Hopper's House: Open Play & Drop-Off Childcare
Hopper's House closed 6/2011.
On a hot day in August, Sarah C. and I took the boys to yet another indoor play area. I like to call Hopper's House in Apex "mini-Marbles." Just as much fun stuff to do, yet not as hard for a Chapel Hill-ian to get to. And not as crowded. We had a good time!
Hopper's House is a little tucked away. In an Apex community off of Apex Barbecue Road, I am not sure how many people know about this. It isn't a large space, but it serves up fun for all ages.
What we loved was the "creative play" station in the middle. A big sand box, a train table, a play kitchen, clothes for dress up, books, dolls, Mr. Potato Heads, blocks, and much more. This was especially great for toddlers, but kids of all ages were in this area. The only unfortunate part is that, from a mom-with-a-toddler perspective, the area was not gated off to the main area. So I had a case of the runaway babies again as C decided he wanted to be with the big kids.
There are 3 bounces indoors, 2 of which are dedicated solely to kids 5 & under (the older kids get the big bounce in the back). There is a climbing wall, air hockey table, and basketball hoop also for the older kids. There is also "technology" area-- where there are 2 playstations and 2 computers with online computer games (I saw PBSkids.org). It was a little disheartening to see a bunch of boys glued to tv sets when there were so many active things to do, but I understand how for some kids this is a huge treat. I am not sure how they regulate time. I remember my little brother being fixed on the Nintendo until he beat the game, and sharing was not part of his gaming vocabulary. No fights while we were there, though.
There are refreshments for sale here. Not a huge selection, but enough for a snack and there is a soda fountain. There is also an area with tables and chairs. Hopper's House does parties.
In regards to entry prices, you pay for the child, adults don't pay. Children under 1 are free. After that it is $7.50 per child all day play.
Another nice thing about Hopper's House? They have a drop off option. You can drop your children off to play and you can leave and run errands. Drop off care is $8 per hour for the first child, and each child after that goes down a quarter per hour (e.g. Kid 1 is $8/hour, Kid 2 is $7.75). Unlike Green Kids, they don't guarantee a certain ratio of caretakers to kids. And the caretakers do work the front desk as well. So this isn't a babysitting service, just supervised play.
Again, this place isn't huge, but it fit over 20 children quite comfortably. Not the same amenities here for parents as, say, a PlayNation, JumpZone, or Monkey Joe's, but a much more diverse selection of play for the kids (especially toddlers).
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1500 Town Side Drive