I know how hard it is to get young kids out of the house to go somewhere - even quick outings require you to pack enough snacks, diapers, and toys to make you think you’ll be gone for a week. And who wants to wrestle kids in and out of carseats just to find out that your destination isn’t kid-friendly? That’s why I’ve decided to visit Triangle area sites to see if they’re worth your trip. I won’t use a rating system but I’ll try to describe what you’ll see well enough for you to decide if your kids would find it interesting. I’ll also give you the heads up on bathrooms, stroller accessibility and any other SNAFUs I encounter.


Go Bananaz - Raleigh

     Of the many indoor inflatable gyms in Raleigh this one is on the lower end. This was another Groupon experiment and I definitely would not return without the discount. I wonder if establishments offer Groupons when they're in danger of closing.

       Most of the attractions are for kids older than mine. There were only four inflatables that worked for my kids. One had food wrappers in it and needed cleaning (this place lacks the labels confirming sanitation found at Monkey Joe's). Another bounce castle had a frayed entrance flap that my two year-old got his neck caught in as he exited. Decaying foam rubber blocks litter the inside of yet another bounce house.

        Despite the lack of sanitation in the gym area, the bathrooms were clean and the men's room offered a changing table.

      The Groupon I bought included popcorn and arcade tokens for each of my kids. The popcorn was really stale.

    What bothered me the most about Go Bananaz was the lack of supervision by the staff. At least when my kids go to Monkey Joe's there are attendants at each inflatable and roaming attendants keeping tabs on safety. And unlike Monkey Joe's, Bananaz doesn't check you and your kids out upon exiting to make sure your kids go home with the adults that brought them.

     If your kids are really set on forcing you to spend a couple of hours in a loud and chaotic inflatables gym spend the extra money and go to Monkey Joe's. MJ also offers occasional Groupons.


Pelican's SnoBalls - Cary

      I bought a Groupon for this place over the summer and decided to use it on the Sunday before the kids went back to school. Although they don't post their prices on the website, judging by the price of the Groupon it's $5 a person per round of 18 holes (they even charged for my two year-old). The mini golf price does not include snow cones.

     The mini-golf course is obviously just a ruse to subject your kids to the heat, increasing their need for flavored ice. As you play through the New Orleans themed holes you get the sense that this course might have been something in its day but now resembles an abandoned theme park. There are no waterfalls or giant concrete animals but you can occasionally glimpse a live frog hopping out of the murky puddle water.

     A small playground structure sits next to the picnic area. The bees are well acquainted with the syrup laden picnic tables so beware.

     Pelican's is hard to find - you can't see it from the road - so turn into the shopping center and then go to the opposite end of the parking lot from the Food Lion.

     If you happen to be in the area and you want close to 100 choices of flavored ice stop by, but if you're going for the mini-golf Frankie's or Adventure Landing are your best bets this side of the Outer Banks.