Chapel Hill Community Center Indoor Play
The Chapel Hill Community Center has restarted their Indoor Play for Toddlers. I am going to first tell you my thoughts about this Indoor Play, then I will tell you how I think you could best use this service.
My thoughts in a nutshell: I was disappointed. I was expecting something similar to the Carrboro Century Center's playtime, I suppose. At Carrboro's playtime there were a slew of toys, children's music, different stations for play, and generally just a fantastic set up. However, at the Chapel Hill playtime there wasn't any sort of organized playspace established. I showed up with C to find an indoor place to play to get out of the house but avoid the lingering heat. I had a slight argument with the woman at the front desk about where I lived and if I had to pay, then was let in to the gym.
The gym smelled. They had just cleaned the floor, so it smelled strongly of chemicals. Which, as I had just read the HappyBaby book, I was very sensitive too. There also weren't any toys. The woman at the front desk came back in after about 5 minutes with 1 kickball and a plastic bin with some large blocks in it. C played with the kickball for about 1o minutes, then we were ready to go.
Note that you can not use the climbing wall, which makes sense for safety reasons.
All that said, here is how I think you could use this: if you and some friends want to plan a playdate and are looking for a large, indoor, contained space for the kids to play together, this is your spot. Bring toys and plan to meet here to let the kids run together (perhaps call ahead and see if they have cleaned the floor recently to gauge the smell factor). But I would certainly plan this with friends and I would come with toys. Think of it as a large room to use, which could come in handy!
The charges to get in to Indoor Play are $3 per adult and $2 per child for families who don't pay Orange County taxes (so if you are in that area of Chapel Hill that has a Chapel Hill mailing address but you pay Chatham Co. taxes - you know who you are - you do not qualify for free indoor play). If you pay Orange County taxes it is free.
The good news is that this Indoor Play is available Mondays through Fridays 10:45 - 11:45 am. Yup, every weekday!
So, despite my personal disappointment, I still think that there is a use for this. It is a nice thing to know about and resource to use. Just make sure you use it smartly!
If anyone else has any tips on getting the most out of this Indoor Play, send them along my way.
Chapel Hill Toddler Indoor Play
Chapel Hill Community Center
120 South Estes Road (near University Mall across from the Post Office) http://www.townofchapelhill.org/index.aspx?page=814
Mondays through Fridays September - May, 10:45 am - 11:45 am