An on-the-job injury a couple of years ago forced Jimmy Turner of Louisburg to figure out what he wanted to do with the rest of his life.
Turner, who was no longer able to work in construction as he had for years, along with his wife Chantelle, a nursing student, often took their two young children to indoor family fun centers where they could jump on inflatables and play games. The Turners wondered if there wasn't a need for more. They researched the market for a year and decided there was.
"We found that there is nothing located here in north Raleigh by Triangle Town Center," Chantelle Turner said.
Kidz-N-Play opened late last year, catering to families with kids ages 0 to 12. The space off Spring Forest Road in north Raleigh is about five minutes from Triangle Town Center. The Turners knew an inflatable would be popular with kids, but they wanted to offer more too.
So in addition to an inflatable, you'll find a market for kids, play kitchen, a special space designed just for toddlers, a wooden train table, doll house and more. For older kids, there's an Xbox Kinect, air hockey table and arcade. It's all included in the admission price, which is $8 for kids 4 and up and $5 for kids 0 to 3.
The business is designed with parents in mind. It's an open space, not cluttered with inflatables and other toys, so parents can keep an eye on their kids no matter where they are, for the most part. In the women's bathroom, there's a rocking chair if a nursing mom wants to feed her baby in private and two changing pads.
The Turners were able to customize their inflatable. So you'll find scooped steps, instead of ropes, leading up to the top of the slide, making it easier for young children to climb up. And I like the separate play area for toddlers. Inflatables are too big and noisy for my two-year-old, but she could spend a lot of time in the toddler space while her older sister jumps.
There's a sitting area for parents with a TV and free WiFi. A concession stand serves drinks and snacks. And a great bonus: If you present your Kidz-N-Play receipt at Snoopy's, which is next door, you get a 25 percent discount off your order (good for the same day only).
Kidz-N-Play offers party packages. And Chantelle Turner said she expects they'll change things and add new play pieces over time.
"It's definitely been a learning experience," she said. "There are things that we're changing as we go and we're open to people's suggestions."
Her kids enjoy it too.
"It's fun, because they'll tell us it's their business," she said.
Kidz-N-Play is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday. The address is 2431 Spring Forest Rd. right near the intersection with Atlantic Avenue in north Raleigh.
For more information, watch my video interview with Chantelle Turner and go to the Kidz-N-Play website
I've added Kidz-N-Play to our list of indoor playgrounds.