Badlands is a nature-inspired play space and interactive environment where children can take risks, succeed at challenging themselves, and find their own way. Targeted to children ages 2-13, Badlands offers a broad spectrum of challenging opportunities carefully curated to young minds.
The Workshop: Complete with tools, workbenches, and tinkering stations where children and parents can work together and be creative using real materials. My son was attracted to this room because it was complete with tools. An employee asked his age and depending on what it is, they allow you to use certain tools with supervision. He used a screwdriver to screw in various things on a wooden block. There was also an art station set-up with employees assisting with the intended craft, which was making things to fly. Once you created it you put it inside a wind tunnel to see if it was successful at flying. If it wasn’t, you could go back and fix the project. Kids are also able to be creative and make something of their choice. A Lego pool was also in this room— were talking thousands and thousands of legos. A few animals also live in cages in the Workshop room.
The Mountain: Kids discover new confidence as they climb and scramble their way to the summit (no need for harnesses). Kids are instructed to keep feet AND a hand on the mountain at all times and employees are at the top to assist anyone who needs a helping hand. There are mountains of various sizes. My 2.5 year old was able to master each mountain by the end of our time there while my 6 year old had no problem from the beginning. Children can also climb through caves and pull themselves up by a rope on one part of the mountain.
Loose parts: There are several containers of large wooden pieces, ropes, wheels and plastic screws. Children were creating wagons, carts, and anything they set their minds to. Next to this area is a space that looks like a stream, complete with large rocks, a bridge, logs and trees to maneuver around.
Builder’s Room: Children use large-scale building materials that they can easily manipulate to design and create whatever they can dream. This room was not available because a summer camp was using it. But from what we saw before the camp came, they provide mats, soft blocks, milk crate containers and other materials to tinker around and create something with.
Exhibits: Features new interactive experiences every three months. During the first rotation, the space will house live butterflies. We were fortunate enough to witness a butterfly coming out of the chrysalis. Bambinos can use magnifying glasses to examine plants and butterflies in the exhibit.
There is also a screening room, a space in the center that is fenced off for small games, a cafe that serves wine and has wifi, and 4 large pavilions that are used for parties and celebrations.
The complete space is huge and bright. You feel like you are outdoors with the nature theme in addition to the bright, attractive colors. They have an entire hallway of bathrooms that are all family-friendly. The only negative thing I found was that they encourage you to let your child roam and explore however the front doors have a handicapped button to open them. I have a roaming almost 3 year old who happened to go right up to it and open the door. Had I not been with her she would have darted out of the place. Perhaps a wristband they check upon leaving is a good idea or roping off the entrance somehow so it isn’t so open.
Hours: 9:00am-6:00pm Closed on Mondays.
Address: 5200 Randolph Rd. Rockville, MD.20852 (in the same plaza as Chuckee Cheese)
Cost: Children 3+: $22.50
Children under 3: $12.50
Memberships are also available.