We love Southpoint Mall's play area (see previous post). But there's so much more to the mall we just had to share. We found that these "hidden treasures" worked best if you don't plan to stay at any of them for long, but simply wander from one to the next, at your child's own pace. Here's a rundown:
- The fountains. There are at least 3 along the outdoor pedestrian walkways, and all are kid-friendly, at least for viewing (playing in the fountains is discouraged, although we've seen people get away with it). Not only are they fun to watch, they're great for backache-free walking lessons as the edges are the right height for a pre-toddler to stand on and walk around while holding mommy's hands.
-The rocks outside Anthropologie. Located in the outdoor area, this store can be recognized by its rocky landscaping. Perfect for young toddlers in the "grabby" stage, although you'll want to watch younger kids because each one of these smooth, round treasures is a choking hazard. You might not believe us, but our toddlers were engrossed for a good 20 minutes here. Don't try this on a busy day, though--the store gets a good amount of traffic. Most were enchanted with our adorable kids, but we still didn't want them underfoot.
-The raised sculpture areas inside the mall. Kids can explore statues and wander around these structures found in the middle of the mall and near Sears. Also good for beginning walkers.
-The mall's upstairs. If you didn't bring a stroller, the escalator could be exciting enough (be prepared to do laps on them). The food court also provided some fun. Clear in the back, almost as far as you can go, are some munchkin-sized tables and chairs. You actually can't see them until you're almost next to them because they hide behind their adult counterparts. There's also a long padded booth to sit on. Bring some crayons and the kids can color in a new place, use the area for snacktime, or simply explore and push the chairs around. Nearby the food court, there's a hallway that crosses in front of a large window overlooking the pedestrian street. This is a great place to let toddlers run around, as it's a fun, open environment that doesn't get a lot of traffic.
-Barnes and Noble. There's a nice train table, and storytime in the kids book section. Not to mention the lovely array of titles to try out.
-The Apple store. Buttons to push, screens, fun chairs to sit on. You'll want to keep this short, though, as the machines are rather expensive to replace.
-Pottery Barn Kids. Toys and a storytime attract moms here. Kids are supposedly welcome to play with the toys, although it's still a store so you'll want to supervise closely. We thought close supervision to be more stressful than it's worth, but this could work for some kids.
-Landscaping. It's all over the outskirts of the mall, and is worth exploring for young toddlers.
-Live entertainment. On the weekends, look for Balloon Animal Guy (in the middle of the mall) and various musicians and magicians outside. Bring some spare change so your kids can drop some in their cups and support the arts.
-Looking for quiet places to nurse? Try Nordstrom's restrooms (couches!) or the far back of the food court upstairs.
Why we like it:
The mall's hidden treasures can be found both indoors and out, so you can take advantage of the mall's offerings in any kind of weather. They're varied, and great for inspiring kids' imaginations with a variety of materials.
Depending on your child's age and interests, you may have to really closely supervise to make sure everyone and everything remains safe. Since most of these activities aren't designed for kids, we'd recommend you exercise really good judgment before using them.
Your comments needed:
Find another "hidden treasure" at the mall? We'd love to hear, leave us a comment!