With children’s play sites closed, parents and their kids have had to find alternative ways to stay active amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Two of the most popular spots for kids in Saskatoon are right across the street from one another.
The Nutrien Wonderhub, which temporarily closed its doors in mid-March, would be entering its second year of operation. It’s been open since June 2019.
“There are a lot of people that took advantage of this resource that utilized it and there are a lot of folks coming back,” said Amanda McReynolds Doran, Wonderhub executive director.
The Wonderhub features hands-on exhibits, programming and outreach for kids and their parents.
Across the street at Nutrien Playland, which usually opens around the May long weekend each year, kids may have to wait in line for the rides. It features rides like a merry-go-round, model train and ferris wheel in addition to a number of amusement park-like rides such as a tube slide and zip-line.
It’s coming off a busy 2019 that saw it open for 114 days of business. According to City of Saskatoon statistics, in that time, roughly 190,000 rides were purchased through daily tickets, season passes or private event rentals by groups such as schools and daycares.
That is not taking into account visitors to the free parts of the park.
For some parents, their kids took in both play sites up to four times a week.
“It definitely is a sacrifice on their part,” said Jasmine Doran, mother of three.
“When they do reopen, I would recommend Kinsmen Park (Nutrien Playland) and the Wonderhub to any parent with a child of any age.”
Her oldest daughter Nava, 5, says her favourite thing at Wonderhub was arts and crafts. She added that even though she isn’t a fan of heights, she loves the ferris wheel at the Playland.
In the meantime, Wonderhub is providing interactive content for kids online.
“We are committing to creating content for children that enriches their lives,” McReynolds Doran said.
“(It) lets them explore curiosity, and helps them fill in some gaps that’s left when we don’t have normal education happening right now.”
Children and parents will have to wait until Phase 4 of Saskatchewan’s Reopening Plan to return to these facilities. There isn’t a set date as to when that will be.