I took the kids to Westerville Community Center’s open gym so they could play, mainly because *I* didn’t want to stand in the cold (I can be a big baby when it comes to cold weather). It was only $3 per child, indoors, and there was plenty of room for the kids to run around. Every Monday and Friday from 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. the community center offers open play to children of preschool age and younger. There are tons of ride-on toys, mats, and toys to keep children occupied for a couple of hours.
Westerville Community Center is right off of Cleveland Avenue, just a few miles north of the 270 exit. There is plenty of parking and an automatic revolving door at the entrance for mommies with their arms full of bags, baby, and a toddler in a stroller. You walk in and go to the end of the hallway on the right where you’ll find an extremely nice attendant ready to help you with information. You’ll sign a waiver and pay your money (cash, please). Make your way inside where you can put your stuff against the wall. There are no cubbies or lockers, but plenty of room to lay your coats and bags down and park the stroller without it being in the way. Then just let the kids play!
I concluded that this open play time is better for people who have children from baby age to an early three years old, mainly because the toys seem to be geared toward that age group. My 4-year-old daughter wasn’t bored by any means, but it was certainly full of babies and not children around her age. My son who is two and a half played well too; he enjoyed pushing toy trucks around and riding in the ride-on toys. They might have been a little overwhelmed though, it was quite crowded. Don’t get me wrong, there was still plenty of stuff to play on. Actually, with it being so crowded many children were learning how to take turns and share with other kids – always good life lessons.
Westerville Community Center’s open playtime is a great way to meet up with friends who have kids similar in age, and get the kids out for some exercise if it is too cold or too hot outside. Oh – and if you don’t have the cash one week for one reason or another, take the kids to the “tree house” to play. The indoor play gym resembling a tree house has slides, things to climb, places for mom to sit and keep an eye on the kids for FREE!! It is located near the entrance of the building and has a view of the indoor swimming pool. This area may be a little more conducive to the preschool age set, but it isn’t huge – so don’t plan it as a mommies group outing.
Please note: open play lasts from September through the first week of December and then closes for the rest of the month. It reopens from January through May.
350 North Cleveland Avenue
Westerville, OH 43081
If you decide to take the kids to play, remember a few things:
- Take cash. It is easier.
- Bring a snack and a drink. My kids were begging for food when we left.
- There are plenty of areas to nurse, changing rooms, etc. It is a very baby and kid-friendly place!
- Non-residents can sign up for classes. Some really fun things offered during the year for young kids.