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Kids indoor fun park set to open in Montgomery – Montgomery Advertiser

Editor’s note: Newtopia’s original plan was to only allow entry to kids who are four feet tall or shorter. They’ve since changed that to focus on age instead. Now anyone 12 years old or younger can play. This story has been updated to reflect that policy change.
Inside the new east Montgomery building there’s a towering indoor playground, 14,000 square feet of slides, tubes and colorful catwalks reaching several stories from floor to ceiling. Murals cover the walls, showing animals playing under a painted blue sky. Kids can look out of a giant parrot head and walk under the legs of an oversized zebra statue.
The ambition behind the place, now known as Newtopia, sounds bigger than all of that.
“It’s like in the Bible. The kingdom of God is … a new land, without the fighting,” General Manager Jacob Kim said. “That’s why we have the animal drawings. The lions, and tigers, and snakes play together. That’s paradise. That’s heaven.
“We want to show a part of heaven in here. Our goal is showing the kingdom of God in this broken land.”
The place is built for young kids. You have to be 12 years old or younger to play. Most of the employees are early childhood education students from AUM, who Kim said will be able to not only watch the kids but communicate with them and help with more than directions to the snack bar.
It has party rooms, but Kim said birthday parties are usually scheduled for nights and weekends, and he didn’t want the spaces to sit empty during weekdays. So AUM is also putting together seminars for parents of special needs children that can be held in those rooms while their kids play for free.
“They have the knowledge. We have a facility,” Kim said.
They’re planning to give back 25 percent of the profit to area churches, homeschool groups, and other early education programs who schedule group trips. And they’re hoping to reward each program’s top student with a day of free play and free food once a semester.
The Montgomery Advertiser first reported in March that the $857,000 building was under construction at 3731 Malcolm Drive, near the intersection of Vaughn and Taylor roads, with playground equipment being shipped in from China. Most of it is now set up, and they’re about two weeks away from opening.
Starting July 7, the hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. — sometimes a bit later — seven days a week. Kids can play as long as they want for $11 on weekdays or $12 on weekends. There’s an area just for toddlers where parents can sit and watch or play with their kids. The cafeteria nearby will cook and serve kids’ favorites, from pizza to cotton candy.
There’s an office overlook upstairs and more than 40 cameras around the facility to keep a watch on what’s going on. Kim said the decision to restrict it to younger kids was partly to focus on catering to kids during the time when most of their behaviors are learned, but also to make the environment as safe as possible.
“There are many facilities focused on playing where big kids and small kids can mix it up,” Kim said. “That’s very dangerous for the small kids. That’s why we’re focusing on little children.”
And while there’s a painted sky overhead, all of the equipment and activities are inside the building. That includes a climbable volcano with a slide down one side.


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