It was years ago when my now 4 year old son was a colicky 2 month old that I fell in love with Totter’s Otterville. Not much would soothe him, and both his 4 year old brother and I needed to get out of the house. Totter Otterville, located on Boron Drive in Covington, Kentucky, was the perfect remedy. Think Chuck E. Cheese minus the constant whirring of arcade game noises and bright flashing lights. Otterville lets kids stretch their legs and their imaginations.
Now we have three kids—ages 8, 4 and 2—and they each love Otterville. When we went last Friday, the first stop was the ball pit. The kids could not get their shoes off fast enough to jump inside the meshed-in area filled with hundreds of bright, primary colored balls. I mean, really, wouldn’t you love to jump into a giant pit of plastic balls?
Luckily, Otterville has a reasonably priced café because after all of the jumping and climbing the kids were starving. You cannot bring in outside food or drink, so if you don’t want to be tempted by the smell of pizza and breadsticks, fill up all little bellies before you leave the house.
The kids ate much faster than me, so they checked out the other areas inside and I was able to have an adult conversation with my friend. This is the beauty of Otterville. The kids have a blast and mommy can relax a little. Adults and children in the same party are given matching identification bracelets that are checked when they leave. They also do not let any kids leave without an adult. Of course, you should always keep a close eye on your children, but since dining tables are centrally located, you can pretty much see your kids anywhere inside from where you dine….with the exception of the ball pit. So, while one of my kids played at the water table—enjoying boats, sharks and waterfalls, the other two played trains at the train table. I could see them all, and catch up with my friend.
As we sat and discussed current events and global warming—yeah right, we had 10 uninterrupted minutes at a time, so we had to squeeze in as much girl talk as possible, my friend’s daughter ran over with a big, red, splotchy face. Did I mention they have do-it-yourself face painting? Yes! She was a lady bug! Luckily, it comes off skin fairly easily with just water.
After lunch we headed outside. The most exciting part outside is the water area. I’ll be honest. This is not my favorite part–mostly because innocent passersby (namely me) usually get wet. It is a fire truck theme, so there are two fire extinguishers set up about 30 feet apart. The kids can spray anyone and anything around them. There is also a water tower featuring a shower that is a little tamer. This is great on a hot day!
If you are lucky, the engineer will be offering train rides around the Otterville property. This is free and it is fun to watch the kids be “big kids” and ride the train with their friends. They go through a small tunnel, past the woods and back. There are fake animals set up throughout the ride so the kids can spot a wild turkey, black bear, moose, and other animals native to northern Kentucky. Ok, maybe northern Kentucky and surrounding areas!
We ended our adventure at Otterville with a run through the outdoor maze. My kids love a maze. This one is about 5 feet tall and is made of wood and canvas walls. It’s the perfect size for kids. If they do get lost, which mine have before, mom can run in or scoot under the canvas walls, which I have before.
Some things to remember if you are going to Otterville:
- Bring swimsuits and towels for the outdoor water area. You might even bring an extra change of clothes. The latter comes in handy for the indoor water table.
- Pack a clip or clothes pin. Why such a strange item? Sometimes the smocks at the water table to do not stay closed because the Velcro is shot. We pack clips to keep the smocks on tight.
- Apply sunscreen and bring it with you! The outdoor area gets very sunny and there is little shade.
Other play areas not mentioned can be found on the map of Otterville on their website.
Otterville is designed for kids 10 and under. Admission is $7.95 for kids 9 months and older. Adults are free. There are special pass rates available and birthday rooms. Check their website for Otterville’s hours .