Independence Center Play Area?

Updated on April 26, 2007
E.S. asks from Orlando, FL
8 answers

Independence Center is a pretty good hike for us, but I'm willing to drive for something new to do. What can anyone tell me about the play area for kids? I've been there once or twice, but it's been a long time. I remember a carousel and some sort of soft play area--what's that area like? For example, Oak Park Mall claims to have a play area, but all it is is one tree with a not-slippery slide, and then a separate area with a couple of those silly climb-on things like a canoe and a mushroom. Kids seem to like them, but my son loses interest in about 3 minutes, and I can't blame him. They also have a really nice train and carousel, which he loves, but they cost. So, what can I expect from Independence Center? Also, how enclosed is it? Could I conceivably sit with a friend and still be able to watch Stuart play to make sure he's safe?

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So What Happened?

Well, we gave it a try, and I don't think we'll be back. Stuart loves ride-on cars, and at 75 cents a pop (what a rip-off!), that's just too expensive. He did like the carousel, and we did talk him into climbing/sliding on the bridge they have, and he did a little climbing on the mushrooms, but mostly he just wanted to drive the cars/jeeps/helicopters/etc. We just can't afford that! For that price, I'd rather take him to the Great Mall. We love the play area there--the problem we have with it is that it's right outside Zonkers. That's great if we're going to spend $7 for a wristband at Zonkers anyway, but not so good if we want a free place to play. I think we'll try to find some good, clean McDonalds for future trips! I can buy him a shake or even a Happy Meal for much less than the rides at Independence Center.

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answers from Kansas City on

I haven't been to Indepenence center but I swear by Crown Center. We go there all the time! They have kid friendly shops and places to eat. They also have a rotating exhibit that they change at least 4 times a year. I believe the one they have right now is an underwater exhibit. There are books and places to climb and fun things to touch and explore. So not only is it an indoor play area but also a learning experience!

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answers from Kansas City on

My son like to play there when the weather isn't the greatest.
He's a big 5 year old and of course wants to run and jump now.

I feel he's a little too big for it. I wish some of the other parents felt that way too. All the times I have gone there are kids way to old/big which are allowed to play too rough and the littler kids get ran over, knocked down, etc.

I would just avoid the busy times and pick a weekday.



answers from Kansas City on

Try the food court and the Great Mall of the Great Plains. It's free and las a checked ther was a ton of stuff to climb on located in an enclosed area.



answers from Kansas City on

I agree completely with Jessica about it being a little too difficult to keep track of my two kids there. They too go in separate directions and one ends up in the ride-on cars and the other ventures over the the arcade area. I never do it by myself, only when my husband or grandma can be with us to help watch. It's true there are 3 exit/entrances, and the play area is usually always busy, so when I can't see my kids for a second it makes me nervous.

They recently upgraded it a bit, they replaced the old climb-ons that were worn out and tattered, and added more smaller ones.

Maybe something you'd also be interested in...I had to take an orpaned squirrel to Lakeside Nature Center yesterday (right near the KC Zoo), and was pleased to find I could also take my kids inside for FREE to see the rescued animals there. There were bunnies, birds (eagles,owls,hawks), snakes, turtles, fish, opossums, and more. My kids loved it! It took us about 30 minutes or so to see everything, we took our time. But the kids loved it and it didn't cost anything so that might be something fun you could do with your son.



answers from Kansas City on

Hi E.-
The kids seem to love the play area at Independence Center. However from a mom's point of view: there are too many entrances/exits and there are too many places where your child can play but be out of view. In my oppinion it is too big of an area to make me feel at ease. So, it depends on how old your kids are and your comfort level. I have 2 children 4 and 2 and they run in opposite directions and my heart still panics for that moment when they are inside a toy car but I can't see them.
Zona Rosa has a fun enclosed play area too.



answers from Kansas City on

Have you tried the play area at the Great Mall in Olathe? I go there every Thursday with my friend for a play date. It's in the middle of the food court, so park close to the theaters and it's enclosed by bench seating. There's one opening, so you can't leave your kid and go have lunch (I see a lot of parents do that, it scares me to death). Anyway, it's interesting enough for my three and four year old and keeps their attention. We usually grab lunch with my friend and her baby and then play until nap time.



answers from Kansas City on

We are out south, but take our kids over there occasionally. They are 11, 8 and 5, but it is very appropriate for younger kids. The carousel is wonderful, and the kids for some reason really enjoy all the soft, crawl-around-on stuff. There are a couple of other rides too. You can buy an armband there, but our kids spend more time on the free crawl-on stuff, so it doesn't seem like there's a point to it. If you go at an off-time, you can pretty much find the place to yourself, too, which can be good with a little one. I worry about big kids carelessly over-running the toddlers...

There are also a lot of things you can pay extra money to do, and they seem pretty worthless to me - like "the claw" and a bunch of others.

Anyway, it's definitely not Worlds of Fun, but it's a nice change. There's a food court right there, too, and across the street from the mall is a sit-down restaurant that we kind of like called 54th Street Grill. You can make a day of it!



answers from Kansas City on

Hi E.!

Independence Center is OK. They do have a play mushroom, tree, bridge, etc, but the best thing is the double decker carousel. It has gone up to $2.00 per ride, but parents are free. Then there is alot of kids rides but you have to put quarters in. My 4 year old loves just playing with and being around the other children. She likes to pretend to drive the cars as I usually take a small amount of change, when that's gone, that is it! We will spend an hour or so out there. The best time to go is week-day mornings. Also, there is a big food court just off the play area, so we might meet up with friends play for a while, then have lunch.

Anyway, hope this helps. Again, the play area is not bad and plenty of sitting areas for moms.

Have fun!


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