Until this past December, I hadn’t stepped foot in the Pearlridge Shopping Center for years. Now I think I might make it a monthly occurrence thanks to the Funtastic KidZone.
But first…. my previous allure: the monorail
When I was a little kid, one of my favorite places to visit was the Pearlridge Center. Why? Because they had a monorail. Seriously, how cool is that? Fun fact: Pearlridge Center has the only monorail in the state. Two major sections make up the mall: “Mauka” (previously called “Uptown”) and “Wai Makai” (previously called “Downtown”). And the monorail bridges the two sides.
As a little kid, I used to go just so I could ride the monorail. Back when I was the mother of a toddler, we visited Pearlridge Center all the time to ride the monorail. It was Emily’s most favorite thing on earth for several years running. While she still loves the monorail, Emily has a lot of other “favorites” these days. Visits to Pearlridge had completely fallen by the wayside. That changed once we were invited to a birthday party at the Funtastic KidZone. My daughter had such a good time at the party that the Funtastic KidZone has been added to our rotating list of places to visit when Emily isn’t in school.
What is the Funtastic KidZone?
A huge indoor playground arena is located in the Wai Makai section of Pearlridge Center, nestled between Vans and Sketchers. Towards the front of the KidZone, you’ll find a toddler section for ages 1-4. Everything from a whale and a mini merry-go-round to plastic playground structures and kitchen sets abound in the toddler section. Towards the back of the Funtastic KidZone is a structure for older kids. Slides, hammock swings, a trampoline, caterpillar climbing structure… you name it. It is pretty much heaven to my daughter and the other kids enjoying their time.
What to bring to the Funtastic KidZone?
Socks are a must for kids enjoying the play structures (and I assume for parents that need to be in the structure with their younger kids as well). They do offer socks for purchase if you forget. I’d also recommend water. Lots of water. Getting my kid to drink water on a daily basis is no easy feat. But Emily definitely gets thirsty running around the place. She constantly stops by wherever I’m sitting to grab her hydroflask. However, don’t worry if you forget or run out (like I did on our first visit). The Funtastic Kidzone does offer water bottles for $1. And that’s actually a pretty good deal considering what bottles of water go for these days in vending machines.
How does pricing work at the Funtastic KidZone?
The Funtastic KidZone costs $15 per kid (free entry for adults). That entrance fee is good for 2 hours, although I’m not sure how well that is monitored. When we went this week I dragged my kid out of there right at the two-hour mark. However, at the birthday party we attended we were there for over three hours. The party had officially ended by that time but my daughter and some of her friends continued to stay and play at the KidZone.
Throwing a party?
I’ll say it. I hate throwing kid birthday parties. Maybe I have really poor planning skills but I feel like my parties are always super disorganized. We’re never ready on time, end up needing tons of help from other parents and the kids end up starving. So embarrassing! (Those will be stories for another day). Since I wasn’t hostess at the Funtastic KidZone party, I realize I could be simplifying matters. However, it sure seemed like a great place to throw a party.
When we got there, I mentioned the party to the front desk and they quickly checked my daughter’s name off from a list of the party-going guests. Then we were ushered into the area in the back of the KidZone that is allocated to parties. The party space provides tables and chairs and allows food to be brought in from the outside. We had space for all the presents and three tables with multiple chairs for the food and the guests. While we ended up needing to vacate that back section/party room after a couple of hours, the kids used the play structures all afternoon.
For anyone interested in throwing a party here, I came across these two pricing options on the Funtasic KidZone instagram page:
My plans for next time…
The only downside I see to the Funtastic KidZone is that the seating isn’t great for adults. I’m 5’9″ and mostly legs (does this make me sound very model-esque? I assure you I am not). The “mostly legs” issue meant that in addition to being very uncomfortable, sitting on the balance beam-looking waiting chairs caused my legs to constantly be in the way of others. I spent two hours trying to constantly contort my legs so that people could get by me.
Therefore, next time I go I’m bringing the entire family. I realize that sounds just like misery wanting company, but hear me out! I would love a chance to get to investigate the rest of the mall or find a place to grab a quick bite to eat. With my husband in tow, one parent could be in the KidZone for an hour or so while the other gets to enjoy some alone time, and then we could switch. Happy kids, happy wife, fed husband. Sounds like a golden plan to me!
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