Back in my day – yep, I’m starting a sentence like with ‘back in my day’ – we got by with battery-operated board games made of flimsy plastic, and electronic gaming systems that took cartridges as big as your head. In the 90s, we surely didn’t have pocket-sized touch screen devices to entertain us.
I also recall parks featuring play equipment concepts that you never see around anymore, probably because they’re an extreme liability. Think rickety metal slippery dips, rocket ships made of metal cages, roundabouts made of enormous slabs of concrete that spun at 40km/hr when a few of the big kids got them going. Not that I’m complaining – there’s some cool stuff around nowadays as well, as I discovered on a recent to trip to an indoor play centre and kids party venue in Bundoora the other day.
Not only is everything there vibrantly coloured (although I do have nostalgia for the industrial look of the play equipments of my youth), there are apparatuses that I’d have absolutely lost it for when I was a kid. Ball pits, jumping castles, multi-level climbing frames that you can’t break your five year-old self on – these used to be the domain of theme parks or special carnivals, not pay-to-play suburban warehouses open 7 days a week. I’ll tell you what, I was keen to get stuck into some of that equipment myself, but I didn’t think the folks at my cousin’s fifth birthday would take too kindly to a 32 year-old man blocking up the slides.
Why can’t someone put together a grown-up version of this most inspired concept, the indoor adventure play centre? In Melbourne, the weather can be unpredictable to say the least. So being able to actively frolic on playful apparatuses (i.e. not stationary bikes) would be a boon for the health and wellbeing of many adults.
Hey, I just realised – I’m an adult! That means I have the power to make this happen myself. Stay tuned to find out how far I get with this hair-brained scheme.