INDIAN TRAIL – A huge indoor playground is expected to open off U.S. 74 sometime this fall, giving kids a new place to burn off energy and parents a chance to work or relax.
Playland, located at 2700 Gray Fox Road, is as colorful as stepping into a game of Candyland. The space features a three-level soft play structure that’s over 1,700 square feet and designed for kids 3 to 12 years old. There are giant slides, ball pits, tunnels and bridges, as well as a separate area for infants and toddlers. While kids play, parents can sip on coffee at the cafe.
A grand opening for Playland was originally slated for August, but is now expected to happen in September due to COVID-19.
Olga Khmelnytskyy and her husband, Dan, came up with the idea after visiting a similar concept in Portland, Oregon.
“Being parents of two little active children, we are always looking for something to do with them,” Khmelnytskyy said. “We realized the Charlotte area was really lacking places like this that parents and kids can enjoy.”
The Matthews couple decided to put their plan into action shortly after their second child was born last year and have been working on it ever since.
“Our toddler was driving me crazy,” Khmelnytskyy said. “He had so much energy and it was hard to find someplace that was safe and clean to go.”
Safety is a big deal at Playland. The open floor plan is secured with child-safe gates so kids can run freely between play areas without the risk of leaving the facility unaccompanied. Socks are required for everyone who enters.
High-touch areas and equipment will be constantly disinfected throughout the day and the entire facility will be regularly sprayed with an antimicrobial fog treatment that kills and prevents bacteria. The ball pit will be cleaned using a professional ball washing machine that puts the balls through a heavy wash, scrub and UVsanitization cycle.
As parents of young children, Khmelnytskyy and her husband understand the importance of having not only a fun space for kids, but also one that’s safe and clean. She said opening Playland with high sanitation standards is the only way that’s possible, especially during a pandemic.
“Play is essential for kids. They need play for their own health and development,” Khmelnytskyy said. “It’s not a luxury they can put off and no matter what you do, kids need interaction. We’re going to create the safest place we can so kids can play.”
But Playland isn’t just all about the kids. Adults get free admission and there’s a cafe serving coffee from local roasters, sweet and savory crepes, snacks, refreshments and pizza from Marco’s Pizza in Indian Trail.
Khmelnytskyy said parents can use the facility’s free WiFi and outlets to work remotely while their kids play.
“It’s going to end up being cheaper than hiring a babysitter,” she said.
Playland has two party rooms and offers a variety of birthday party packages. Khmelnytskyy said they also plan to host events like character visits, art classes, Bible story times and parents night out where parents can drop their kids off and go on a date.
Of course, the couple is nervous about opening an indoor playground in the middle of a pandemic, but they’re also excited. Olga said they’ve been dreaming of this concept long before the coronavirus hit and they’re not going to let that dream fade – not when they’re so close to being done.
“It’s so awesome to see everything come together and now we have a clearer picture of all the months and months of planning,” she said. “We can finally see everything we did.”
Stay in the loop
Follow @playlandclt on Facebook and Instagram for updates and grand opening announcements. Visit www.playlandnc.com to see hours, pricing, rules and FAQs.