A bit about indoor playground food rules

I met my friend and her kids at an indoor playground called Kidsport today. This was my first time at this place.

We have been to other indoor playgrounds when the children were younger but as our two older ones are entering the tween phase it has become evident that they needed something a little more challenging, and elaborate. Kidsport is suitable for ages up to 12 and my friend recommended it based on previous visits.

The play/climbing structure was huge and in the centre of the playground. It took up most of the playground space, but had other places, and things to do, beyond it, including a room for ball hockey and some pinball machines (which requires coins, which we did not supply to our kids). There were several ball pits, and structures they could not only climb and slide down from, but also hang off of. In the three and a half hours we were there we didn’t see the kids much, and that was part of the appeal. There were separate areas for younger, toddler-aged or preschool children as well so they didn’t have to mix with the older kids. All in all a well thought-out indoor playground for the 6 and 9 year olds in our family.

There was one thing that was kind of irksome though.

Some of the indoor playgrounds allow you to bring certain foods in. They may have a little snack bar, or even a small cafeteria style snack counter with hot dogs and pizzas, but for the most part they’re pretty open to letting you bring in the standard allergy-free fare (most people bring in goldfish crackers, veggies and fruit, maybe some apple sauce, that kind of thing).

Kidsport however does not allow outside food or drink into the facility. The choices at the little caf were horrible and very expensive, and although I did end up buying each kid a hot dog ($2.75 each) which they devoured, I would have preferred to bring along apple slices or cherry tomatoes, maybe some carrots. They both asked for pop and chips and I had to say no, several times.

It’s unfortunate that these high-active places don’t supply proper, nutritionally balanced food, or open up their rules to include snack items that adhere to allergy rules. After all, the majority of parents already adhere to these same rules in the school environment so I fail to see the problem.

I did notice many people brought in the odd item though. One woman brought in her coffee from Tim Hortons. What is the staff going to say, she can’t take it inside? Others brought in portable water bottles (including myself, I can’t see them refusing customers their own water bottles). They sold water there, it was expensive and only the Nestle kind (which some people refuse to buy). Both my friend and I had a bag with a couple of food items with us, intended for the kids to eat in the car on the way home, including fruit. I admit, I snuck them a couple of the strawberries, even though I wasn’t supposed to. The rest of the food I had for them, bread sticks, bananas and a granola bar, I saved for the car ride.

I didn’t see a water fountain either but that’s because I wasn’t looking. Other indoor playgrounds I’ve been to have had several, in various locations, and suitably situated low for the kids to reach themselves. Perhaps Kidsport had them, but if they did I didn’t see them.

The seating area was expansive and gave you a good view across the play area. My friend and I got a chance to catch up, and the kids had a blast. Despite the food thing, I will probably return again.

Do you take your kids to indoor playgrounds? Are there others who don’t allow food from home to be brought inside?

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One thought on “A bit about indoor playground food rules

  1. There’s a place like that here in Ottawa – Cosmic Adventures. They say you can’t bring in any outside food so that they can continue to guarantee that it’s a nut-free facility, but it does make you wonder when a plate of chicken nuggets and fries from the food shop is like, $13. To their credit they are super strict about it, though – that coffee and even the water bottles would not have made it past the entrance, I don’t think.

    We actually never go there anymore specifically for this reason. Ironically, it’s because my kids have food allergies in the first place that I need to know I can have snacks available that I’ve brought that are safe for them. So their “strictly nut free” policy (so called!) is actually working against them.

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