I’m about a year into this being a dad thing. As parents, we cheer every development our children make. We scramble for our phones as our babies make another attempt at rolling over. She didn’t. Not this time. But you were ready. Just in case it was the one. When she does finally roll over, we’re happy. Then she’s rolling all over the place and we miss the baby that stayed still on her play mat.
The natural beauty of Prince George allows for many outdoor adventures to keep the kids active and entertained. But the cold autumn winds are starting to flow and we all know what comes next. As my daughter stumbles her first few steps (which happened about an hour before I wrote this), I am thankful to places around town that have carved an indoor space for the little ones.
Pine Centre’s toddler play area
As a kid growing up in Prince George in the 90s, I spent a lot of time at Pine Centre Mall. I remember asking my parents for pennies so I could throw it as close to the paddlewheel boat in the fountain as possible. Like the penny, however, the fountain and paddlewheel are no longer. I couldn’t tell you when Pine Centre opened its toddler play area, but I remember thinking that it didn’t really look that fun. Boy, was I wrong?
I was hesitant to take my daughter to the play area at Pine Centre because it was a popular place that usually had lots of bigger kids playing. One night, my wife noticed no one was in there and we decided to give it a try. My daughter loved it. She laughed as she crawled through the log and tent, over the rabbit and fire, in the canoe, and, unsuccessfully, up the tree. Since then, we have gone to the mall numerous times for no other reason than for her to play. A fountain with a paddlewheel boat was cool but once you threw your penny in you shrugged your shoulders and moved on. I would have preferred the play area as a kid.
Prince George Public Library
One of the places I missed most when I moved to Calgary was the Prince George Public Library. From my experience with other library systems, I must say, what we have in Prince George is pretty great.
Let’s start off with the fish. Anywhere that is trying to appeal to children should have fish. Every time we go to the library, she points to the tank. She then points out every fish in there as if we wouldn’t know they existed unless she showed us.
Reading is important to me and I want it to be important to my daughter as well. We have worked through numerous classics such as The Pout-Pout Fish while sitting in the really nice reading boat at the library. Though I’m sure it’s not meant to be a “play area” per say, the boat has served as place of exploration when she decides that she is being a pout-pout fish to whatever book we are reading. The potential of what the library has to offer only expands as my daughter grows.
The Exploration Place
Even though I do not have an annual family pass to The Exploration Place, I strongly recommend every family get an annual family pass to the Exploration Place. It only costs $95 for two adults and four children under the age of 18. That’s like two trips to the movies these days. My daughter has a little bit of growing to do before the museum becomes of interest to her but, my gosh, have you seen the play area there?
Once my daughter is walking all over the place, the $95 will be worth it for access to that play area alone. If your kids are older, such as my niece and nephew, then you also get the benefit of all the other learning opportunities the Exploration Place has to offer. Oh, and as you can see in the photo… there’s fish!