Just Opened: Badlands, a Nature-Inspired Playspace


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Calling all nature-lovers! Badlands, a brand new 30,000 square foot facility named after a national park in South Dakota, brings the outside in.Think: mountains, grass, and birch trees–inside, making sweltering temps, snow days, and rainy weather a walk through the, well, park. From an indoor mountain to a workshop dedicated to real life learning, there’s something for every outdoors-y (or indoors-y) kid. Check it out!

Nature, nature…everywhere!
With a few sticks, some tree  stumps and open air, there’s nothing a kid can’t create. They’ll get a nudge at Badlands, featuring a like-the-real-thing climbable mountain with slides and crevices to explore, a thicket of birch trees, an open turf field with rolling hills and rotating nature exhibits such as live butterflies and hatching chrysalises.

Tool time. 
The Workshop and Builders’ Room are dedicated to real-life learning, challenging kids to identify and solve problems as they tinker with real-life materials. On a recent visit, kids could use paper supplies to build (and then test) a mini parachute. Enrichment classes based in movement and play enable toddlers to learn to make sense of the world around them.

Party people in the house.
Consider planning the next birthday bash here. For a flat fee, you choose an event pavilion (There are four of them, each uniquely decorated) and let the party host/instructor do the rest. Parties come with a private age appropriate workshop activity and a “candy court.” For some down time, Badlands features a screening room for educational programming and documentaries, complete with individual bean bag chairs for children to relax and take a break.

Playing nonstop outdoors (er, indoors) can build up quite the appetite. Badland’s café area comes with wifi and a curated menu of locally-sourced food items (and specialty coffees, beer, wine and signature cocktails for the grown ups).

Cost: $22.50/kids three years and older; $12.50 /kids under three; free/infants and adults
Open: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday.
5200 Randolph Rd. (Rockville, Md.
Online: badlandsplayspace.com

Have you checked out Badlands yet? Tell us what you thought in the comments.

–Ayren Jackson-Cannady

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