Indy Island Aquatic Center Review

Indy Island Aquatic Center Review

Indy Island Aquatic Center at Raymond Park
Indy Island Aquatic Center at Raymond Park

November 1st, 2014, Indianapolis Indiana, we were heading to the Indy Island Aquatic Center at Raymond Park. The high this day was 43 degrees. That sounds like perfect weather to think about going swimming doesn’t it. And isn’t this the way you envision being dressed to head to the pool?

Indy Island Aquatic Center: Early November and we want to go swimming.
Indy Island Aquatic Center: Early November and we want to go swimming.

My secret is out. I love the water. I grew up in the water, my kids grew up in the water and now it’s time for the next generation. It has been many years since I was last at Indy Island. We used to take the kids there when they were young. A couple of them have winter birthdays and Indy Island was a nice alternative for a party place.

The indoor facility is open year round with heated pools. We thought the water and air temperature, in the facility, was a little cool, the day we visited, but it was tolerable.

The kid-sized pool goes from a zero entry level depth to 3 feet. There is a water playhouse with a slide and lots of water spraying in different directions. Jeremiah spent a lot of time in this area. I spent a lot of time at the foot of the slide watching him come down.

Indy Island Aquatic Center: Action Shot
Indy Island Aquatic Center: Action Shot

There is a large water slide for people at least 48” tall. There is a separate 3 lane lap pool that goes from 3 ½ feet to 6 feet. There is a spa for adults only and tons of deck chairs.

It’s not like one of those huge water parks with tons of attractions but considering the admission price, it’s an awesome deal.

The indoor pool is open Wednesday and Friday from 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.. Saturday and Sunday, it’s open from noon until 5:00 p.m.. The cost is extremely reasonable. For 3 to 17 years, it’s $4 during the week and $5 for weekends and holidays. Adults are $5 during the week and $6 for weekends and holidays. Senior Citizens (ages 55+) are the same as the youth. Children 2 and under are free.

Birthday Parties

If you are looking for a fun place for a birthday party, you should check out Indy Island. For $80, your child can celebrate their birthday with 7 of their friends. This price includes 2 adults. You will get the party room for 55 minutes. Indy Island will cover four tables with tablecloths and set 10 place settings for your party. You can bring your own decorations, if you want, but you won’t be allowed in the room early. This means you will be using part of your child’s party time to decorate. My suggestion would be to let Indy Island do their thing. If you really want to bring something, make it a few balloons and/or simple centerpieces you can quickly place on the tables that they have prepared. You can not bring outside food or drink, other than the cake and ice cream. They provide 2 pitchers of punch. After the party, head to the pool for some fun. The pool is included in the price. For $100, they will also serve hotdogs and chips. If you have more children or adults that you want to invite, additional children are $5.00 and adults are $6.00.

Whether you are looking for a way to beat the winter chill or an alternative site for a birthday party, be sure to check out the fun at Indy Island Aquatic Center at Raymond Park.
Located at:
8575 E Raymond Street
Indianapolis, IN 46239
Phone:(317)862-6876

*Disclaimer: I was not asked or compensated, in any way, to do this review. I chose to do it simply to help families find affordable fun activities to do together.

Review: Conner Prairie with Young Children

Back in February, a friend and her 2 year old accompanied me to Conner Prairie Interactive History Park. I was interested in finding out what types of activities there might be for very young children. We were very pleased with the amount of interesting things there were to keep a young child happy and entertained. In February, most of the outside exhibits are closed but we still found plenty to do. Please check out my review Review: Conner Prairie on President’s Day (with a 2 yr old).

This past weekend, Saturday, September 29, 2012, my niece and I decided to take two 1 year olds and one 3 year old to Conner Prairie. We were taking advantage of the free admission offered by Smithsonian Magazine  We had a wonderful time and we again found plenty for little ones to do but there were a few things we had not considered. I am going to share with you some of the successes and challenges of our day.

Our first challenge…we were out-numbered. Two adults with three very young children kept us on our toes. Our second challenge; we should have used a wagon instead of strollers. It took so much time buckling and unbuckling kids from strollers that we ended up bypassing a lot of things we were interested in. We did see a really neat fold-up wagon that someone was using. I came home and found one on Amazon.com (EasyGoWagon). I currently have it on my wish list for a future purchase.

