recreationAs the winter days drag on, Tommy, a very active 4-year-old keeps asking when we can play on the playground outside. Well, I told him, we don’t have to wait; we can play on the playground inside!

Tommy’s friend Zachary from preschool invited us to join him and his mom at Recreation Unlimited (15150 Herriman Blvd, Noblesville 317-773-3545). It is actually a store filled with children’s playgrounds, trampolines and other outdoor  equipment, but Pay to Play allows kids to play in 15 already built playgrounds plus other things inside! recreation2

For $6 a each, Monday through Friday, 9am to 8pm, kids can get their energy out on playgrounds inside while it’s raining, snowing or just plain cold outside! Saturday (10am to 8pm) and Sunday (12pm to 6pm), the cost to play is $10 per child. While kids are playing, adults can browse some of the swing sets for purchase. This place is best fit for children under age 8, but I think ages 4 to 6 might get the best run for the money. Children who don’t walk – we saw several in strollers – are free. Since Lily is walking now at 13 months old, she was also $6 which surprised me since she really didn’t do anything other than try to climb up a slide, swing a little and play at the train table.  Adults are free with a paying child. Every now and then you can find coupons here for things like BOGO admission.

Each playset is very sturdy with rubber-covered ground to cushion falls. The boys spent most of their time playing on different playground equipment. There were so many to choose from, plenty of slides, climbing ropes, climbing walls and swings to accommodate kids for a crowded day. On the Tuesday morning we went, there were very few other families there. The boys recreation3loved the tire swing and there were at least two more on other playsets. Also, there were several train tables, single standing playhouses and picnic tables throughout. For older kids, there were trampolines and a basketball court area as well as a game (arcade) room.

Food is not allowed in the playground area so there is nowhere to sit and eat. Be sure to plan your trip either right after breakfast or right after lunch in order to maximize your playtime there. You can’t come and go (no pass outs) so keep that in mind as well. I brought a small stroller for Lily, but I didn’t need it once inside. There was plenty of space to park your stroller, a wall of hooks for coats and a neat children’s hand washing area outside of the bathrooms.

A couple other tips: On weekends, or days when school is out, it gets very crowded and the parking lot fills up. So come early or be prepared for the crowds and/or not being able to find a place to park! Be sure to check the website before you go for up-to-date information. (For example, Pay to Play is closed on President’s Day, Monday February 18th.)

Tommy did not want to leave, he had so much fun with Zachary! I promised we would be back soon, while we wait to see if Punxsutawney Phil was right about that early spring!


LizzLizz is a stay-at-home mom to two Christmas babies, Tommy, 4 and Lily, 1. She is also a part-time student. Check our her blog, Christmas Babies