This weekend we had the pleasure of exploring Bellaboo's in Lake Station, IN. (www.mybellaboos.com) This place is fairly new to the area and brand new to myself and my little peanut. My little girl is 18-months-old and just a little too young for so many things yet..... so many things are designed for kids age 2 or 3 or even bigger, but Bellaboo's is JUST RIGHT!
First of all they have a decent security system with wrist bands all the kids and adults wear. Your band is scanned when you leave. There is also a uniformed police officer who sits in a squad car out front. I've been there twice now and there has been a cop both times. I suppose that could be comforting or intimidating depending on who you are!
Inside you will find a very CLEAN facility and I saw many staff members circulating cleaning toys, tables, etc. They have a little cafe and although they don't have a huge menu, they have the toddler favorites and the prices are very reasonable. There are about 10 little rooms each with a theme and with a variety of things for little ones to explore. My little peanut loved the water room. There is a water play table with several levels and lots of water toys. The floor has a skid-proof bottom and your little ones have little coats to put on to keep dry.
We also loved the pretend play areas. There is a pizza restaurant for all the pretend chefs and customers. They have a grocery store and a little house equiped with a kitchen and a dress up area. Although my little girl was a little too big for the pretend part, she loved the pizza toys! Other areas we didn't get a chance to explore include a train room, arts and crafts room, "kid's kitchen," infant play room, and the "Stuffee" toy.
My personal favorite room was the soft play area. This is not unlike what you might find in a McDonald's playland...lots of areas to climb bounce and slide, and also a large ball pit. The big difference is it was very clean. The ball pit is designed with a built in "ball washer" where the kids can put the balls in the chute on one end and watch the clean balls return on the other.
Finally, I encourage parents of children with special needs to check this place out! The staff is friendly and helpful and I even saw them help a family get a little boy to transition out of the train room without a melt down. There are tons of sensory play, motor play, and pretend play activities to engage babies and tots age 6 months on up! I not only plan on taking my little peanut back, but a few clients as well!
Cost is around $5 per kid, and adults get in free on Tuesdays!
Again, I would love it if people emailed me with clubs, groups or other activities to explore!