GOLDEN VALLEY, MN
Ahh, February. The time of year when parents everywhere start to pray for springtime so they can get their house back to being a place of rest and recovery instead of being the place for rampage and running. I don’t know about you, but I start to lose my mind a teensy bit right about now. With Minnesota gracing us with about four straight week of zero degree temps, the kiddos start to go a little stir crazy (as do I). So I was super grateful for the opening of Brookview Backyard in Golden Valley, an indoor play space with tunnels and nets and slides and a toddler space, where I could just let the kids run and scream and slip and slide and chase and flip and flop and do-all-the-things-they-were-doing-in-my-living-room-before. It’s warm, it’s big, it’s new (read: it’s clean) and it’s definitely on the more affordable side. We were very pleased with our discovery…and so was my furniture, floors and everything else they destroy in the winter!
What is it?
Brookview Backyard just opened early December, 2017, and is a 3,000 square-foot well-padded, clean and safe space for your kids to burn off some of that winter “enthusiasm.” The Backyard is only a small piece of what the new Brookview Golden Valley building offers, but since I’m a blogger of kiddie adventures I am focusing on the play space. However, I need to mention that this brand-new space is also built for adults, meaning they have a golf course, lawn bowling, comedy shows, disc golf, trivia nights, recreation classes, fat tire biking, and Three One Six Bar + Grill (um, yum…seriously) and much more! Its centrally-located space offers a little bit of everything.
But back to the Backyard – this play space is three stories high and offers options for many ages. There’s a cute toddler area with a small slide and some tunnels and climbing structures perfectly sized for smaller legs. There’s also a little foam block space where your toddler can build towers and use their imagination. And then there’s the play structure that stretches to the ceiling – but isn’t so overwhelmingly huge that you will easily lose your child – with cargo nets and long windy slides and interconnecting tunnels. Kids can explore and climb and slide to their heart’s content. Or until they get hungry or tired.
Fit for what ages?
The website says the toddler area is good for ages 2-5, which I agree with. The bigger play area says it’s for ages 6-12. Depending on the kid, that might be getting a little old for this place. It’s spacious, but it’s easy for big kids to barrel into littler ones, and I’m not sure it would hold the attention of pre-teens very well. But my elementary-age son really had a good time here. And his preschool-age cousins were able to keep up with him just fine. So really, depending on the adventure level of your little ones, you call the shots. I know my 36″ niece had a bit of difficulty climbing up to the different levels, so if you have 2-3 year olds who want to venture into the bigger area (which they will), be prepared to go in with them and do a lot of hoisting and crawling. It’s not bad. Just know their (and your) limits. As far as toddlers go, their specified area is actually of decent size, unlike so many other toddler areas, but can get crowded. Same could be said for the block pit. But everything is super safe (foamed, padded, and well spaced out). Under age 2 is free to get in because there’s not a ton for them to do, but with the carpeted floor and the safe play area, crawling around isn’t too tricky so it’d be easy enough to bring them along. Oh, and the slides go fast!
How much are we talkin’?
Oh, money. It always seems to be a hindrance. What I really appreciated about the Backyard was the price tag.
Ages 2-12 pay $5/kid (or $4/kid for residents of Golden Valley, New Hope or Crystal). Compare that to some play areas – it definitely undercuts them by a few bucks. Adults and kids under 2 are free of charge. Socks are an absolutely must here and, should you forget some, they are available for $2/pair.
If you think you’ll become a frequent visitor, consider picking up the punch card for $40 (or $30/residents). The punch card is good for 10 visits, so you will definitely save.
If you have a kid who is an active climber, I would definitely consider this place for a birthday party. There are rooms built into the sides of the play space that hold up to 20 people. For a birthday party, you get 2 hours of party room use, table coverings and 10 playground wristbands (and $5/extra wristband) for a flat fee of $120 (only $100 for residents). And you can bring in your own food and cake (which is rare these days and can definitely save you money). Otherwise, you can pre-order food from the Grill next door. …So. Birthday parties. Affordable. Noted.
And finally, any other additional cost you might drop when visiting would be at the Three One Six Bar & Grill, located directly next to the Backyard, and yes, it’s kid-friendly. Meals in the restaurant range from $3 for a breakfast sandwich to $7 cold sandwiches to $10 burgers. Happy hour is 3-6pm when you can get deals on some tasty appetizers (and drinks…but that’s up to you. I know what my answer would be.)
Want some tips?
Bring socks. You forget them and you’re out $2. So remember them.
As mentioned above, birthday parties are affordable here and punch cards can be a money-saver if you think you’ll visit often.
When driving here, you’ll find that it’s in a funky location that can be a little tricky to find. Just follow Google maps. It’ll get you there. There is a coat room next to the play space to hang things but not a ton of rooms for stroller storage, etc. You pay at the front desk, throw your shoes in the cubbies and play, play, play.
The entire space is carpeted and well-padded with foam, so it’s overall a very safe space. The slides kinda flew though, so heads up when sending a cautious child down them. We really liked the toddler area because the slides and tunnels were just my son’s size (he hates when I help him do…well, anything). And we spent a lot of time in the blocks area building towers. I wish this spot was bigger because it got full and busy and kids were bumping into one another and we all know how well that goes over with toddlers, amIright!?
If you want to go up the tubes with a short-legged little, you will need to go with them to get them up some of the “too tall” spots. Plus, you don’t want them getting pummeled by older, faster kids. Parents of older, faster kids: just enforce that they are well-controlled and watch out for smaller kiddos. Parents of younger kids: While it’s hard to lose your children here (since it’s one big square), please keep an eye on them as well. When we went, little ones were dragging the blocks from the block area up in to the play equipment, making it both hazardous for climbers and unfortunate for the tower-builders because they were missing some of their blocks!
Small ottoman-looking-chair-things surround the perimeter of the play equipment so there’s plenty of seating and giant windows so the natural light is nice and makes it feel bright and cheery. And it’s new, so it’s clean. I know these places can be notorious for germs, so having it be nice and new is a bonus for germaphobes everywhere!
No outside food or drink is allowed in the play space (unless you’re renting out a party room). Water bottles are allowed and water fountains are located in the play space. There is a little space in the common area by the pay desk where you could chow those homemade PB&Js.
If you come in the summer, consider taking a food and drink break on the Three One Six Grill’s outdoor patio (which also offers a sweet fire pit) and watch the golfers while the kiddos reenergize themselves for more play! But, parents, you can’t just dump your kids at the play area and enjoy the patio and a beer with your buddies. Kids must be supervised at all times. Feel like that’s a no-brainer, but I’m just saying it anyway. Speaking of Three One Six, we were assured that families are more than welcome even though it might appear a bit upscale. And the prices weren’t obscene! Next time we go, we will get there first thing in the morning, grab a $3 breakfast sandwich from the Grill, and play til nap time. Happy mommy. Happy kids.
Hours and location
316 Brookview Parkway S | Golden Valley, MN 55426
The Brookview Backyard Play Area is open:
- Monday-Saturday 9am-8pm
- Sunday 9:30am-5pm
There is a large free parking lot.