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By Donna Simmons, Melissa Solomon & Bre Downer, CertifiKID Subscribers
Posted Oct 04, 2019
Posted Oct 04, 2019
Finally...a place for people who want to play more. Wonderfly Arena offers the perfect spot that's primed for optimal fun when it comes to throwing parties, playing games, and hosting other events. They also offer times for open play dates. Whether your kiddos are up for hopping in bubble balls for bouncy battles, playing arrow tag, rolling around in hamster balls, diving into virtual reality, attending glow events, or waging all-out Nerf Wars, Wonderfly has something for everyone (just know that each game has a minimum age requirement!).
We sent three of our MOM Squad ambassadors and their families to play at Wonderfly Arena. They received free admission in exchange for providing an honest review of their experience.
Melissa: Wonderfly Arena is an indoor sports and entertainment facility in Arbutus, Maryland. Inside, there is a turf field with Bubble Ball, Nerf Wars, and Spike ball. There were also other toys available like hula hoops, chalk, and balls. There was kid-friendly music playing while we were there. There was only one other family there during the same time.
Donna: The location was open and there was plenty of space. The games were fun to play. The kids loved the Giant Hamster Balls and the VR.
They also have video games.
Bre: Our family participated in the Saturday Morning Open Play at Wonderfly Arena. We began our morning with the Human Hamster Balls. Both of our older children loved running back and forth across the field in the Hamster Balls and bumping into one another.
After the Hamster Balls, our children and my husband decided to try the Bubble Balls. They all had a blast running and flipping around in the balls, and of course, once again bumping into one another.
Finally, they all had an epic Nerf gun war.
Although all of these activities were not suitable for our younger children, there was plenty of space for our toddlers to run around and play. The employees brought out several fun items for them to play with, including hula hoops, Spikeball, and sidewalk chalk. It was also a bonus that there was no admission charge for our younger children.
After everyone was fairly exhausted from running and playing in the large arena, our family moved to the gaming area where our children were able to try out virtual reality.
The gaming area was very comfortable with a couch to relax on and a table with dry erase markers for coloring.
Throughout our entire visit, there were always employees assisting our children ensuring they were safe and comfortable. There was also clean pop music playing throughout the arena, which our family appreciated. Wonderfly Arena was clean and well-maintained and all of the employees were polite, helpful and accommodating.
What Did You Enjoy Most?
Bre: The thing that we enjoyed most was the opportunity for our children to run around and physically exert themselves. When the weather doesn't allow for outdoor play, it's great finding a place like Wonderfly Arena. They were able to try several things they never have done before, including the Human Hamster Balls and the Bubble Balls. Everyone left Wonderfly Arena with a smile on their face and ready for a nap.
Melissa: My family really enjoyed the Bubble Ball. They spent most of their time playing with them.
Is There Anything You Didn't Like?
Bre: Although we loved all of the games and experiences at Wonderfly, there is plenty of opportunity for injuries and confrontation between children. Running into one another in Bubble Balls and shooting one another with Nerf guns did result in some frustrations and tears. The employees did everything they possibly could to keep everyone safe and respectful; it is just something for parents to be aware of.
Melissa: We would have liked to have a few more choices of things to do at the facility. My husband had to help them get the Nintendo Switch and Xbox up and running. One of the employees was trying to get the Virtual Reality games to work and it took about 20 minutes. We wished they had more things that were offered on the website like arrow tag. We did see cornhole put away in a corner of the room. On their website, it says Ping pong and Basketball will be coming soon. I definitely think more activities like those would give more options to kids for things to do. There were also tables and chairs stacked up which I imagine they use for birthday parties.
Donna: If you have a small party of people, you don't get as much choice to go from activity to activity at your leisure. The facility kind of sets the schedule of what you do next. It's also better to come to Wonderfly with kids that you know. I noticed one little girl was there with just her mom (who was one her phone the entire time) and she just didn't seem to be having a good time.