Another problem with the day was that we didn’t really consider how many things that we were excited to see and do that very young children would have no interest in. It had been so long since my niece and I had been to Conner Prairie that we were just anxious to get there and experience it all again. We didn’t consider that the children really wouldn’t care about looking around in an old house or seeing a blacksmith at work. We decided early in the day that we were going to make another trip, for adults only, sometime in the near future.

So as not to leave you thinking we didn’t enjoy our time at Conner Prairie, let me share with you all the fun things we found to do with the little ones.  Of course, they loved Animal Encounters. There were so many young animals for the children to see and touch.

Conner Prairie Animal Encounters

There were even two week old baby goats. This was one of the places that got a little scary since the adults were out-numbered. Our little ones wanted to go in every direction at once and we were kept hopping trying to keep them within sight and arms reach at all times.

Our next stop was the Lenape Indian Camp. This is one of the spots that if the children had been in a wagon we would have let them out to run around a bit but we had just gotten them strapped back in the strollers from the Animal Encounters. When I was here in February, the 2 yr old we had with us loved running in and out of the huts.

We walked the entire grounds, even though we didn’t go in very many of the buildings. We did stop in the blacksmith’s shop. Although the children didn’t get a lot out of it, they sat very quietly and watched while my niece and I listened for a little bit. We took time to walk through one of the houses. The most exciting part for the kids was the water pump outside the house.

Conner Prairie: Pumping Water
Conner Prairie: Still Pumping Water
Conner Prairie: Pumping Water is Hard Work

We spent several minutes there while my 3 yr old great-niece pumped water…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…and the two 1 yr old boys played in it.

Conner Prairie: Playing in Water
Conner Prairie: Boys playing in Water

The other big hit of the day was the River Crossing Play Area. You definitely need to bring an extra change of clothes if you are going to spend time outside at the water area. There is a replica of a steamboat for the children to climb on but the big hit was the water play table. Let me explain; this water play table isn’t one of those small tables you might find in a preschool or kindergarten classroom. This thing was the center of the whole exhibit. It was huge. Water ran from the top of it down several levels. You could put up barricades to build a dam to stop or redirect the water. My 3 yr old great-niece and I put up a few walls for the dam. My two great-nephews just enjoyed splashing and playing in the water as much as they could.

Conner Prairie: River Crossing Play Area

They were soaked by the time they were finished. Thank goodness it was a warm day and we had a change of clothes for each of them.

There was also an indoor area for play at the River Crossing. It is a civil war themed area with trains…

Conner Prairie: Playing with Trains

…pieces to build a Playmobil fort with soldiers and a great climbing area. The boys were too small for the climbing area but my great-niece loved it.

Conner Prairie: Fort River Crossing

Even with the several challenges, that we didn’t think of in advance, we had a very good day. The children were very well behaved and enjoyed the activities that we presented them. We got there just after they opened at 10:00 a.m. and didn’t leave until after 2:00, so we found plenty of things to do with small children.

Here is some advice if you are planning a day at Conner Prairie with very young children:

1) Take a wagon instead of strollers for an easier way to get children in and out quickly to enjoy the different experiences.

2) If your children are under 3 yrs old, make sure the adults aren’t out-numbered by the children.

3) Don’t expect to get to enjoy the full experience of Conner Prairie because little ones cannot handle much of the history part of the experience so….

4) ….plan another trip to Conner Prairie very soon; just for adults!

Related Posts:

Review: Conner Prairie on President’s Day (with a 2 yr old)
Learning Should Be Fun
The Lessons – Overview
Colors – Overview

Learning Should Be Fun

“A joyful heart is good medicine…”  -Proverbs 17:22

I love exposing children to new learning opportunities. I believe that learning should be fun and hands-on.

Children’s learning activities should be enjoyable and interesting. Repetition of a concept will help secure it in the mind of the learner. I do not suggest repetition as in using flash cards over and over in some sort of old school torture. I mean using the same concepts in several different learning environments.

I share, through this blog, many fun learning opportunities that you can experience with the children in your life. You will find detailed ideas as well as general concepts that you can mix and match in different learning situations.

