After being cooped up inside for way too long with all this snow, we decided to try out Ballocity at the Pip Moyer Recreation Center in Annapolis.
Friends told me it was a fun place for kids, so my husband and I took our two boys, ages 4 and 2, on a Saturday morning around 10 a.m. The Rec Center is a busy place on a Saturday with lots of sports games going on, members using the gym equipment and fitness classes. We were lucky to find a parking spot!
At the front desk we checked in and paid for wrist bands to Ballocity, which were $6 per child. I wasn’t sure what to expect as we were directed down a large set of stairs and through a hallway that led away from all the sounds of referee whistles and squeaking shoes. Tucked away, we found Ballocity: a giant indoor playground fully equipped with mesh nets, various climbing areas, a long twisty slide and lots and lots of balls!
We all took off our shoes and went in to explore. Inside the main part of the playground was a wide open space with tons of balls littering the floor. In one corner was a contraption that blasted air out of various tubes, which would keep the foam balls floating in mid air if placed over them. In another corner was a place to stick the balls into tubes which would suck them up and shoot them out on the second level of the playground. Up on that level you could take the balls to one of six “ball cannons” where they could be loaded in and shot down into the main area below through a compressed air firing mechanism.
We learned right away the only con of this fun place — right in the middle of the main open area was a pillar with a funnel-like top. When you pushed a bright green button it would suck up a pile of balls through the middle and explode them out the top, raining down on everyone. Fun, right? The only problem was the shockingly loud noise it made. My poor little guys immediately ran up to it, hit the button, then literally fell backwards from how loud it was, clutching their ears and screaming in fright. From then on, every time a child pushed that button, my boys (and actually quite a few other little ones in there) would cover their ears and get upset. Luckily there weren’t many children around that early to set the loud disturbance off, so we spent almost an hour playing, climbing, sliding and shooting balls at each other without too many tears.
I like how the facility had play areas for varying ages. The main playground could accommodate small children who just like playing with the balls and air tubes, or older children who like climbing and working the ball cannons above. A small little play area adjacent to the indoor playground had a soft floor and a few tunnels and a slide for tots that are crawling or just started walking.
There was a “Kids Zone” right next to Ballocity with toys, activities and play areas appropriate for children 4 months to 12 years old. It was a nice place to take a break from the chaos of Ballocity (and escape the loud ball tower that was now going off constantly with an influx of kids, possibly from a sporting game). I saw on the sign as we left that the Kids Zone could also be used as a babysitting service for parents, for an additional fee, while they attended fitness classes or used the gym inside Pip Moyer Rec Center.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Ballocity, and I’m glad to have discovered another fun place where my boys can burn energy on cold winter days. The staff was friendly and the whole place was very clean. There were multiple family restrooms within a couple steps of the playground, great for little ones potty training. I highly recommend arriving right when it opens or trying a weekday, as by noon it was quite crowded.
The hours fluctuate, so I recommend visiting the Pip Moyer Recreation Center website for the current hours of operation.
Mandy Watts is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Crownsville with her husband, Justin, who runs their family business, and their two sons, 4-year-old James and 2-year-old Luke.