THE BLAST INDOOR PLAYGROUND
I’ve kind of been on a community center kick lately. I want to see them all and do a little internal rating based on their offerings and amenities. I love me some community centers! Plus, they get me out of my little west side pocket of the world over here. The bonus that I’ve noticed with all community centers thus far is this: They. Wipe. My. Kids. OUT! Whether it’s open gym, swimming, rec classes, ice skating or an indoor playground, they drag their feet out of there like the cast of The Walking Dead. The Blast Indoor Playground in the Eagan Community Center was no different…except it was space-themed, which only added to the excitement! With a large gym covered in scooters, soccer nets, basketball hoops, gymnastic mats, hula hoops and bouncy balls, their preschool open gym, which is included in the admission fee, was the icing on our already-exhausted little cakes.
What is it?
The Blast Indoor Playground is a space-themed play area located inside the Eagan Community Center. With three slides and a number of tunnels, this intergalactic experience can be pretty fun for the kiddos. There is a spaceship with climbing stairs inside and a couple space apparatuses on top, but other than that, it is basically your typical play structure equipment with cuter names (seriously, whoever decided to call the slides “Apollo Rocket Propulsion Launchers” deserves a promotion). The brick room is painted black so it tends to feel small, dark and slightly dingy to us adults (who notice stuff like that). The community center offers a concession stand and vending machines and, if you visit between 9 and 11:30am on weekdays, the preschool open gym is included with you admission fee. The gymnasium time is what made the trek to Eagan worth it for us since my daughter was just too young to really enjoy the congested chaos of The Blast.
Fit for what ages?
While some play areas are designed more spaciously, The Blast Indoor Playground is not built to accommodate anyone of adult size. It feels tight and narrow and, while I got to the top and spent a whopping three minutes up there, I was more than happy to get out. Even the kids were climbing over one another in the narrow tunnels. This is why I would recommend The Blast for no one younger than three and no one older than ten. They have a “toddler area” but I use that label loosely since it is not sectioned off from the bigger play equipment and it is literally one tiny slide and a couple of wall toys. Not impressive. The preschool open play was much more open and airy for little ones to run and play. With scooters, tumbling mats and sporting equipment, this was a nice (and necessary) perk for kids ages 1-5.
How much are we talkin?
As of January 1, 2015, the community center’s admission is $4/kid (free for adults and kids under 18 months). This is still insanely cheap compared to other play areas of its kind and it includes the preschool open play during the hours when that is available. Eagan residents can buy a punch card for $30 buying you 11 visits. Concessions and vending machines are also available for a cost.
Want some tips?
Per usual for indoor play areas, socks are a must. Shoes can, and should, be worn in the gym during preschool open play though. There are cubbies available for shoes in The Blast room, which is also lined with benches for adults. The play structure is relatively tall but there are many nets and (plastic) windows so it’s not hard to keep an eye on your little ones from the ground.
When you get to the community center, you will pay at the information booth (cards are accepted). Bathrooms are located directly outside The Blast doors. Their busiest hours are during preschool open gym (9-11:30 weekdays) and weekends. This is not a place I would recommend going during busy hours since it really is small, but if you can let them loose in the open gym during those hours, it’s not so bad. The gym time made it worth the price of admission for us, and FYI – on the first Monday of the month, the open play includes a bounce house or two.
There is a small concession area between The Blast and the gymnasium which sells food and drink. I was unaware of the “no outside food allowed” rule so we ate a packed lunch in the lobby area and no one said a thing, but be aware that that is indeed the rule. Do as I say, not as I do. 🙂
The Eagan Community Center also offers Fantastic Saturdays every Saturday from 5 – 9pm. Your family can pay the normal rate ($4/kid) and that includes admission to The Blast, plus gym games, a movie and crafts. Could be a fun way to spend a cold winter weekend night…followed by sleeping children, a RomCom and a glass of riesling.
Hours and Location
1501 Central Parkway | Eagan, MN 55121
The Blast is open:
Preschool Open Play is:
So they should be tired…right?
Disclaimer: I received product from the elo™ team at Edia, Inc. in exchange for my time sharing this review. All thoughts are my own.
Now that your kids are worn out from climbing and running, you should have absolutely no problem getting them to sleep. Is that not the truth? Did that make you laugh hysterically? Maybe you have a terrible sleeper (like I do). First of all, know that there is nothing wrong with that (or you), but maybe there is a way to make your life a teensy bit easier…
Presenting the elo™ sleep pillow!
The elo™ team contacted me regarding an amazing little invention called the “My Storytime Pillow.” The pillow’s intent is to soothe your child to sleep with audio content and teach them to settle in for bed..which is oftentimes the hardest part of our days.
We received the elo™ Storytime Pillow with hopes that it would help our kindergartener settle down after a long, busy day and calm himself without needing mom and dad to lay by him. When we got it, we explained what it was and how it worked. There is a button on the back that you hold down until it turns on and when you lay your head on the pillow, the stories begin. The pillow comes pre-loaded with 12 stories, told in soothing voices with gentle sound effects that help your child drift to sleep easily without distraction (and it pauses if your child lifts their head off the pillow). If your family has a favorite story, there are hundreds of SleepLists™ to choose from and download in the online store which you then load to your elo™ pillow via its built-in Wi-Fi. I was worried the pillow would be too loud to use in a room where my daughter sleeps in the bunk bed below her brother, but the pillow is so quiet, she doesn’t stir one bit.
I could write for hours about how cool this product is, but I’m just going to send you to the website and say this: Since using the elo™ My Storytime Pillow, my son has yet to stay awake through more than one story. Some nights, I can hear him snoring before I even have time to kiss him goodnight.
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Sweet dreams and – better yet – enjoy your newly-found peace and quiet!