I am always on the hunt for new play spaces for my children. It is always nice to be able to add a new place to the list. Especially during winter, I find myself with a deep need to get the kids out of my house! Thankfully, there is a brand new play opportunity on the near Southside. Garfield Park has begun hosting an open gym time for toddlers and preschoolers, called PlaySpace. We went and checked it out on their opening day and had the best time. The PlaySpace is located in the gym inside the Burrello Family Center. Every Wednesday, your child can play from 10:30 am-12:30 pm for just $2. It is the perfect time of day to wear your kids out before lunch and naps!
We were so warmly welcomed when we came in and the facility was a very inviting space. My children hurried down to the gym eager to get their wiggles out. I was impressed with the amount of equipment provided for the children to use and explore. The toys and equipment are perfect for gross motor skills and development. Children thrive in an open ended environment such as this. Finding an outlet to allow them to run and jump as much as they wish is a high priority on my list. I feel like everyone is in a much better mood after running, jumping, and climbing. My son immediately gravitated toward a mini trampoline followed by rolling a ball that was much bigger than he is! My daughter enjoyed the gymnastics mat and foam blocks. There were balance beams, balls to throw and hop on, cones to run around and a tunnel to crawl through. It did not take long for my children to go deep into their world of pretend using the tunnel as a space ship and hula hoops for spacesuits.
After playing for about an hour, my children were ready for a break and so we wandered back up to the front desk area. There is a lovely area for some quieter play for children; the Tiny Tot Town. This was such a pleasant surprise, I had no idea there would be an additional play area available! There is a table for sitting and coloring or reading books, building blocks, a small play structure for climbing with a slide, and a play kitchen. This space is open during all regular facility hours outside of the occasional deep cleaning time. My children easily spent 30 minutes exploring the materials and eventually creating an ice cream shop with the items provided in the play kitchen. This was the perfect way to help my kids wind down and get ready to head back home.
Up in the lobby area, there is also a small seating area with a few vending machines and I noticed other parents brought lunch boxes with them so the kids could continue playing after eating lunch. There are bathrooms located in the facility as well. The staff was extremely friendly and helpful in providing additional information about the other classes the family center provides.
The Burrello Family Center has many other offerings that appeal to families and children. For older children and adults, there are open gym times, family game nights every Friday from 6-8pm, fitness classes, and even a FREE karate class for children 8 and older. I love that this facility is located in such a big beautiful park so near to downtown Indianapolis. This park is also home to a conservatory and gardens, a swimming pool, an art center, playground, amphitheater, library and farmers market. All of these other facilities on the grounds have their own events, classes, and performances to experience and try out. If you want to learn about other nature centers around Indy, check out this great list.
The Garfield Park Burrello Family Center is located at 2345 Pagoda Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46203. Their phone number is (317) 327-7220. Garfield Park is a part of Indy Parks and Recreation. Additional information can be found on their Facebook page. The PlaySpace is a drop in class on Wednesdays with no pre-registration required. I highly recommend going and checking out this time for toddlers and preschoolers especially if you are experiencing the cabin fever of winter. This is definitely going to be added to our rotation of places to take the kids each week!
Want to know about more great indoor places to play this winter? Check out our awesome list of all the Indoor Play Places to let your kids get their wiggles out.