Last week, we ventured a little further south of our normal area and into Mansfield. I had to laugh at myself because this is like uncharted territory for me. They have a mall down there! I was surprised! You can tell how often I venture outside of my comfort zone. But since I call myself “This Connecticut Mom”, I decided I need to step up my game and explore some things way past Enfield.
And so I found this fun outing for a rainy Friday morning: Questers’ Way.
We had to drive daddy into work since his car was being repaired; and so we headed east through Manchester, Bolton and eventually into Mansfield. The Eastbrook Mall is located just off Rte. 6, near Eastern State. From Hartford, it was only like 20 minutes. But the return back to Enfield was a bit longer (roughly 50 minutes).
Questers’ Way is located right near the main entrance of the mall.
If you head in right through the main entrance of the mall, you’ll come upon the entrance to Questers’ Way.
Questers’ Way opened in the spring of 2016, so it’s still fairly new. However, on the day we visited, one thing was clear: this place was popular! The facility is pretty unique. It offers a huge open play room called Pebble Park geared to kids ages 3 to 12. It also offers classes for kids AND parents such as yoga, fitness program, art classes, and so much more. They have a rather extensive schedule found online here. They also have a cafe on site with a full menu of healthy sandwiches, salads, drinks and more.
You can find a really great map of Questers’ Way on their website to help you plan your visit!
(from Questers Way)
On our visit, we were here to check out Pebble Park!
When you first arrive, you’ll need to head to the check-in desk. At the desk, you’ll be asked to fill out and sign a waiver. The waiver can also be done ahead of time online to save you some time at check-in. They kids are all given a bracelet to wear on their arm or leg, and it has their name on it.
The admission for open play at Pebble Park is $7 (including tax) per child for up to a two hour visit. Adults are free. If you live in the area, they also offer packages for Pebble Park starting at $35 for 6 visits (so you get one visit free).
After you check-in to Questers’ Way, and before you head into Pebble Park, everyone has to remove their shoes. Socks are also required! (Don’t worry, if you forget socks, they can provide those at the front desk). The shoe rule is enforced so they can keep their carpets clean. And you can tell they take good care of it! The whole place is very clean!
There is also no food or drink allowed in Pebble Park.
Pebble Park is an enormous room with so many things going on! The whole room is pretty open, and there are very few blind spots. This is great when you have one of those kids that runs off (like mine). The main entrance of the play area opens up to the foyer, which leads to the mall, so you’ll if you have a toddler that runs off (like mine), you’ll want to be mindful of that. Otherwise, there’s really no other way in or out (besides a small closed door near the back). Parents are welcome to let their kids play by themselves, while they grab a coffee or bite to eat in the cafe or even take one of the adult classes. However, the child must be older than 6 (4 and 5 year olds will be screened first to decide if they can be left without their parent). Children three and under must have a parent with them at all times. I noticed most parents were nearby but on the day we went, there were a lot of little ones running around.
The rules of Pebble Park are prominently displayed. The play structure is designed for ages 3 to 12. There are no shoes allowed, and socks must be worn at all times. Again, no food or drinks. There are also no strollers allowed in Pebble Park but you can park your stroller right outside near the shoe cubbies (there’s plenty of space). They really ask that the kids go DOWN slides only – I know how exciting it can be to climb up a slide, and I saw a few accidents because of it.
The main attraction of Pebble Park is this awesome play structure full of things to climb, obstacles to crawl over, slides and much more! It’s not overly huge, which is great because it’s not overwhelming for a small child AND it’s easy to keep track of your child. Parents can climb inside with the kids (and trust me, we were), but you can also take a break and watch from below knowing you will have no issue keeping an eye on your child!
What I loved most about this play area is that it really was safe. The whole thing was enclosed!
There were several ways in to the play area. The first was this climbing ramp near the front.
Then there were two more challenging ways in.
My boy was a little short and struggled with this, but he was NOT giving up! And he figured it out! He was so proud!
Once inside, there were many different paths to take; a tunnel; some barriers to knock through. It was a lot of fun!
Of course, once you get in this maze, you need to get out! There are two slides to do that (unless you do what I did, which was go backwards down the stairs– I’m still scared of slides after the incident at Adam’s Adventure!)
The yellow slide is long, but a straight shot. My child has a thing with going on his belly. At least he usually goes feet first. (I apologize for the rule breaking when he went head first a couple times…)
The other slide is a windy one, and not as tall. But it was equally fun! He at least went down this one correctly! I would hear him inside it though, stopping and going, around each bend. I think it was a little intense for him!
