When the breakfast-themed kids' play area at Cherry Creek Mall closed for a makeover July 28, General Manager Nick LeMasters told KDVR Fox 31 that parents would be "surprised and amazed beyond their wildest imagination" by the new design of the Rocky Mountain Play Park, which, as it turns out, is now Looney Tunes-themed. That's a pretty tall order, so to see if the new digs would hold up to the hype, I trekked down opening weekend with a young man who knows a thing or two about play areas: My 7-year-old son, Avry.
I cut Avry loose to go explore while I talked to a couple of other parents to see if their very minds had, as promised, been blown. Jennifer, who preferred not to give her last name, was there with her husband, 2-year-old daughter and infant son.
"We're just here to check out the new play area," she said. "We live pretty close to here."
As her daughter pulled her away by the hand to show her something, Jennifer said she thought the kids were having a good time, but she herself, if anything, seemed substantially more harried than entertained--a situation that surely wasn't helped any by her infant son bursting into tears in her husband's arms on the other side of the area near Pepe Le Pew.
Byron Gardner's 6-year-old son Elias was giving his dad more space. "My wife's doing some shopping, and that just bores us to tears," Gardner joked, "so we came down here to hang out."
Having come down from Glenwood Springs, where he lives, for a cheapo-weekend trip, Gardner said it was nice to be able to get a little free entertainment. Gardner is currently out of work, he said, and perhaps it was that that spurred him to reflect on the what he called the "diverse socioeconomic makeup" of the crowd there.
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"You can really tell" he said, "that some of these kids are from the rich area around here, and some of them you can tell their parents brought them down because it's free. And it's funny, because the next time a lot of these kids probably mix at all, one of them will be putting a roof on the other one's house."
Unencumbered by such thoughts, though, Elias seemed to be having a blast.
Avry, on the other hand, couldn't have been more bored. "That's kind of for little, little kids," he explained, after some prodding. When I pointed out that Elias wasn't much younger than him, and he seemed to be having a good time, Avry considered his answer for a moment before replying. "I think I'm just tired from partying last night," he stoically admitted.
Sometimes, apparently, everyone needs a little breather.