Ball Pits and Other Horrors
December 9th, 2012
When (okay, if) you ever sit around pondering the circles of hell, you might envision walls of fire, lakes of brimstone, and little dudes hopping around with forked tails and pointy sticks.
Not me. My vision of hell looks more like this:
That’s The Kids Place in Lexington – heralded as Kentucky’s Largest Indoor Playground. It’s the stuff of nightmares.
We had a couple go-to playgrounds in Pittsburgh for when the weather was yucky. They were both small, independently run places where the kids could frolic, play with some toys that weren’t theirs, and blow off a little steam. They were low-key and enjoyable.
So I was a bit unprepared for the insanity of the place we went yesterday. Climbing ropes, ball pits, bouncey areas, giant legos, and an endless parade of blaring-flashing-seizure-inducing arcade games battered your senses from the moment you set foot in the place.
This crazy landscape was inhabited by thousands (it seemed) of savage children, rampaging about with no parental supervision. Any visible parents were mesmerized by their iPhones and the only staff I ever saw were a half-dozen bored teenagers lounging behind the snack bar.
Thus there was no one keeping order in the playground area, and I am telling you – it was like Lord of the Flies in there.
I kept the kiddos out of the “big kid section” and limited their activities to an area that was designated for small people under a certain height. Unfortunately, as I said, no one else was patrolling their offspring, so the “little person area” was populated by hulking older boys who knocked over their smaller counterparts, hogged the slides, and got way too rowdy in the ball pit.
Oh, the ball pit. The low point of the adventure came when Buggie got “stuck” in a ball pit. He’d bravely clambered up some rope ladders to go down a slide into the pit. But then he couldn’t get out. He stood there, hip-deep in brightly-colored plastic balls, crying piteously while some random older boy threw balls at his head. I had to clamber through a tunnel and wade into the pit to rescue him, barely restraining my feral urge to brain the bully boy.
And let me say that those tunnels were *not* constructed for tall pregnant women.
The kids were remarkably un-traumatized by the experience on the whole, but I may require counseling.