Getting There and Getting In
Donna: GPS takes you directly to the location, however it is in a warehouse district with no signage posted to tell you exactly where to go after you enter the parking lot.
Melissa: It was a little tricky to find, it is on the side of a warehouse type building. There is plenty of free parking. We visited on a Saturday at 10 a.m. and there was no line. It was quick and easy to get in, we just had to fill out waivers.
Bre: Overall, the location was fairly easy to find. Our navigation brought us to the front of the strip mall / warehouse building that the arena is located in. There are no large signs for Wonderfly yet, but there are several small arrow-shaped yard signs out front. Those signs directed us towards the back of the building where Wonderfly Arena is located. The parking spaces are located directly in front of the Wonderfly Arena entrance. There is no fee for parking. The lot was almost completely empty, so finding a parking space was not an issue.
Bre: We arrived 15 minutes prior to our 10:00 am open play start time. Upon arrival, we were the only customers present and we were helped immediately. Filling out the waivers for our family only took a few minutes. We were then taken on a tour of the facility and began our play time within 5 minutes of our arrival. To make things even faster, it is possible to fill out the waivers online before arriving.
Time Recommended to Enjoy Experience
Donna: I would recommend at least 2 hours.
Melissa: I would recommend 2 hours for this location. Once they have more activities, you could probably stay longer.
Bre: The Saturday Morning Open Play lasted two hours. This allowed plenty of time for our family to try everything that we were hoping to try. Although everyone was physically exhausted by the time we left, our children definitely would have enjoyed having another hour to play in the gaming area or playing cornhole.
Recommended Age Range
Donna: My children are 7, 7 and 10. I recommend Wonderfly for ages 7 and up.
Melissa: My children are 8 and 11. I would recommend this for ages 6 and up. The bubble balls can get a little crazy at times and my 8 year old got knocked over a few times.
Bre: Our older children (ages 8 and 9) were able to participate in and enjoy all of the games and activities at Wonderfly Arena. Our younger children (ages 2 and 1) were not able to participate in the games and activities, but were still able to run around and play. The Wonderfly website gives appropriate age recommendations for all of their premium experiences, ranging from ages 5+ to ages 8+. All of the activities are suitable and enjoyable for adults as well, although I would not recommend the Human Hamster Balls or Bubble Balls for anyone with neck or back issues.
Tips for Families
Donna: They offer water. You can bring your own snacks/food for a party. Be sure to make reservations, show up on time. Wear comfortable shoes and socks.
Melissa: I would recommend socks and sneakers. For the large bubble balls, you have to remove your shoes but for other games on the turf, children should be wearing sneakers. There is a water jug with cups where you can get water but it might be easier to bring your own water bottle.
Bre: I'd recommend wearing cool and comfortable clothing. Our children worked up a sweat fairly quickly. Also, don't forget to wear your tennis shoes. No food or drinks were available for purchase; however, there were water coolers available on-site.
Bre: Wonderfly Arena is located about 6 miles away from Baltimore, which has several family-friendly activities. These include Inner Harbor, National Aquarium, Oriole Park, The Maryland Zoo, Port Discovery Children's Museum, and Maryland Science Center. Our family decided to spend the rest of our day at Fort McHenry learning more about the Battle of Baltimore and the writing of "The Star-Spangled Banner".
Would Your Family Visit Again?
Donna: Yes, my kids enjoyed the Hampster Ball and VR. The facility is looking to add more activities and a lounge for parents.
Melissa: My children want to go back next week but we probably won't go back until they work out a few kinks. They should have the video games and virtual reality set up at all times so they don't have to spend the time getting it hooked up. We will also wait until more activities are available.
Bre: For two hours of open play, Wonderfly is a bit more expensive than what our family usually spends and we most likely will not visit again. However, if we lived closer to Wonderfly, it would be a great place to host a child's birthday party.
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