At exactly 10:44 a.m. last Sunday morning, the bewitching hour started, that moment when the kids are no longer happy to just sit around and relax. We had had back-to-back baseball games the day before, as well as a night out at the Koka Booth Amphitheater for the N.C. Symphony's Broadway evening, and I had not yet thought about plans for how we would spend our Sunday.
In that moment, I remembered a Facebook post from Go Play Outside Now, a "family outdoor recreation center that is based on old world values in hopes to get everyone outdoors to enjoy the nature that surrounds us." This sounded like exactly what we needed! When the boys asked if they could bring their basketball and baseball mitts and I was able to answer "Yes!" I knew this was the right place for the day. I packed up a few snacks, picked up my niece and nephew, and we headed over to Garner.
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We were greeted by Ann, the Founder/Visionary, who I had spoken to on the phone before we headed over. Ann gave all of us the lowdown: Be kind, don't pick up the chickens, the water is free (because this is America!), have fun! All music to any parents ears!
I had five children with me, three boys 5, 10 and 11 and two 13 year old girls. As the afternoon progressed, and the space filled up, the age range of kids was impressive. But even more impressive was that, regardless of age, all of the kids were joining in.
There is a basketball court and it was great to see a pick-up game of basketball going on with what seemed like 30 players. The laser tag forest was hugely popular and my five year old emerged hours later, happy, sweaty, and ready for more! He had spent the entire time playing laser tag with 20 other children while his brother and cousin played basketball. It was great to see him joining in and making friends with each new group of laser tag participants.
The guys who were running the laser tag area had the patience of saints and a great manner with the kids as they repeated the rules and safety requirements for each round of laser tag. There were tons of picnic tables under the shade of trees and I happily sat there relaxing and taking it all in. There was a large homeschooling group get together and quite a few birthday parties going on. Everyone seemed to be having a great time.
In addition to the basketball court and laser tag, there are rope and tire swings, a beach volleyball court, an area set up as a camp site that the kids can explore. There is even a fire pit, complete with long sticks that you can roast marshmallows and hotdogs on. Ping Pong tables for the little and big ones, corn hole, and I almost forgot about the slides, one of which includes a water feature!
The girls, being 13 and all, surprised me by actually breaking away from their phones and playing on the rope swings and trying a few things out, before settling down with their books on the picnic table with me. You can bring your own food, have pizza delivered, or pick up some take-out from down the road. Ann does not currently have a concession stand and based on the fabulous picnics everyone seemed to have packed she doesn't need one anytime soon.
Admission is $10 per adult and children (toddlers 36 inches and below are $5). You can hold a party there and the price is $15 per child and adults are waived in free. Bring cash or checks because Ann does not take credit or debit cards.
We had a fantastic day and I would definitely recommend putting a day out at Go Play Outside Now on your summer plan, or just heading over if you find yourself in need of a last minute plan. Thank you Ann for following through on your vision and bringing Go Play Outside Now alive!
http://www.goplayoutsidenow.com / 919-796-5601