At first most of my concepts will be for younger children. Although, I did teach 4th, 5th and 6th graders for a couple of summers, most of my expertise comes with young children.

Along with the different learning concepts, I want to research and post different attractions with family friendly activities that are going on in our community.  At first these activities will be centered around Indianapolis because that is where I currently reside but my dream is to expand the resources well past Indiana.  Although I will be posting specific activities that are going on in the Indianapolis area, I will also suggest general activities that make good learning opportunities that you can look for in your area.

My real vision for this blog is that it can help families have fun learning together but there will be information that will be interesting to teachers too. I am so excited about having this opportunity to share with you.

Most Sincerely,

Mama Carmody

Related Posts:

When Do Children Start Learning
The Lessons – Overview
Colors – Overview
Shapes – Overview
Fun with Music – Overview

Review – BounceU of Fishers, Indiana

BounceU
BounceU

I was so excited when I received an invitation from Travis Titus, the General Manager of BounceU of Fishers, to come and do a review of the business. I have a 3 ½ year old great-niece and two 2 year old great-nephews (well, one of them is almost 2). In my preconceived idea of what this place would be like, I thought, “What kid doesn’t love bouncy castles, this will be so much fun for my little ones.” So with the youngest one in tow (the one that isn’t quite 2 years old), my husband and I headed out to see what was happening at BounceU and enjoy some time with our great-nephew.

Now let me ask you to please pay close attention to what I’m about to share with you (closer attention than I paid to the information that was available to me). In the original email that was sent to me it stated that “children must be at least 34” tall and able to walk on their own to play on the inflatables.” I thought to myself, “Jeremiah has been walking for a year now so he must be at least 34” tall.” The night before I was scheduled to go I decided I should go to the BounceU website and read what it has to say about the place (I really should have done that sooner). On their website under FAQs, the first question is “Is there an age limit?” And guess what…there is an answer right below the question which states, “BounceU is suitable for ages 2 to adult…” Jeremiah won’t be 2 until July so I probably should have checked for this information sooner. Oh well, plans had been made so my husband and I picked up Jeremiah and headed off for our adventure.

We were welcomed by a brightly decorated and inviting storefront.

BounceU
BounceU

The inside lobby was just as brightly decorated and fun. We were warmly greeted by Travis and he began to show us around. The first thing you must do upon entering is head to the counter to fill out any necessary paperwork and pay your admission fees. Anyone under the age of 18 must submit a waiver signed by a parent or guardian. There is a link on their webpage so you can have the paperwork filled out before you arrive which will save you some time and get to the bouncing quicker.

Our next stop was at some benches where you sit and watch a short safety video which covers, in a little more detail, their important rules.

BounceU Rules
BounceU Rules

We were then escorted into one of their two bounce rooms. We first had to take our shoes off and put them in a little cubby. Then make sure that everyone has socks on. We were then shown the area they have for little ones under 2 years old. There wasn’t a lot there but Jeremiah enjoyed climbing and sliding down the foam structure.

Under 2 Area Collage
They brought out some bouncy rubber donkeys that he really enjoyed too. He insisted that Uncle Pat get on one along with him.

Riding the Donkey
Riding the Donkey

Jeremiah especially enjoyed anything that had balls. There was a “batting cage” that had a ball floating on a stream of air. You are supposed to hit the ball and try to get it to go into one of the bases (holes) in the backdrop. Jeremiah didn’t understand that part of it but he enjoyed placing the ball over the stream of air and knocking it off. He spent quite a while doing that one.

Playing Ball
Playing Ball

There was another activity that involved balls. There are five different balls floating on streams of air. You are supposed to throw rubber balls at the floating balls to knock them off. It was a little harder for Jeremiah because he is so little but he still enjoyed picking the balls up and throwing them. There was a 5 year old girl there that did a great job of knocking the balls off the streams of air. I was really impressed with her arm and her aim.

Knock Off!
Knock Off!

There are a couple of large open area jumping inflatables. One was a boxing ring with over-sized boxing gloves…

Boxing Ring
Boxing Ring

……the other one had a basketball hoop in it and we were told that they have over-sized inflatable lances so the kids could pretend they are jousting. Both of these areas are great for just jumping around in too, although we couldn’t get Jeremiah to go near either of them.

