Summer can be hard; the big kids are annoyed with the little kids being everywhere. The little kids are annoyed that the big kids have taken over their favorite play spaces. Funtopia, now open in Glenview offers you a reprieve from telling your big kids to “watch the little ones!”
Funtopia just celebrated its grand opening in June and we got to check it out during the soft opening. It’s a climbing wonderland for kids, best for ages eight and older. Children must weigh at least 35 pounds to climb on the walls, and there are various height requirements at other stations. There is also a soft play area that is specifically for children ages eight years old and younger, if you have a mixed age family.
The indoor playplace is fully padded and gated, so wear socks or flat shoes. It features 50 different climbing elements, fun walls, jumps, a ropes course, a cave, quick jump, and a giant slide. Many of these things are additional fees (more on that later). It’s one of only two locations in the United States and the only one east of the Mississippi. Your time there is charged like at a trampoline park and paid for by the hour with 1, 1.5, and 2-hour admissions available, as well as full day passes. I think that the 1.5 hour pass is the sweet spot, as at the two-hour mark my kids bodies were really physically spent and they were having a harder time, yet I still had to drag them out–they NEVER would have left voluntarily!
The general admission is for the fun walls/climbing and provides you with quite a lot to do, especially if your kids have never or hardly ever climbed, or if they are on the fearful side. All of the walls and structures are themed in fun motifs that correlate to children’s stories or imaginations. The skill levels needed for the walls vary as well. Kids can climb a beanstalk, scale across a city or climb in a spiderweb. All the walls are manned with staff that assist them and help them hook up with the harness and get down.
In addition to the walls, the general admission includes some areas where the kids get to be the creator. Kids can build their own walls to climb and jump off of, or build a wall to go crashing through. It’s a lot of fun and a great way for first time climbers to learn how the harness system works.
This is not your ordinary playground slide–it’s a 20-foot, drop slide. The additional fee allows riders two attempts on the slide. Riders war a full suit, provided, to aid in the sliding and provide protection to exposed skin. Once the rider is suited up, they grab a bar and are pulled up the slide. They choose when to let go so they can go as high, or not high, as they want. It’s a fast ride and the kids liked that they could choose the height. it made it less scary than thinking they had to do it from the top.
Funtopia offers two options for jumps, the Jump in Air and the Quick Jump. The Quick Jump was not open or finished when we were there. It appears to just be a ladder that goes from the floor to ceiling and you jump off of a platform at the top for a free fall. You get two attempts with your purchase. The Jump in Air also gives you two attempts, but it is located within the padded fun wall area. You climb up a padded building and can choose to jump on to a hanging mat that looks like a large punching bag or a bar.
Unlike the images we saw on the website, Glenview only has one ropes course–it’s an additional fee, and gets you two attempts. This course is for children over four feet tall and is probably about six to eight feet off of the ground. It didn’t seem super high to me, but I was on the ground. The course proved to be a little tricky and my son was not a fan of it. My daughter would have loved to try it, but was told she was too short. I wish I had worn appropriate shoes (I had flip-flops on) because adults can participate as well, and I am sure had I done the course with them both of my kids would have had no problem.
I was happy to see how helpful and encouraging the staff was, even when children were scared or apprehensive. They never pushed them to just go, they explained how to do it, how they were safe and tried encouraging them. If the child still could not be made to do something, they were helped down and encouraged to come back after they warmed up on some other equipment.
SOFT PLAY/ JUNGLE GYM
In addition to all of the climbing, swinging fun, there is a soft play area and jungle gym for children under the age of eight. This has its own admission and can be purchased separate from the Fun Walls. The soft play area is a short walled, padded area with soft toys much like you would see at many local museums to accommodate non-walkers.
The large jungle gym provided my three- and five-year-old with hours of entertainment while the big kids climbed. They were having so much fun they didn’t even feel left out or ask to do the big kids stuff! While it’s a great playground if you are already visiting with siblings, I personally don’t think it’s worth the drive from Northern Lake County just to do the jungle gym.
In addition to open play they also do birthday parties and have several themed rooms and a large common area in a loft above the jungle gym. It’s a nice area that is totally separated from the play area so kids can wind down and rest, play games, and eat. They can host up to six birthday parties at a time. And it’s not just for kids! They also do corporate events and team building. There is seating all around and a small cafe located inside.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Shoes must be worn by climbers, parents in the climbing area can wear socks or non heeled shoes. Children in the soft play/jungle gym must wear socks.
All climbers will be harnessed and must watch a five minute safety video before they enter the fun wall area.
Staff are positioned all around the fun wall area and will assist getting children hooked up and help them with the equipment. Parents can pay and climb as well, but are not allowed to be the ones hooking up their children.
Children must weigh 35 pounds in order to climb. While my children did, they are both very skinny and did have some redness and soreness on their chests from the clips rubbing on them. I think this was partly caused by us being there too long, I think the perfect amount of time to spend here is 1.5 hours.
Overall, this place is amazing and totally worth the drive to Glenview, my kids have not stopped talking about it, and they keep asking to go back.
Disclosure: My family was given complimentary admission in order to facilitate this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not further compensation was received.