Attached to the giant maze was a small loft for toddlers to climb up to. Underneath it there was a small reading nook with books and bean bag chairs. The top of the loft was meant for children ages 3 to 6 only. We did not venture into the loft at all. He was too busy climbing and sliding!
Besides the giant maze, there was still a whole room to explore. They had tons of soft climbing toys (like the kind you find at a mall playground).
These little games could be found hidden underneath the big maze area.
There was also a Foosball table and air hockey. This one surprised me and took a major liking to air hockey. He totally didn’t understand the game, and kept putting the puck into HIS goal, but he was laughing and happy so who was I to argue?
They also had a seesaw, a basketball hoop, some soft objects that the kids could move around, and this kid found a wheelbarrow too!
They had some small tables near the front windows with lots of small toys, puzzles and games for the kids to sit and play with.
One of the big highlights (after the giant maze of course) was this super cool rock wall! The wall was kind of tall, but they had a red line marking the wall with instructions that the kids shouldn’t put their feet above that point. This wall was meant for traversing not climbing.
Of course, no play area is complete without a special, safe spot for the really little ones. The whole area is geared for age 3 to 12, as I mentioned above, but the little siblings need somewhere to play, right? It has a soft barrier wall to keep the little ones inside. It’s intended for crawlers and early walkers. They ask that the older kids stay out of this area. My toddler was very entranced with this, and after an hour and a half of play we had to head out because he was getting mad at me for preventing him from going inside. I knew it was time to go when that tantrum started.
The last thing worth mentioning about Pebble Park is that there is a family restroom located inside, just near the baby play area.
Pebble Park was an amazingly fun time, but that is not all you’ll find at Questers’ Way. As I mentioned, they offer classes for kids and adults. For classes, they offer movement (fitness, dance, yoga, Zumba), Projects (painting, drawing, building) and Gaming (Chess, Magic). The classes are designed at different levels from just for fun to more intensive learning programs. You’ll find these rooms and studios down the hall from the Cafe.
In addition, you can also have a special event or birthday party at Questers’ Way.
Down by the classrooms, you’ll also find more bathrooms, complete with changing tables!
Before you leave, or maybe when you arrive, you’ll want to make a stop at the Crossroads Cafe for either lunch or a snack. This is a full menu restaurant with a really healthy menu. There are salads, sandwiches, quesadillas, kids’ meals, smoothies and so much more! They have plenty of tables so you can take a break from playing while you eat. They do ask that the food stays in the Cafe, and when you are in the Cafe, shoes are required!
We had a fun time at Questers’ Way! It was a bit of a drive, but I was happy because we stayed there longer than I drove (which is all I ever ask)! He had so much fun climbing up and through the big maze, going down the slides, playing air hockey and making a bunch of new friends. He was non-stop the whole time, and this picture basically sums up our visit. A big goofy grin and a fuzzy photo because he was moving too fast!
Questers’ Way is definitely worth the trip if you are not a local, and if you are a local, you should probably just buy the 20-pass package because you’ll want to go back here every week! This gave him a good workout, and he slept hard that night. I liked that he could mostly play on his own and with other kids his own age, rather than dragging me through the maze every time (I mean, I did have to try it out, but I was not sweating and out of breath like some of the other indoor play places we go to)! If we lived closer, I’d totally be taking advantage of their class schedule too!
Questers’ Way is a great idea, and I think it’s time for a franchise. In Enfield. (Who can make that happen?)
This about sums it up…
Eastbrook Mall – 95 Storrs Road – Mansfield, Connecticut
Saturday: 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Sunday: 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Drop-in Daily Price: $7 (includes tax)
Re-entry on the same day/second visit: $3 (includes tax)
Adults are FREE.
See their website for additional pricing and packages.
- Main play area is for ages 3 to 12; the loft is for ages 3 to 6; and the soft baby area is for crawlers and early walkers.
- Lots of climbing & of slides
- Rock Wall
- Strollers not allowed in play area
- No shoes allowed – socks needed to play **REMEMBER YOUR SOCKS!**
- Parking is available for free in the mall parking lot
- Bathrooms available, including changing tables
- Food available for purchase at Cafe
- Party rooms available for rent
- Food and drinks are not allowed inside Pebble Park
- Parents may leave children ages 6 to 12 at Pebble Park (but stay in facility) – for children 4 and 5, this will be decided by personnel; children 3 and under must have a parent with them at all time
- Classes available for children and parents including fitness programs, gaming, and educational classes