Real Mom Review: Badlands Playspace in Rockville, MarylandBy Kimmy Huggins & Crystal Lane, CertifiKID Subscribers
Posted May 25, 2019
Badlands is a 30,000-square foot indoor play space designed to recreate the rugged beauty of America's wilderness. Featuring kid-friendly and climb-friendly mountains, including: crawl-through tunnels, rocky crevices to explore, climbing ropes to get to the top, shiny green slides galore and so much more! This indoor paradise is all about encouraging independence, promoting risk-taking and fostering creativity.
We sent two of our MOM Squad ambassadors and their families to Badlands. They received free admission in exchange for providing an honest review of their experience.
Save Up to 23% Off these CertifiKID deals at Badlands! Toddler Time, Weekend Admission or Summer Camp.
Kimmy: My husband and I, along with our 3 girls, ages 2, 6, and 9, arrived at Badlands Playspace and were immediately greeted by the friendly staff. Upon walking into this huge, nature-inspired play facility, the kids were just in awe of how spacious and unique this place was! They couldn't WAIT to take off running.
Crystal: Every Friday night from 6pm - 8pm, Badlands invites kids ages 7+ to join for Nerf Night by Badlands! Families will enjoy a fun new theme each week such as Zombies, Minecraft, and Fortnite Defenders. My family (daughter + best friend) visited during the Alien Themed Nerf Night. Upon checking in, the girls were shuttled off to one of the event pavilions for a Nerf blaster orientation where they were assigned to one of two teams and event staff explained the rules of the game.
Don’t worry if your child doesn’t have a Nerf blaster, there are plenty for rent or purchase at the front desk. The best part is that Badlands provided all the ammunition! Note: the Workshop is closed during Nerf Night.
Kimmy: My oldest went directly to the playground climbing structure, and my 2 younger girls went right to the slides. Though they look like high mountain-like rocks, they were not too difficult for my 6 and 2.5-year-old to climb (with a little assistance from the ropes or her big sis.) They must have gone down these slides 100 times! After about 30 minutes, an announcement was made over the speakers - it was dance party time! The opening song... "Baby Shark" of course! The girls ran through the little indoor forest to the grassy amphitheater-like space where the dance party was led by one of the fun and energetic staff members!
Crystal: After the children were well oriented, the Badlands open play area was ready for action! The lights were dimmed, the room filled with fog, and laser lights danced to the sound of pop music. The children were split into two teams and played until time was up. The teams had to defend themselves against the “glow stick stealing” aliens. The team with the most glow sticks remaining won!
Kimmy: After a few songs, we headed to check out the Workshop room. My crafty 6-year old went over to do a painting craft while my 2-year old tinkered away on some blocks and toy building materials. There was also a table where there was our kids' most absolute favorite thing in the world- SLIME!! We spent about 20-25 minutes in the workshop and then the girls headed back out for more play.
Just then another announcement was made that they would be starting a game of red light, green light shortly. The staff member leading the game even got my shy one and my older one to participate. This is something I absolutely LOVED about this place. The staff were all very engaging, observant of the kids playing and if they were being safe, and just great with the kids of all ages.
Crystal: Despite the (organized) chaos, smaller children were able to enjoy themselves by running around the open play space or toddler play area. Towards the end of the night, the lights came on and parents were equipped with Nerf blasters for a “Parents versus Kids” Nerf blast!
Kimmy: After the game the kids went to climb and slide a bit more, while my husband ventured off to the cafe. Let me just say, this is a legit cafe! Plenty of snacks/foods to choose from, AWESOME coffee/latte/cappuccino drinks AND wine bar! There's a big seating area as well, where you can see your kids in the large open space. SO convenient!! Since it was Wednesday, closing time was at 2pm, so we wrapped up our play time and headed towards the exit. But not before letting the staff and management know what an amazing time we had, and that we would definitely be returning!
Crystal: Nerf Night also included a buffet dinner offering pizza, pretzel bites, chicken tenders, fruit, and snacks. Parents had the option to order shareable appetizers in the lounge, food and drinks from the cafe, or enjoy the buffet for an additional fee. I opted to purchase a wrist band for buffet access while enjoying free beer tasting in the parents’ lounge.
Loehmann’s Plaza is also home to several restaurants, including Boston Market, Subway, Chuck E Cheese, etc. You can find some retail stores including The Dollar Store. The shopping and dining options are limited, but Badlands offers a wide variety of meal options and swag for purchase.
Getting There and Getting In
Kimmy: Following the GPS, the location was very easy to find! The plaza it's located in is right off the main road. Badlands is located in a shopping plaza with plenty of free parking right in front of the building! The easiest way to take public transportation appears to be the Metro Red Line to Twinbrook. Followed by bus from Twinbrook to Twinbrook Station & Bay C - East to Randolph Rd & Putnam Rd. Would be about 500 feet from that stop.
We arrived around 12:30pm on Wednesday, and there was no wait or line to get in! We received a friendly greeting from the staff at the front desk, got our hands stamped, and were ready to play! Keep in mind the new hours. They're closed Mondays, from 10-2 Tuesday-Thursday, and 9-8 Friday - Sundays.
Crystal: Badlands moved into the old Safeway building that is located in Loehmann’s Plaza off Randolph Rd. It is actually the largest building in the plaza (look for Boston Market). Parking is readily available in the plaza, you’ll be able to park right by the front entrance. They are conveniently located in the corner of the plaza so you will not have to compete with customers from other stores.
Badlands is accessible via the following buses WMATA Route C4: Greenbelt-Twinbrook Line or RideOn Route 10: Twinbrook Station-Hillandale. Commuters will exit the at the Randolph Rd and Putnam Rd bus stop in front of Loemann’s Plaza. We went to Badlands at 6pm on a Friday evening for the Nerf Night special event. It took about 5 minutes to get inside. Guests are asked to sign a waiver upon entry. You can pre-register and sign the waiver online in order to speed up the entry process.
Time Recommended to Enjoy Experience
Kimmy: At a minimum I would say give yourself an hour to play, but we could have easily spent 2.5 hours here, especially with the different activities and cafe!
Crystal: Admission includes 2.5-hours of play. The kids will have plenty of time to experience everything Badlands has to offer.
Recommended Age Range
Kimmy: My kids are 9, 6 and 2.5. We love that this place was great for all their ages. Toddler time had the perfect activities for my younger two, while my oldest never ran out of places to climb, slide, and run!
Crystal: My children are 7-years old. Nerf Night is catered to children 7+. However, In general, Badlands has activities catered for all ages.
Tips for Families
Kimmy: This facility has it all. Their artificial turf-like squishy floor is super soft, and to get to the big slides you do climb up onto "rocks" so sneakers or comfy play shoes are best. They don't allow outside food but their cafe has everything you would need and more! This location is in the middle of a shopping plaza, with plenty of family-friendly restaurants near by. We decided to wait out traffic in the area before heading back to NoVa, so we drove about 15 minutes to the Meadowside Nature Center.
Crystal: Strollers will need to be parked near the check in desk. Shoes are welcome but there are cubbies for shoes and coat storage. To save time during check-in, complete the liability waiver online!
Would Your Family Visit Again?
Kimmy: We will definitely be returning to this location! There is nothing like it in our area, most of our play places are too big for our youngest or too young for our oldest!
Crystal: We plan to visit again during regular open play. Badlands is a great place to relax and have fun.
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