BROWN FAMILY ADVENTURE PARK
HAM LAKE, MN
The gloom of Spring rain is really putting a cramp into my lengthy list of outdoor adventurisms. To fight it, yet avoid repetition (like kids care, right?), I took them on an outing to Ham Lake to visit the indoor playground, Brown Family Adventure Park. I selected this one because: A) I wanted to find something more “out of the city” and B) it appeared to be relatively two-year-old friendly. I was right on both accounts – the drive was not a short one, and both of my kids enjoyed it without a lot of mommy-needing-to-push-their-butt-ups. This indoor playground has a nice variety of activities, plus a larger-than-most toddler area.
What is it?
Brown Family Adventure Park is a family-owned, nice-sized indoor “treehouse” with a suspended bridge, a variety of slides and tunnels, and a separate toddler space for little ones. Both of my kids preferred the toddler area, building soft block creations and climbing in and on all the play structures. My four-year old liked soaring from point A to B on the hand glider, and both kids pelted each other pretty good in the ball area (two giant exercise balls – not an actual ball pit). This is a nice place to spend a rainy or cold afternoon, grab some lunch from the cafe (cheap, cheap prices), and maybe even get some work done (free WiFi). The adult seating area is huge and clean, as is the toddler area. Plenty of variety to prevent your kids from getting bored too quickly.
Fit for what ages?
There were babies crawling around the toddler area, which offers a variety of gadgets for little hands, including multi-sensory toys such as bead mazes and puzzles. There are basketball hoops, books, smaller slides and soft, squishy toys on which kids can bounce or jump. The treehouse is more apt for kids over the age of two. While there is a colorful, easy-to-climb staircase to get up the structure, you quickly encounter the big steps which are hard to conquer for kids under 36″. But, it is relatively adult-friendly, so feel free to head up with them and just give the shorter ones a boost here and there. Bigger kids will enjoy the hand glider and twisty slides, as well as observing the parent seating area from the large treehouse window. While I sat at my table, my son and I spent a good 20 minutes in a long-distance silly-face war. I think the other parents must’ve thought I was crazy but he was in stitches.
How much are we talkin?
All kids ages 1-12 are $6/each. Under one and accompanying adults are free. Punch passes and Annual memberships are available, and will save you some bucks if you think you’ll get there regularly enough to make that worth it. Socks are sold for $2/pair should you forget them. Food is really reasonably priced as well. Daycares and schools get a per child discount of $4 instead of the regular $6.
Facto de Importante: The whole facility is CASH ONLY.
Want some tips?
Bring CASH – Brown Family Adventure Park does not accept credit cards. There is an ATM in the lobby should you forget. They do not allow outside food or beverage (they have one wonderful exception though: coffee!). This is because they have a pretty decent cafe with some simple kid-friendly meal and drink options. There are tons of tables for dining and resting, and the bathrooms are located right next to the play area, so no need to gather up all the kids just because one has to go potty. And, yes, there is a changing table in the women’s bathroom. Everything is packed into a nice, visible space and, from the adult area, you can literally see everything (toddler area, playground, video games) going on around you. Kids must wear socks here. They sell them for $2 if this slips your mind. There is free WiFi available if you think you can actually squeeze in some you-time (what’s that?!).
When I asked the worker about busy times, she said “every weekend.” When I asked her if there were times on weekends that were less busy than others, she said, “Nope. It’s just busy. All weekend.” Ooooook then. We went on a Thursday and it wasn’t bad at all. But, if I had to guess, it’s just like every other kid joint and the crowds start to dwindle near nap time (noon-2:00ish).
Brown Family Adventure Park offers birthday parties. The unfortunate part is that these parties take place during open play time. The worker told me they often have up to three birthday parties happening at one time on the weekends. That’s up to 30 kids just in party goers! Eeek! But, if you’re ok with crowds, a birthday party here is a really good price. Check out party details on their website. You can pay for a private rental outside the normal open play hours, but it’s $100/hour with a two-hour minimum.
Hours and Location
14200 Lincoln Street NE, Suite 500 | Ham Lake, MN 55304
Finding this place is not difficult if you use your GPS. It’s part of what appears to be an office complex-type building, much like Good Times Park in Eagan or SkyZone in Plymouth. Parking is ample and free.
Closed on Monday
Tuesday-Friday 9:30am – 4:00pm
Saturday 9:30am – 5:00pm
Sunday 12:00pm – 5:00pm
Follow Brown Family Adventure Park on Facebook to read some decent customer reviews. Other than that, it’s a pretty stagnant social media site. Yeah, the last post is from 2012.