Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Indoor Playground!!

Snow, snow and more snow...winter's "outdoor playground"

So...in a town where the temperature has been subzero for months and the snow is packed so high we're at risk of our first flood in decades - how many indoor playgrounds do we have? Counting Snoopers, fast food joints and the Gateway Mall: about 3. (unless something is hiding in Bismarck that I don't know about...) Embarrassing, isn't it?

So, the Park Board is building it's very first indoor playground inside the Aquatic Center!!! As a mom of little kids, this makes me VERY EXCITED (hear me cheer!)!!! Finally, a place to go during that too-short-but-too-long hour while Big Kid is at after-school activities, or I find myself with a restless Tiny Girl and Little Guy during yet another snowy day...

So, what exactly are the specifics? Well, that's debatable - a final design is not set in stone, but I can tell you what I know:

1. About 1500 square feet of playspace with a ramp leading down leaving about 10 feet in height - high enough for 6-7 foot slides

2. Seating for moms and dads, as well as cubbies to stash the kids' stuff

3. Located directly behind the reception desk, adjacent to the Community Rooms - so birthday parties may be an option during off-peak times

4. A preliminary plan shows a movable wall revealing windows to the warm pool - this should allow parents to sit in the Community Room area and have eyes on both the lesson pool and the playground simultaneously - NICE!

5. The same plan also shows a Family Restroom - the door is just up the ramp from the play area - a potential nursing area may be located here (yay for forward thinking park planners!)

6. Big Kids and Little Kids should be happy with the final design - it is not yet available, but park planners are trying their best to provide a "big kid" bouldering section in addition to little kiddo slides and climbing equipment

7. The park system is NOT planning "gerbil cages" such as climbing tubes and places inaccessible to parents - making the area easy to keep clean and handicapped accessible - also eliminating the need for me to climb through 50 feet of tubes to catch Little Guy when he doesn't want to come out (yes, this has happened!!!)

The design and theme are still under debate, but some fun possibilities (at least I think they'd be fun) would be a theme such as "Under the Sea" or "Mr Bubble's Tub" (see Why "The Bubble?" post below) or even an island theme - kind of an escape from the winter blahs. What do you think???

To see the playground's location, view the layout of the aquatic center - visit http://www.bisparks.org/ and scroll to the bottom of the page, click on the picture of the Aquatic Center and visit the 2nd page. Keep in mind the area between the community rooms and playground is NOT THE FINAL plan - park planners are still coming up with the best situation for the use of the space for both parents and kids. Go Park Board!

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