Edit: Well, the Sounds Fun Mom kids finally got to go to Charlie’s Safari, and we had a blast! I was really impressed with the friendliness of the staff, and the cleanliness of the facility. We spent more than I’d intended, mainly because I hadn’t planned well, and everyone was starving, which meant ordering from the somewhat pricey snack area. A few other things to know: You will lose sight of your kids in the enormous climber. I wasn’t concerned, but a few moms of little ones were a bit freaked, and I can see why. There is an area just for kids under 5, and I think it’s a great idea to use it! Bring cash if you want to use the arcade, as the token machine takes bills, and the ATM has a 2.00 fee.
If you want still more scoop, Read on for my original Charlie’s post courtesy of my pal, Heather…..
For years, my kids have been begging me to go to two places: Atlantis in the Bahamas and Charlie’s Safari, an indoor play center, in Lacey. What’s the connection? Both used to be heavily promoted on PBS kids, and after Curious George, or Clifford, or Caillou (shudder) my kids would say, “We want to go there,” with equal enthusiasm for both places. Well, I have to confess, we have yet to make it to either one. I know……my poor kids. As luck would have it, Monday, my pal Heather, who is constantly on the go with her adorable kiddos, announced that the whole crew was going to Charlie’s for the day. As I still have this flu thing, I shamelessly grilled her for details. She said it took her about a half an hour to get there, and her kids who are 7, 5, and 2, had a ton of fun. She also found a bogo deal on the website that made the entry a lot more affordable.
If you’re wondering what exactly Charlie’s Safari is, it’s a giant play place with a big climbing structure, bounce toys, and laser tag and an arcade for older children. There is also an area just for the under 5 set, as well as a cafeteria. If you look at Heather’s pic, that thing to the left that looks like a building is the climber. You can see some of the bouncers in the background. I know-huge! Now, I did look at some reviews from parents online, and while most were very positive, a few noted that little kids can get run over by bigger ones when the bouncers and climber get busy. I have found this to be true at most places that attract mixed age kids-including, let’s face it-the playground. My advice is just to stick to a not too busy time and avoid school vacation days like the plague. I’m thinking any average weekday before 3:00 would probably be fine.
If your kids are really little, you can just use the tike area, but for most kids you’ll want to get the wristband that allows admission to the arcade and the climbing structure and bouncy things. It’s 10.00 but right now, if you bring 3 cans of food when you buy one, you get the second free! I think that’s really quite a good value for a whole afternoon of play. There are also regular discounts available for military and police and firefighter families. If you don’t want to donate food, there is also a Bogo coupon in the Entertainment Book. You can’t use these offers in combination.
Do you do Charlie’s? I’d love to hear your tips!