If you are anything like my mommies group, we wanted something inside for our kids this past week. We combed the Internet, trying to come up with something creative and fun that fit the bill. Then Carolina Parent came out with their best picks for the Triangle and Monkey Joe's was on the top of the list. We decided to give it a try. It is indoor walk-in fun for all ages, but what got us was the advertised separate toddler area.
I can see why Monkey Joe's is so popular for parents, and kids. This is very similar to JumpZone. There are many large inflatable bounces and slides for kids to run around. There is wireless Internet for parents, as well as a few computers available if you didn't bring or don't own a laptop. There are also, for the parents, HD televisions and massage chairs. It was great to watch the parents relaxing while kids were bouncing around. Parents work hard, they deserve some time to rest!
This place is a little more flashy and put-together than JumpZone. I, personally, thought JumpZone had more physical space for kids. Monkey Joe's was really crowded. But then it was a very hot summer day where a lot of parents obviously had the same idea we did.
The snack bar was very impressive, and also full of toys and games to buy.
As for the toddler area, it was a great idea but I think we had higher expectations based on the website. If you have multiple children and one is toddler aged, this might be a great fit for you. But for us, we found the toddler area itself a little lacking. It was walled off, which was nice, but did not have a door so we had a serious case of the runaway babies. And the runaway babies ended up amidst the chaos of the older kids running hard. There were a few toys on the wall (3) in the toddler area but not too much beyond that.
There was a "toddler" bounce. It was a special bounce dedicated to children 3 & under. But the entrance to this bounce is big enough only for the kids. Average Adults can not fit through there (and trust me, I was contemplating it since C would have loved it). So that means you send your child unattended into a bounce and you can't get to him at all in any way. And he has to figure out how to get out on his own. I personally felt a little uncomfortable with that, so C didn't get to go in. It was really great, though, for kids 3 and 4 years old and they seemed to be ruling the roost in there.
I did take C into a bounce for older kids. But there are strict rules about adults getting in and participating. You can go in if you have to, but no bouncing. What's up with that?!
I know that there were employees supervising the children's activities, but the ratio was pretty low simply because this place was so packed on this hot day.
This place is really clean. Everything is wiped down well and very well tended.
Prices were very reasonable for the 2 and under crowd ($5/child). Check the website (see links below) for full pricing details and frequent user discounts.
Again, hours vary at the locations so you may want to call. For the most part, though, walk-ins are their business (although they do parties) so it seems that they are generally open.
We paired our outing with lunch at the local Noodles & Co.
Overall, Monkey Joe's is a great indoor play place. But the word has definitely gotten out and you will have to fight other weary parents for those massage chairs!
http://www.monkeyjoes.com/cary/pricing - Prices
1747 Walnut Street
http://www.monkeyjoes.com/raleigh/pricing - Prices
6220 Glenwood Avenue