Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Our Florida adventure, review: People at Play

This past weekend the family and I went on an adventure to to St. Petersburg, Florida, which is near Tampa (we flew in there).

If it seems like an odd time to vacation, let me recommend it to you. Since school aged children are in school, most touristy places are going to be quite open this time of year. 

What prompted this vacation was a gift from my mom to E. When she called months ago and asked if I thought E would like to drive construction equipment, the idea sounded appealing. Frankly though we were both unsure of how much fun it would be. We tacked on a couple of days to enjoy Florida, got a great package deal from JetBlue and practically forgot all about going away until the week before.

Suddenly it was time to get our construction crew experience on! Enter People at Play (Facebook, twitter, web). My mom saw a segment on the Today show and just knew E would love something so far flung from his lawyer's duties.

When we drove up to the site, on a dirt road of course, right away it looked like fun! (plus, knowing we would be going on a dirt road *encouraged* us to upgrade our rental to a Ford Escape, which was totally unnecessary given that the road was hard packed and pretty flat.)

Alisa Bennett (owner, along with her husband), met us in the lot and let me tell you, she is great. Even filling out the paperwork was relaxed and not at all intimidating. (OK, E was filling out the paperwork and I doubt he gets intimidated by legalese. you know, since it's his job and all). Also, you have to love anyone who takes an instant liking to your child.

watching the safety video

The day was absolutely perfect for playing in the dirt!

The area was wide open with plenty of spots to watch from, and plenty of room for Ranger to roam. (In the future they may have a kids' play area so that the little ones can have their own play in the dirt experience while dad or mom is on the equipment).
viewing area

real worksite, complete with port-a-lets!

vrrmmmm and yes, we left with a new toy, though not this one

E met the rest of the team and out they went for the first bit of fun.
Getting in is harder than it looks

Participants get to know the equipment for about 20 minutes before an obstacle course.

I didn't get too many pictures of the obstacle course because *someone* made a run for it. He got a good ways down the driveway before I caught up to him. I distracted him with some toys.

Then I chased after him again (this time nearly into the surrounding brush) and pulled him into some nice, fresh dirt and told Ranger to have some fun (come on, how many times does a mom get to say, "go play in the dirt"?). That lasted all of five minutes. Of course, if I had said, "no you may not play in the dirt," he would have done it longer. Instead he wanted to play in the "office" area. You know, the one place in the entire 100 yard radius that wasn't entirely kid friendly.

When E was in the obstacle course, we got freshly moved dirt to play in!
yup, that's my man!

After finishing the first challenge course, E got acquainted with this sucker:

What he told me is these machines are much more precision tools than he expected. In the above  picture he is knocking tennis balls off of traffic cones without knocking over the cone. He got all of them!

You have to forgive me a little for all these close up shots. I discovered my husband makes a good looking construction worker.

In this obstacle, E was knocking over and catching soccer balls and putting them into a bin. This one was pretty hard.


There were a lot of great tasks on the courses, and E had a ton of fun. I really enjoyed watching him work through the challenges- it took quite a bit of problem solving on his end. My favorite was the last one, stacking three huge tires on a pole.

We all had an absolute blast, and I cannot say enough positive about this experience.

Thank you, mom, for the gift, and thank you People at Play for a memorable day!

ps. People at Play was an innocent bystander here- my mom gifted us the experience. The opinions expressed are my own without any compensation or bribery.

pps. More to come on our adventures in Florida.


  1. Glad y'all had fun. Weird, though, to see people pay to do for vacation the kinds of stuff my dad and brother did/does for a brother actually owns a Bobcat. Too bad they didn't have a kiddie construction zone. Would have been really cute to have those kid sized ones for him to ride. :)

  2. Money well spent--Magnified my respect for the hardworking professionals who work to build our infrastructure--and gave me a new sense of urgency to fight for their rights to fair wages, healthcare, benefits, and income security. Workers make America great, and we need to make America great for them.


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