Where to go when the Zoo is a Zoo

I LOVE INDOOR PLAY PARKS IN THE SUMMER.

There, I said it. I find immense joy in bringing my kids to an INDOOR play park on beautiful days, rainy days, HOT days, and days where the zoo is, well, a zoo. Now, give me a minute to explain.

1.The Zoo is a Zoo

Yes, beautiful weather, especially where I’m located (Minnesota) is rare. I mean, when you’re talking rain and ice 85% of the year, it’s rare. So when the weather is beautiful, it’s a blast to be in the fresh, outdoor air. But guess what? So are 98% of the other Minnesotans. Everyone is greedy for that good old Vitamin D, they pack up their double wide strollers and over take the Zoo, the parks, and the beaches. Suddenly, that relaxing trip to the zoo turns into fighting thousands of preschoolers to see the lethargic tigers (who are also soaking up the D).

So, call me crazy, but we hit up the quiet indoor play ground with our best friends. We have the place to ourselves (or we share with a few other BRILLIANT humans). Our indoor play ground has an art room, a play gym, a theater, an interactive room, and so much more… We can spend the whole morning doing what we love to do best - play. And then, guess what? In the afternoon, we hit up the drive way, play with chalk, and soak in that fresh air. My kids aren’t begging to go somewhere fun, because they got to do an awesome, private play park in the AM. And mama can sit, and mama likes to sit.

2. Hot Mama, Crabby Babies

I sweat. A lot. It’s like the day I gave birth to my oldest, my pores opened up and said “YOU SHALL NEVER BE DRY AGAIN”. So me an my waterfall pits struggle in the heat. So instead of sweating my booty off walking to the park, chasing my 1 year old around as he tests his balance on 8ft tall openings all around the park, I enjoy the cool A/C that comes along with our time at the indoor play ground. Sorry sweaty pits, not today.

3. Pregnancy.

Speaking of sweating, last summer I was pregnant. We hadn’t found our indoor play park at this point. Instead, I was creating sweaty footprints all around town, while guzzling my 90 ounce water bottle, with my swollen feet and exhausted body.

Oh, and did I forget to mention my inability to pack ANYTHING while pregnant? My poor daughter, we’d get to the local park and I forgot to pack her a snack, water bottle, and sunscreen. But I did manage to make her potty before we left, so it was a partial win. Regardless, our indoor play park has all the necessary things, so when I forget, they have them - snacks, socks, water, etc. It’s like a pregnant brain’s dream.

Babies & Heat

This one’s self explanatory. When we head to the beach, it took us more time to pack up than it did to actually stay there. Because my little guy could only take so much heat. sun, and big sister throwing sand in his eyes. She’s a good big sister, I swear. Anywho..

I CAN SIT.

Look, I’m an awesome mom. I chase my kids daily. But I also sleep 1/5th of what I used too, I’m always playing catch up and cleaning up after them at the house. So when I get a chance to sit, AND STILL ENJOY MY CHILDREN, I take it. I’m not (always) sitting on my phone, I’m watching and engaging with them as they stay TRAPPED within the confines of the indoor play ground. No muss, fuss, or constant chasing from death-defying falls. Instead, we’re having a nice, cool place to play. It’s every summer’s dream.

-Katie Shannon