Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Kid Review: The Blast Indoor Playground in Eagan

On Tuesday, we decided to check out Blast Indoor Playground in the Eagan Community Center. It was a pretty fun time, so I thought it might be a good idea to start recording our visits to play areas and other kids friendly places around the cities.

The Community Center is located at 1501 Central Parkway, right off the intersection of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Lane. The Blast is in the basement of the Community Center, and is across the hallway from a gym. Admission is inexpensive: $3 for 18-months to 12 years, free for everyone else. From 9:00-11:30 AM every weekday, there is an open toddler gym available, and that was our first stop. My oldest (4 years old) loved the twisty scooters, and so did my youngest (1), with some help and close supervision. There were also a variety of balls, hoops, and play mats as well in the gym, along with a couple hockey nets.

The oldest on a scooter

The youngest enjoying a play mat

Two of the taller towers

The play area itself is actually pretty expansive for the cost. The structures go quite high indeed, around 30 feet tall, with slides, sky lights and tunnels. There is a pretty good sized open area as well, which gives kids quite a bit of room to run. There is plenty of seating for adults around the edges of the area, although some sight lines are a little tricky.
The theme of The Blast is space exploration, which can inspire some fun play. There are large murals on all walls, and many of the structures are rocket and spaceship shaped.

There is a small toddler area near the front of the structure consisting of a small slide and a few kinetic activities, but sight lines are definitely an issue, as there is no seat that can view the whole structure. The toddler area can only accommodate a few children in any case, but if you are supervising a child there, you can quickly get in the way of other children playing. Some of the tunnels are also pretty poorly lit in spots, which  makes it hard for nervous tykes to climb and explore. There are a small number of rooms on the ground level, but they are filled with swinging foam pylons, and children might tire of them early.

Plenty of room to run!

The large open area can fill up quickly if there is a birthday party scheduled, but on a weekday morning, The Blast had more than enough room to accommodate about 20+ kids. There is also a concession stand and vending machines available between the gym and play area, with plenty of dining tables. The prices were a little bit excessive (a bottle of water, a juice box and a box lunch cost $8), but there was a nice variety of choices.

Overall, The Blast was well worth the cost of admission, and both children were able to find plenty to do in the 3+ hours we were there. I think we'll definitely put this area on our short list.

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