It's ingenious marketing, when you think about it. You've got a warehouse full of play sets and trampolines. You want to sell them. But they're not exactly an impulse purchase for most families, at $3,000 to $4,000 a pop.
So what do you do? You pave the floor with rubberized matting and open the warehouse to anyone who wants to come inside and play. And then you hope the kids will nag their parents into buying something.
That's the concept behind the play space at Recreations Outlet, a purveyor of Rainbow Play Systems, Springfree trampolines, Step 2 toys and Goalsetter Systems basketball hoops.
The Cincinnati-based company has three locations in Ohio, including one in Powell. The Powell site is open for free playtime three times a week and then offers Play Pass memberships and/or drop-in rates during the remaining business hours. But nobody pressures you with sales pitches for the play sets and big toys. All you do is fill out a waiver and then hang out.
The free times at the Powell location - which has about a dozen huge play sets, two trampolines, a dozen basketball hoops at various heights, and a fleet of scooters and pedal toys - are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9-11 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays are open only to Play Pass members. Drop-in rates at all other times are $4.25 for ages 1 and older. An annual membership is $99 for one child, $129 for two, and $20 each for any children after that in a family.
There are bathrooms and a water fountain, plus plenty of Adirondack chairs (also for sale) to sit on in the space. There's also a Toy Barn with discounted Step 2 play sets available.
Though it skews toward the younger set, older children seem welcome and in fact are revered by the little ones. Plus plenty of parents we saw were shooting hoops. From what we experienced here, it's a great indoor play destination.
484 W. Olentangy St., Powell
Hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m-5 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday , 12-5 p.m. Sunday