Basketball - Jousting Area
Basketball – Jousting Area

There was only one other family at BounceU at the same time we were; a mother and two little girls. The girls were 5 years old and 2 years old (turning 3 in August). This was also their first time at BounceU and they were having a blast. Here they are in one of the inflatables that had things to climb and a slide.

Another play area
Another play area

There was a big climbing wall, that you could scale and grab a flag. The 5 year old was quite proud of her accomplishment.

Climbing Wall
Climbing Wall

There was also a fun obstacle course that had two identical courses so you could challenge a friend to a race. This one looked like a lot of fun to me but of course, Jeremiah wouldn’t have anything to do with it. I’m afraid he could have beat me through the obstacle course, anyway.

Obstacle Course
Obstacle Course

There was one other piece of equipment that Jeremiah was interested in. It was a huge two-story slide. At first all he wanted to do was play on the slope at the entrance.

Base of Slide
Base of Slide

He ventured part way up the “ladder” a couple of times but would turn around and come back down before he got very far. Finally, one of the staff members was able to get him to climb all the way to the top of the slide. By the way, the staff is absolutely wonderful with the kids. They were there to help out, encourage and answer any questions. The staff member asked Jeremiah if he wanted her to slide down with him. She said that he just said, “No, no,” and went down by himself. After he made it down the first time, he loved it so much he went several more times.

Big Slide
Big Slide

Here is one of my favorite things about BounceU, it is for ages 2 and up!….2 and UP! When I first got my invitation I thought that BounceU would just be for little kids…but it’s not…its for 2 and UP. I’m part of the “UP”…way “UP”. This is great to know for two reasons. One, as a mother or grandmother, it’s nice to know that if your child gets “stuck” or scared you can easily retrieve them. Unlike the “tube/tunnel” play places they had when my children were small. The second reason this is great is because I can play too!

Mama Carmody Having Fun
Mama Carmody Having Fun

And I wasn’t the only grown-up having fun.

Grown-up Fun
Grown-up Fun

Besides BounceU being a great place to take your children for some exercise and playtime, it’s a wonderful place for a birthday party. It’s probably one of the BEST places I have ever heard of for a birthday party.

Birthday Room
Birthday Room

When you schedule a birthday party at BounceU, your party will be the only group in the bounce room. There are two bounce rooms and your party will spend part of the time in one room and then be moved to the next room. After your time is up in the bounce rooms your group will be taken to one of the two party rooms. The staff will have everything ready to go when you arrive at the party room. If you have ordered food, the staff will have it ready to serve up. Although you can’t bring in your own food, you can bring in a cake or order it through BounceU. The staff will cut and serve the food. They will even have the presents you brought arranged and ready for the birthday child. You just get to sit back and enjoy.

There is a special throne for the birthday boy/girl to sit in and open presents.

Birthday Throne
Birthday Throne

And get this!…the staff will keep a list of the presents and who gave them so you can send thank you notes later if you like. It sounds like they have thought of everything. They even have big bins on wheels so that when the party is over, they will put all the presents in the bins and roll them to your car and help you load them up. You don’t even have to worry about clean up, just party and leave. Isn’t that the coolest?! Another great bit of information is that adult chaperones are free to birthday parties as long as the total of kids plus adults is less than 50.

So to sum up our adventures at BounceU of Fishers:

1) It really isn’t for children under 2 years old, but if you have to bring a little one with you, there are a few things that they will enjoy.
2) Since adults can also enjoy the inflatables it’s a great place for a family outing.
3) Adults get in free with a paying child ages 2- 17 years old.
4) It is the best place I know of to throw a birthday party.
5) Be sure to check their schedule for Open Bounce times. Check their schedule often because Open Bounce times get added on weekends when they don’t have a lot of birthday parties scheduled.
6) The staff is wonderful with the kids which is very important to any parent.
7) At the time we attended there was just one other family so we had the whole place to ourselves, so go by and spend some time in this place now before the word gets out and it’s packed to the rafters.

Be sure to check the BounceU website for open times.
BounceU in Fishers
9715 Kincaid Drive Ste 800
Fishers, IN 46037

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