Cost: Free for egg hunts; $5 for unlimited rides and inflatables
Times: 10 am to 5 pm, usually the last Saturday before Easter. In 2014, it’s on April 19.
Location: Sprayberry High School football field, 2525 Sandy Plains Road, Marietta, GA 30066
Kelly’s Comments: The Community Egg Drop has gotten bigger and bigger each year (last year’s attendance topped 22,000!). With hunts organized by age group, and a helicopter that flies over and drops thousands of eggs from the sky, toddlers through elementary-aged children are sure to be impressed. Hey, it’s pretty cool for the adults too (we all wish we were the ones in the helicopter, right!?). Besides the great grab bags, which usually include coupons and freebies from local merchants, there are a variety of inflatables, slides, carnival-style games, and door prizes. Enjoy free pictures and high-fives with the Easter Bunny, the Chik-Fil-A Cow and the Zaxby’s Chicken.
Cost: Weekdays, $8.99/child; Weekends, $9.99/child; Age 2 and under, $5
Times: Monday through Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm (Barrett location stays open until 8 pm on Friday/Saturday); Sunday, 11 am to 6 pm
Locations: Marietta Monkey Joe’s, 50 Barrett Parkway, Suite 111, Marietta, GA 30066; Roswell Monkey Joe’s, 700 Holcomb Bridge Road, Suite 200, Roswell, GA 30076
Kelly’s Comments: Monkey Joe’s was one of the original “jumpy house” pioneers, and the company is still going strong. There are two locations close to East Cobb. Each features inflatable slides, jumps, and obstacle courses, including toddler-only areas. Separate adults-only sections feature wireless internet, television, and comfy chairs. A bunch of junk food is available for purchase on-site, so I’d recommend bringing your own snacks and leaving them in the car. Socks are mandatory, but if you forget them, you can always purchase a pair at the front desk.
Cost: Open play, $6 first child, $4 siblings, $4 crawlers; prices vary for dance and music lessons
Times: Open bounce times vary depending on birthday party and class schedules; check website for details. (Generally closed on the weekends for private parties.)
Location: Champion Kids, 1465 Canton Road NW, Suite 100, Marietta, GA 30066
Kelly’s Comments: Champion Kids is a kid-pleasing mixture of inflatables and gymnastics equipment, including a foam pit and trampolines. The center offers a variety of dance, cheerleading, music, gymnastics, parkour, and special needs classes, as well as camps, clinics, and rockin’ birthday parties. Whether your little angels need to get the crazies out on a rainy day or need a structured class environment, they’re sure to have fun!
Cost: 2 and under, $6; 3 and up, $9
Times: Monday through Thursday, 10 am to 6 pm; Friday through Saturday, 11 am to 7 pm; Sunday, 11 am to 6 pm
Location: Catch Air (in Wal-Mart shopping center), 2505 Chastain Meadows Parkway, Suite 103, Marietta, GA 30066
Kelly’s Comments: We’ve been to Catch Air for parties and open bounce, and my kids really like it. It has the usual bouncy castles and inflatable slides, but it also has a light-up dance floor, a three-story tree house/adventure zone/swirly slide kid mecca, various ride-ons, a ball pit, and other plastic kid delights. Although there is a decent play area specifically for the tots, it’s best suited for kids who can fend for themselves, as there are various parts of the tree house that obscure parents’ vision. The center also turns off the lights every half hour for a brief cosmic play experience, which may scare the little ones. Verdict: Either just bring a toddler who is happy to stay in the kids’ area, or bring the older kid(s) without the younger ones. Or, do what I usually do, which is to bring both age groups and spend your time whipping your head back in forth as if at a tennis match, chasing your preschooler in the dark, and going down enclosed tunnel slides that are entirely too small for your butt. In all seriousness, kids love this place, but if you have multiple young’uns, it’s best to solicit the ol’ spouse to come with you for supervisory purposes.