So…let’s get real for a second. We have been to a LOT of play spaces. There might be one or two in the Chicagoland area that we haven’t visited, but that’s mainly because I didn’t hear rave reviews about it and because, after six years of parenting, I am totally burnt out on play spaces. That is, until I found a suburban gem that doesn’t JUST let my kids burn off their energy. You see, there is a play space staffed with kind, thoughtful, and patient firefighters that empower kids with fire safety skills so that they know what to do when something IS ACTUALLY BURNING. Like their clothes. Or our house. It’s basically a budding fire fighter’s dream…and it is just a short car ride away: The FireZone in Schaumburg.
First and foremost, I must note that the FireZone has a VERY limited open play schedule. So before you even mention anything about fire to your kiddos, be sure to thoroughly check when Fire Zone is open to the general public via their online calendar.
Once you have found a time that works for you, snatch up some of the great deals that are often offered on discount sites such as Groupon (check out this current deal). I guarantee that after you and your family enjoy a few hours playing together, you will be planning a birthday party at this unique venue—and there’s a Groupon for that, too!
What to Expect
As is usual at most play spaces, you will need to fill out a waiver before your kids can play. It is a bit time consuming and can be challenging if you have a grabby hand kiddo (there are toys for sale all over the main entrance), so fill out the waiver online before hand if possible. Also, be sure to pack socks and comfortable clothes since there are many opportunities for your little firefighter to climb, jump, slide, and race through the play space.
Before entering any of the play structures, I recommend that you and your kids head to the back of the FireZone to get geared up in hats and fire fighter coats so they can really get in on the role playing fun. After donning fire fighter gear, there is so much fun to choose from!
- Fire Truck
- Fire Boat
- Fire Pole
- Climbing Structure
- Firefighter learning stations
As a parent, one of my favorite parts about the FireZone is that it is a fire fighter owned and operated business and that these helpful folks lead mini sessions throughout open play that not only teach kids about heroic things firefighters do, but they also teach kids what they should do in the event of a fire. Clearly, the Fire Zone is a space not just for playing, but also for learning and exploring. After visiting one weekday afternoon, my family and I came up with a fire escape route plan and I am oh so grateful that they inspired us to create something that we never thought to do before.
And for those planning ahead, check out their winter break camps!
It is evident that the FireZone stands apart in terms of unique play spaces that encourage learning and exploration, but if you are looking for other great indoor play spaces, here are my recommendations.