A Review of Monkey Do, Our Newest Indoor Playground.
It’s been ages since I’ve written a review! But this weekend, after a visit to the hair salon and a chance conversation with the stylist about Monkey Do, the new indoor playground for kids ages 1-11, I decided I needed to check it out for myself.
First, the stylist mentioned it was great, albeit a little pricey for a family with multiple kids (entrance is $15 per child, but free for adults). She mentioned that the older kids were a little disappointed that they couldn’t play in the space dedicated to the younger kids, and she gave us a heads up that non-skid socks would be needed due to various slick surfaces. With that in mind, we put on the appropriate socks, and made our way out to 64 Harvest Lane in Williston.
I should mention as a side note, that while I snapped a few pictures of the space, I didn’t take any pictures of the play structures as a whole to avoid posting any recognizable photos of others’ children.
When we arrived, it was packed. The parking lot was nearly full.
Once you walk in the front doors, if it’s your first time, you are required to fill out a waiver. The waiver is the standard liability release you’d expect at a place such as this, where there is a risk of injury. I read through the legal jargon, signed on the dotted line, and then waited at the register to pay for entrance. It took a little while to pay because there was a line and the receipt machine was causing some trouble.
Before you can play, you need to remove your shoes (the signs are everywhere when you arrive). There is a room to the right where you can store your shoes and coats. Because it was crowded, the room was fairly full, but we also had brought a back pack (with diapers), so I could have placed items in there if necessary. I wouldn’t recommend carrying around a bag if you are flying solo with your little one(s) though, because if they need assistance, it won’t be easy to get into all of the play structures with extra gear on your back.
Given that it was packed, it didn’t surprise us to run into a few familiar faces. We learned that part of the crowd was due to some birthday parties. The Monkey Do Facebook page lists the party rental details, but the rate starts at $249.
There are four main play areas. To the left is a large inflatable obstacle course, which was fairly popular.
While we were there, we saw mostly toddlers using it, but on occasion, older kids would run through it as well. My son is only 2.5 years old, and he needed a little assistance the first time he climbed up to go down the slide. His second time, a young girl helped him (and other little ones) up to the slide. After that, he was a pro, running back and forth about a dozen times with a humongous grin.
To the side of the inflatable, are a few play buildings—a fire station, a grocery store, and a diner.
The fire station included some gear to dress up in, and a hose that kids can pull out or wind back up. Outside of the building is a button you can push to turn on a red light, and there is a bell you can ring. The grocery store had some groceries of course, and toy shopping carts. The diner had a nice little booth (that even I could easily sit in), shelves for toy food, a counter, and an order window. Some very excited boys had collected almost all of the food from the grocery store and diner and were running around with them in their shopping carts, so there wasn’t much for my little guy to play with at the time, but my son seemed to enjoy the spaces regardless.
In the middle of the building, is a dedicated space for young kids, baby to toddler.
There was a play structure with slides, plenty of tumbling mats, and a swinging structure. This is probably where my son felt the most comfortable, going down the slides about a dozen times. This is also the space that the hair stylist’s older kids were disappointed not to use. However, we felt this space wouldn’t be very entertaining for an older child anyways, as it really was most age appropriate for toddlers.
The last play area is to the right once you walk into the building, and it’s a very large play structure that you can climb into, with multiple slides.
I saw a lot of older kids in this space, so I asked the young man at the register what play structures were for my son’s age, and he said that nothing was really off limits for little kids, but that I would probably want to accompany him in that particular play structure.
At first glance, I assumed it would be quite uncomfortable to squeeze an adult in there, and while that was certainly true in a couple of spots, I was surprised to find that I could maneuver through most of the play structure with my son, and even go down the slides with him (my husband did, as well). One of the slides is pretty steep, but that didn’t deter my son at all. The only scary moment we had is when he tripped on the top floor of the structure. There is a small section where you can climb up between short levels of flexible, woven fabric. I thought it was too small for me to fit in there, and when he tripped, he fell through the opening and down two levels. I panicked for a moment, but he was fine. He climbed right back up and continued to play like nothing had happened for another fifteen minutes.
Between the two main play structures are several tables, and just beyond that is a cafe where you can order food and drinks.
When I heard that there would be a cafe, I really didn’t expect anything beyond coffee and water, but there were actually quite a lot of options, like muffins, pizza, pouches, fruit, juice, coffee (even cappuccino). I ordered two small coffees, and it was a little cramped to add cream and sugar with the table right next to the register, however, I thought the coffee was just fine (and a helpful caffeine boost to keep up with our son).
Around 1pm, we noticed that Monkey Do was far less crowded (it was nap time, after all). We decided before leaving that we would go back to the inflatable for a couple final runs. This time, there were a lot of older kids running through there as well. Some of the kids were a bit rambunctious (I know, old person alert). They were pushing, and not really paying attention to the little ones in the same space. There were even a few times where the kids barreled past me, hitting me. However, that was something we expected, and we just made sure to keep an eye on our son to ensure he wasn’t being pushed around.
After his last run, we looked at our son and told him it was time to leave, and I could see the exhaustion in his eyes. He was tired. Like, really tired. Lately, nap times have been a BATTLE in my house, but today… he threw up the white flag, laid down, and covered himself with his own blanket. He napped for about three hours (and likely would have napped longer, had he not been woken by dad).
All in all, it was a good experience.
There is no time limit to your stay (aside from the close of business), so you could spend $15 for entry and spend a full day there, if you felt so inclined. The business hours are 10am-6pm on weekdays and 9am-6pm on weekends. Personally, I thought the price was worth the joy my son had spending all that energy in just two hours, and the joy we had knowing he was happy and had some great sleep. Maybe we can’t do it every weekend… but we’ll be back. Do I take Monkey Do to be my new indoor playground partner? I do.