What it is: Wheels is a bit of a Durham tradition, though it has seen better days since it opened in 1980. In the nondescript steel buildings are a roller skating rink, go-kart track, mini-golf, skateboard park, batting cages, a video arcade, and a huge indoor climbing structure for the younger set. They also regularly throw big open parties for older kids and teenagers, with DJs and light shows. It's funky and a little hard to describe. Since we have younger kids (2 and 4 yo girls) we stick to the play gym, which has a gigantic gym structure with slides and ball pits.
What we like: It is so relaxed and friendly there. The older couple who own the place really run it for families wanting to have fun together. The kids seem to just let loose in the playgym, no matter how cranky. Even though I often see 6-9 year-olds in the play gym with the littler ones, everyone's always very mindful and polite. Clearly it's not new but it's clean and well-kept. And if you want to go crawl in with your kids, you're welcome to, and you'll get a great workout! The play gym is only open for open play Fri, Sat and Sun, but it's open later in the evenings, which makes it a great way to expend energy before dinner.
What we would change: Honestly, I like it how it is, not too flashy or high-tech. But the walls and flooring have gotten a little dingy, the fluorescent lighting is a little tiring.
Directions and important information: It's located just off Hwy 70 near the interchange with I-85: as you get off 85 onto 70, it'll be the first exit, and then after you head East back over the highway, it'll be the street on your right. It can be hard to miss, especially in the dark.
Address: 715 North Hoover Road, Durham, NC 27703
Phone Number: 919-598-1944
Each activity has different hours, so call ahead to check, but at the time of writing, the hours were:
Roller Skating: Wed. 4-9, Fri. 4-10, Sat. 10-10, Sun. 1-9
Fun Park/Play Gym: Fri. 4-9, Sat. 10-9, Sun. 1-9
1. Wheels from the outside
2. Play gym