Originally published July 27, 2017
In the heat of the summer, there are some positives about a cooler weather wave: more time outside before “the slides get hot,” less sweating, and a general increase in comfort. A cooler day can be invigorating for both parents and kids. So when I saw the weather reports that we would get some lower temperatures this week, I was excited! But in true summer fashion, the looming threat of thunderstorms remains constant. It puts a damper on potential playground plans. So this week, it seemed best to spotlight a free place to play indoors. It fits the playground necessity of the day while keeping our wallets happy. Here’s one of my easy “go-to”s for younger kids: the Montgomery Mall.
If you haven’t been here already, the play area sits outside of Sears on the lower level of Montgomery Mall – conveniently close to the glass elevator (nice if you’re bringing a stroller down from the upper level). It’s a small enclosure that keeps kids relatively contained without gating them in. Strollers can be parked outside, though it’s common to see strollers with infants inside the play area while the older kids play.
The play equipment provides some climbing areas, a small slide, and entertaining attractions around the edges. Kids can climb on and through the “coral mountain” (as I call it – not sure if it has an official name) or conquer a climb on the shark or octopus. Around the edges, there is an electronic piano, light toys, mirrors, and spinning apparatuses. There are some electronic games on a touch screen – though these are on and functioning inconsistently. In the small area it has, it provides some nice variety to keep kids engaged.
For parents, it’s a comfortable visit. Benches line most of the perimeter with cubbies for shoes underneath (kids are supposed to have shoes off and socks on in here). There are trash cans and charging stations on both sides. To interject a “Mom Confession” here: if you need that few minutes to check up on some things while the kids are safely playing, this is a good space to try! 🙂
The bathrooms here significantly improved in the last year or so. Thanks to some renovations, there are now two family restrooms adjacent to the play area. It’s close enough that you can make a quick break for it if necessary! Once inside, the restrooms have two toilets and a sitting/nursing area. They even have some toilets and sinks at a lower level for kids. So if you can get in here, it’s pretty good.
To be honest: this play area is best for toddlers, preschoolers, and young school aged kids. Though older kids can find ways to enjoy their time, the design caters to the younger crowd.
Because you’re at the mall, there are plenty of opportunities to make this a genuine outing instead of merely a playground trip. You can stop for coffee before, grab some lunch/dinner, or just walk the mall after playing to blow off that additional steam. So if you’re in a pinch on a rainy day and looking for somewhere close and easy, give this one a try!