly monitored by the mall to make sure equipment is used appropriately and children aren't too old to be in the area (there is no security officer as there is at the MacArthur play area)
- the rules -- Talking with other parents, some wished that eating or drinking was allowed within the play area (most did anyway) as long as the parent was monitoring and cleaned up after themselves.
Please check out the Patrick Henry Mall calendar for other events!