I was all ready to sit on the sidelines and enjoy my quiet time observing my kids from afar, but the sight of the giant bouncy zone with its humongous slides and ball pit was too much for me. I ended up going against my mantra of paying for overpriced socks and bought the mandatory jump ones so I could join my kids in the fun at The Big Box.
Big Box Calgary
Big Box is literally a BIG Box – the facility houses 25,000 square feet of pure fun. I’m not a huge fan of indoor play places, but this place is overwhelmingly massive and has so many options that even I didn’t get bored.
The ticket booth isn’t obvious when you first enter the facility. It’s situated in the middle of the gigantic room. Make your way past the restrooms and the snack bar, past the entrance to the play area, and you’ll find the ticket booth right across from the “On-the-Fly” indoor aerial ropes course. Ticket prices for just the main attraction, the Leisure Lagoon Indoor Playground, are similar to what you’d find at other indoor playgrounds in Calgary, ranging from $12.99 to $14.99 for school-aged kids. What’s great, though, is that parents and guardians get in free with their children (unlike some places that charge for any accompanying adults).
In front of the ticket booth is the indoor aerial ropes course, named On-the-Fly. It looked like a lot of fun, but I didn’t want to add another cost to our day. Also, it’s only suited for children ages 7 and up.
Further in, there’s an aptly-placed arcade. My kids kept begging me to let them play a game while we waited in line to buy tickets to enter the main play area. Other than the arcade, there’s also virtual reality gaming and promises that there will be Bumper Cars and Hado (an augmented-reality sport) coming soon.
Leisure Lagoon Indoor Playground
Leisure Lagoon Indoor Playground has the usual tunnels and slides and climbing areas. It’s huge though and exhausted me as I tried to keep up with my children through the maze of nets and padded swinging objects that they liked to fling in my face. There were countless sets of slides – twisty ones, regular ones, a roller one that felt like a massage, and even a giant slide that you slid down using tubes.
In the middle of the playground is the centrepiece – a giant 2-storey-tall rainbow net resembling a hornet’s nest, surrounded by a sea of plastic balls. Kids enter the net through holes at the bottom and can climb to the top using a combination of ropes and the net itself. To my dismay, adults aren’t allowed on it.
There’s a dedicated toddler area, and what impressed me was the lack of big kids in it like I see in so many other indoor playgrounds. Maybe it was the design, or maybe there’s just so much else to do, but the cute little toddler zone filled with plastic balls and climbing hexagons actually only had toddlers.
My kids tried pretty much everything there was to offer. I was glad they were old enough to do most of it without me having to follow them everywhere. There’s a zone with giant Lego-like bricks, a merry-go-round type of apparatus with pendulums of dangling fruit that you can ride and swing on, and opposite to the main climbing/slide area is the inflatable “beach.”
This would have been a dream come true for me as a kid. It’s basically a seemingly endless inflatable cushion. My kids and I had a blast playing tag in this area while dodging inflatable obstacles, trying to jump on giant inflatable balls (I really felt my age when I fell off one and pulled a muscle I didn’t know I had), racing up the giant stairs to slide down a super-fast slide, attempting to climb the “climbing wall” (I couldn’t make it to the top), or playing basketball.
My favourite part was racing my children through the area I dubbed the obstacle course – parallel lanes of stairs, slides and hoops. I liked it because I could still beat them at something! And if you have little kids, don’t worry about the bigger ones – we hardly ran into anyone because the area is just so huge. There are also areas within the inflatables zone that are more suited for the little ones to play in that the big ones don’t seem interested in.
Overall, this was probably the best indoor playground I have ever been to. I had a lot of fun and my kids had a blast. This was also the first playground I’ve ever been to where my preschooler cried when we told her we were leaving. If I were the owners of the playground, I’d take that as a huge compliment. Big Box was literally a big box, filled with every child’s fantasy of fun.
The Info You’ll Need
Location: 944 65th Ave NE, Calgary, AB, T2E 7L1
Costs (excluding GST):
Ages 1-3 $6.99 (Mon-Thurs), $9.99 (Fri-Sun)
Ages 4-14: $12.99 (Mon-Thurs), $14.99 (Fri-Sun)
Ages 14+: $14.99 (Mon-Thurs), $17.99 (Fri-Sun)
Up to two parents/guardians get in free with their kids’ admissions
Extra costs for: Jump socks (for the inflatables area), aerial ropes course, bumper cars, virtual gaming, and arcade.
Hours: Monday to Sunday 9am-9pm (Aerial Ropes course has different hours – check the website for details)
Tips & Tricks
- Fill out the waiver online before you go to save some time.
- Bring your own food or grab a bite at their concessions – the prices are very reasonable
- This is not a place you’d want to go alone with more than a couple of younger children – when I say it’s a big box, it really is. My bigger kids figure out quickly how to find us if they needed us (you know, for snacks, of course).
- Go when it’s not so busy if you have younger ones. My one critique of Big Box is the lack of seating inside Leisure Lagoon. We sat outside by the food stand where there are plenty of tables and chairs, but my kids had to figure out how to flag us down in order to have us get them out of Leisure Lagoon.
- Keep your valuables in your car or don’t bring them. There aren’t any lockers, just open cubbies. And if you want to bounce with your kids (or just try to find them to get them to leave), you really can’t be lugging a backpack or a phone with you.
- Don’t confuse Big Box with Big Fun, which is another indoor playground in Calgary!