Thursday, February 18, 2010

Gymboree: The New One!

My mommies and I were so excited that the Gymboree Play & Music was opening it's doors in Durham. 'Eureka! A new, clean, padded place to take the babies and let them crash into things!'

So my mommies and I were some of the first to sign up for the free trial classes they offered on grand opening.

Let me say: it is a new, clean, padded place to take the babies and let them crash into things. The facilities are gorgeous. They are set up fantastically for babies and toddlers. (Although, note, that if you want to do one of the activity classes, it is best if your baby can at least sit. Crawlers, though, seemed to get the most out of it.) C had a great time going through tunnels, sitting in tubes, chasing balls. Great playyard and gym.

Let me also say: the need to have some sort of structured "class" felt a little unnecessary to me. C was much more into the "things" than the moments in group as it felt like the group moments weren't very smooth and a little awkward.

To this mommy, it would have been nice to just allow my child to freely explore the area at his own pace. The good news is that they offer times like these -- open gym time. No class, just show up and you can play on the equipment with whomever else happens to be there. The bad news is that you have to be actively registered for a class in order to take advantage of the open gym times. And classes are not cheap unless you hit them up during one of their deals!

So unless you sign up for a full session and class, you can't use the clean, new, padded facilities.

This is a session-registration model, but they are incredibly flexible with make up classes.

My opinion aside, I have had friends who signed up for class sessions (the class level one up from the trial we did, so maybe that made the difference) and are having a lot of fun. C did have a blast crawling on their goods. Maybe they worked out some of the grand opening kinks. And if you just want some time for your child to be able to be in a place that is guaranteed to be baby proof, this is it!

Gymboree does offer other classes, as well, in art and music. I have not tried any and have not heard stellar reviews, but they should let you try one for free so judge for yourself. Then let me know!

3515 Witherspoon Blvd., Durham, NC 27707 US
Phone: (919) 419-3150

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Walking; Bolin Creek Trails

C and I love to walk. Lucky for us, there are nature trails with easy access from Carrboro and Chapel Hill. There is a lovely loop that follows the Bolin Creek. Bring your Ergo, since strollers won't do. But definitely enjoy it. It's beautiful, an easy walk, and you will pass all sorts of characters. That's the Carrboro way.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Elmo's Diner

Updated 8/1/10: Elmo's Diner was recently voted as a top Parent Pick for dining out by Carolina Parent magazine.

I know that Elmo's has 2 locations, but I have only been to the one in Carr Mill Mall in Carrboro.

So I generally don't love diner food. Instead, I am a total sucker if you tell me it is organic and locally grown. BUT, if you are willing to accommodate me while my toddler throws food on your floor I could be persuaded to change my mind. AND, if you not only accommodate me but actually smile at me, engage my child, and say things like "He is so cute" (as opposed to, "I can't believe I will have to clean all of those yogurt melts off the floor when you leave"), I will love you.

Elmo's was busy and loud, but made me love them. They brought us crayons, which was a sweet thought, although C only knows how to eat them.

The food still wasn't to die for, but cheap and quick. And as utterly kid-friendly as they come. They do have a patio for dining that is open year-round, with heaters in the winter.

Don't go with a big crowd, and if you go on the weekends be prepared to WAIT. Luckily, while you wait an hour for a breakfast table on Saturday or Sunday they provide coffee. Just don't take it into any of the stores with you....and don't fill up on Rita's Custard while you wait....

Elmo's Diner

N Carr Mill Mall
Carrboro, NC 27510

(919) 929-2909

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Southpoint Mall Playarea

Southpoint Mall has everything except a Crate & Barrel and The Limited. They have JCrew, Banana, Ann Taylor, Anthropologie, and a kids play area!

I love this play area, the "Kidzone." I feel like it is big and creative. Of course, I was not a mommie during the brouhaha of 2008 when they moved and shrunk the play area, but I do appreciate what they have now!

Located by the Panera Bread and JC Penney's (and sponsored by Duke Medicine I just found out), the area is walled, padded, and full of fun things to climb on and move. Benches are all on the perimeter for parents and guardians to watch the kiddos. So you can sit there with your Panera Latte in your new Penney's on-sale-sweater and watch your kid burn off some energy. I love that Southpoint thought to include this.

There isn't any oversight here, though, besides parental control. Which means that many, many times during our visits there high energy 5 year olds come over and try to pick C up and "help him" onto the slides. Also, the crawlers and scooters tend to get trampled on in the excitement of the older kids. Hence it might be a little better to go during a weekday. Or at least be armed and on the lookout for the bigger kids.

Southpoint Mall Kidzone
6910 Fayetteville Rd
Durham, NC 27713