The Whitewater Center should invest in activities for toddlers

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A few Saturdays ago, I took my 2.5-year-old son to the Whitewater Center.

Big mistake.

There’s nothing for toddlers to do there. After 30 minutes of walking the grounds, he was bored and I was sweaty. I bought a hat. We left.

My admittedly hot take: With play areas and freebies, breweries have more to offer for toddlers than the Whitewater Center.

[Related Agenda Story: Top 10 breweries for babies, ranked]

Weight/age minimums for Whitewater Center activities:

  • Whitewater rafting: 8 years old
  • Flatwater: 4 years old (going tandem)
  • Deep Water Solo: 8 years old
  • Climbing Walls: 45 pounds (typical weight of a 6-year-old)
  • Ziplines: 45 pounds
  • Ropes course: 45 pounds
  • Jumps: 45 pounds
  • Mountain Biking: 45 pounds

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of the Whitewater Center. But the tiny rock climbing area is the only toddler activity, and it’s — meh.

ropes-course-at-whitewater-center-children

An investment in toddler activities by U.S. National Whitewater Center would lead to more revenue — and young parents would love them forever.

Ask any toddler parent — activities are crucial to maintaining sanity.

I can personally tell you that I’m always desperate for things to do. How desperate? I’ve taken my son to the Ballantyne Hotel to ride the elevators and play in the lobby.

Parents (me) are willing to spend money. We also grow affinity for brands that we positively associate with our children.

Bottom line: Toddler activities would mean more money and more marketing horsepower for the U.S. National Whitewater Center.

If SouthPark Mall can figure it out (shout out to their play area between the food court and Dick’s Sporting Goods), certainly the Whitewater Center can too.

No need for fancy consultants, here are a few free Whitewater toddler activity ideas:

Outdoor Obstacle Challenge Course. Using the same model as the NFL Play 60 Kidzone at Freedom Park, an outdoor challenge area would have interactive digital timers associated with different outdoor activities.

Sprayground. I love seeing this in First Ward Park. A Whitewater Center sprayground would be an enormous hit with toddlers and parents.

Tree House Playground. Swiss Family Robinson style.

 

A great example of toddler friendly execution is the new Camp Snoopy expansion that Carowinds announced last week.

Camp Snoopy’s 8,000 square foot Beagle Scout Acres section will feature a fenced in toddler play area, an elaborate wooden playground, climbing structures, slides, turf covered mounds and interactive play elements (along with shady spots for parents to chill). And, Carowinds setup an offering named the 2018 Pre-K Pass in which 3-5 year olds have free unlimited visits in 2018.

“The expansion of our kids’ area along with the introduction of the Pre-K Pass puts Carowinds as a top destination for families,” said Pat Jones, Carowinds vice president and general manager.

toddler-camp-snoopy-carowinds

Beagle Scout Acres described by Carowinds as an “8,000-square-foot climb and play area, specifically designed as a place where kids can be kids and let their imagination roam.”

C’mon Whitewater Center! Help a toddler parent out. I want to give you my money and lifelong loyalty!

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Ted Williams
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Publisher, golfer, dad and magician (seriously).