Carter’s Play Place was born from big dreams and big hearts by parents who saw a need in the community and decided to take the initiative to fulfill it. These parents all have something in common; they all have a child with special needs and a passion for creating a warm, welcoming and friendly environment where children can play and grow.
The mission of Carter’s Play Place is to provide a safe, secure, clean and inclusive sensory-friendly recreational environment for children in the community.
According to one of the owners of the facility, Adam Meents, “We designed our space layout and chose the equipment we have in our space based off our firsthand knowledge and experiences with being parents of a special needs child. I want parents to know that “we get it” and worked extremely hard to build an excellent easily-accessible facility with plenty of parking, among all of the other attributes, because we deeply care about providing this for our local community.”
Customer service at Carter’s Play Place is of the utmost importance to the owners; and it shows.
In talking about the importance of customer service and going the additional mile, Meents says, “We believe in quality throughout, from the merchandise we sell – to the food and gifts we provide for our Birthday parties. From really getting to know our families coming in and what their kids like- to listening to their feedback and acting on it to make our gym even better and more accommodating. Our staff is top notch! Our weekly manager, Nanette, has ten-year old twins both on the spectrum. She is a former preschool teacher and human resources manager. She is the nicest person you will ever meet and works extremely well with kids. Cathy is in during the week too. She also has two children with special needs. All our staff “get it” and are quite passionate about the mission of Carter’s Play Place. As Jim Collins advises in Good to Great, we have the ‘right people on the bus.'”
Carter’s Play Place is also working to expand their mission by partnering with other local companies to encourage the employment of older teens and young adults with disabilities. They currently have one member on their team right now who is 19 and autistic, with hopes to expand that in the future.
Here are a few of the incredible features you will discover when you visit the 4,000 square foot facility:
- Equipment is strong and safe — the zip line itself can hold up to 400 lbs. Children are assisted on the gym floor with the equipment.
- Large 20’x24′ steel swing apparatus able to hold around ten different types of swings at any given time. Is completely welded together and each of the swings (sans the toddler swings) can hold over 200 lbs a piece.
- An expensive Spring Free Trampoline (safest one built) for the safety and integrity the product gives customers.
- Separate room for Birthday parties.
- Separate toddler/therapy room.
- Plenty of natural light (but not too bright) with slightly tinted windows throughout the entire facility.
- A separate quiet room in the back (away from the action) for any children who may have sensory overload and for new mothers to nurse.
- A swinging gate up front and an alarm on the back egress door to prevent darters/elopers from escaping.
- Two bathrooms outside the space with three stalls a piece (handicap in each bathroom) with changing tables in both bathrooms.
- Dedicated gym space (covered in one inch-thick mats) placed strategically in an area where kids will stay away from the entrances and exits, giving their parents a peace of mind.
- Greater Indy Friends AMBUCS (GIFA) official evaluation site. GIFA is a local nonprofit organization that provides children and adults of all different abilities with therapeutic trykes (AmTrykes).
- Parents’ lounge with tv that overlooks the entire gym area.
- Free popcorn, coffee and fiber-speed wifi.
- Resources for families who are seeking information about different services throughout the community.
- Classes such as: Language and Movement; Literacy and Movement; Baby Sign; and a Parent Education Class
Carter’s Play Place also welcomes neurotypical kids from infant to ten years old. There is no age limit for children with special needs (just some height and weight restrictions on some of the equipment.) At any given time, you will find a constant mix of neurotypical children and children with special needs enjoying the facility. “The neurotypical parents appreciate what we are doing and understand they are in-house and not the other way around, which exists in every other kid’s entertainment facility open to and for the general public,” says Meents.
The community will benefit greatly from a facility like Carter’s Play Place. Be sure to stop by and check out their incredible gym and all of the wonderful amenities it has to offer families.
Location: 17219 Foundation Parkway, Suite 100, Westfield