We kicked off our Summer of Awesome this year with a trip to Cosmic Adventures. It's an indoor climbing/slides/ball pit kind of place in Gloucester.
And needless to say, it was awesome.
It's three stories of climbers, giant slides, and places to run and hide. There's an almost endless nest of tubes and giant balls and dangling ropes and who knows what in there. Within two minutes of arriving, my older two kids -- ages 5 and 7 -- were gone. I was also there with my 4 1/2 year old nephew, and he had no trouble making himself scarce. Occasionally we'd catch a glimpse of them, sweaty and smiling and screaming with joy, as they ran past on one level or another. But overall we didn't see them until it was time to track them down for lunch.
I was nervous at first, because who the hell knows what goes on in there, but I have to say that the staff works hard to put you at ease. There were plenty of employees there, for a weekday, and they were attentive and caring. While we were there, one girl cleaned out each of the three ball pits twice, looking for anything sharp in the bottom of the pit; meanwhile, another guy hung from a harness so he could dust off the top of each and every tube slide. Meanwhile, no kid gets out of the locked play area without the parent they came with, verified with paperwork. So you can relax and let your kid really work off some steam.
I'd say any child from age 5 through 10 would have a ball here, but your older children can even go -- there were several teenagers who were running day camps who were just as excited to climb right up to the top as their charges. I even made a few trips to the second level with the Little Miss, who wanted to check it out but couldn't do it alone, and I fit in there with minimal discomfort and surprisingly minimal annoyance from other kids, all of whom seemed to be busy doing their own thing yet respectful of others and the need to take turns. I KNOW. Unbelieveable!
Plus, there are two separate toddler areas, both with small slides and ball pits. Your toddler can play in a small section under the main climber, so you can keep tabs on both age groups; or you can take your toddler upstairs to a larger and much quieter play area that's gentle on little ears. I like the fact that the owners really thought about what parents would need in a place like this, and tried to make it friendly to all age groups.
The one real drawback of this place is the cost. Oh my heavens, it puts a dent in the wallet. It cost us $47 to get in for my 2, 5, and 7 year old kids. On top of that, there's no outside food allowed due to nut-free restrictions (we did bring in our own bottle of water and no one busted us), so you're forced to shop at their canteen, and WHOA. I spent $27 for lunch, JUST FOR THE KIDS. I mean, I appreciate the fact that we could get sides like grapes, veggies, or applesauce instead of fries. And providing whole-wheat bread and buns is a nice touch. But with admission, and lunch, and a few bucks to play the games in their little arcade, and suddenly we're looking at a $100 outing. OUCH.
Still, my kids can't stop talking about it. We did a LOT of great stuff this week, and still they all say that Cosmic was their favourite day. They're already asking to go back, and the Captain says he'd like to have his birthday party there. I even had fun, as I really felt like I didn't have to worry about the big kids, and even my littlest one entertained herself quite well in their toddler area. I could actually sit and chat with my sister while our kids played, which trust me, is an absolute novelty.
So I must give Cosmic Adventures a Summer Of Awesome Must Do, despite the cost. Obviously, it's a once-a-summer event... but a worthy one.
Lynn is mom to three tombliboos and blogs over at Turtlehead.
Images courtesy of the Cosmic Adventures website - my kids were way too much of a blur breezing past to catch on camera.