Power2Play, the second floor active play area at Marbles Kids Museum, has a new look.
Museum designers have expanded on the Fitness Fun section, which included the rings and ladders, and added new pieces. The improvements come thanks to a two-year, $100,000 from the Carolina Hurricanes' Kids 'N Community Foundation.
Maureen Holdsworth, a Marbles exhibit and program developer, said Marbles worked with Hurricanes staffers to find out what hockey players need to be successful. The answer: good balance and upper core and arm strength.
"Then we tried to translate that ... for the kids," she tells me.
The result is a fun space with some unique equipment. The first is the "pull yourself up chair," a set of two chairs where kids and adults (the weight limit is about 350 pounds) can see if they are strong enough to pull themselves up or if they need help.
Next is the balance zone with a collection of balance pods that wobble or pivot. Kids balance as they walk across them. You'll find a cooperative balance board where four or five kids can balance at the same time. On the log rollers, kids can attempt to run on them or just see if they can stay balanced.
The exhibit's rings and ladders remain. They are in the space once filled by the soccer field, which is gone. There's now more space for the pieces, including for the lines that often form next to the rings.
On our trips to Marbles, Power2Play has always been the favorite of my older daughter, especially as she gets closer and closer to those tween years and ages out of many of the exhibits on the first floor. What I love about the upgraded space is that the new equipment, for the most part, is like nothing she's tried before. I foresee many an hour spent here.
Holdsworth tells me that providing kids with an opportunity to play on different kinds of equipment was one of the goals.
"We wanted to give kids a chance to try things that they don't get to do at gym class or recess," she said.
This is just the first phase of the grant, which also lets Marbles increases the number of needy children served through its outreach program. Next year, there are plans to add a screen to the kid-sized Jumbotron above Power2Play's popular Center Ice hockey rink.
The Workout Zone opened Thursday with an official grand opening set for Saturday during a Canes Play Day. Marbles plans a day of special activities starting at 11 a.m. with an opening ceremony with Stormy from the Hurricanes. From noon to 2 p.m., there will be hockey play with the Storm Squad. An inflatable slapshot booth also will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. It's all free with admission, which is $5 per person.
A special deal for Canes season ticket holders: Get $2 off museum and IMAX movie admission from Jan. 12 to 31. Must present Canes season ticketholder ID at time of purchase.
For a closer look at the new exhibit, watch the video.