By Kelly Youngblood
As if we needed one more reason to hit Market Place Mall (soft pretzels anyone?), the local shopping mecca just got a lot more enticing– especially if you happen to be 42 inches or under.
Market Place Mall recently revamped its indoor play area, which now boasts bright, brand new carpet and fresh, clean play structures. The play land includes a little slide and a few interactive climbing/crawling structures. If you see a handprint or footprint on the equipment, touch it and see what happens!
There’s even a television viewing area complete with cushy bean bags for kids to plop down on and relax. With its primary colors and alphabet/numbers theme, the area is a happy place for any infant, toddler or preschooler.
The area also has a new name: “Tot Lot.” I took my 9-year-old nephew and my 3-year-old daughter to check out the newly updated indoor play area last week. I’m sure you can guess which one of them really dug the new digs and which one kept staring at the nearby arcade with stars in his eyes.
Of course, the area isn’t really designed to keep the bigger kids busy (the rules clearly state the area is for children 42 inches and under). But as most of us moms and mall-goers know, that didn’t stop the older, taller, bigger kids from climbing all over the equipment before the upgrade.
The new “Tot Lot” is more geared towards the littler ones, so that may curb some of the bigger kid’s desires to join in the fun. After five minutes, my nephew voiced his opinion on the remodeled playground. “This isn’t fun. Can we leave?”
I guess he wasn’t too impressed.
But that’s okay. Technically, it’s not for him anyway. I’ll just have to remember to bring more quarters for the arcade next time. Quarters will also come in handy for the assortment of rides nearby. Those rides haven’t changed and unfortunately, neither have their prices.
Bottom line: The new upgrade is a big improvement for the little ones in your life. However, the bigger kids may need to sit back on the sidelines and enjoy a soft pretzel.
Editor’s Note: Visit our list of Champaign-Urbana area indoor play areas here.
Kelly is a mom to three wild and wonderful children and a freelance writer for a weekly newspaper. She has lived in the “suburbs” of C-U for more than two decades, but is always finding something new and interesting to do in the area.