I never go to Northgate Mall. Not for any particular reason, I just love Southpoint so much that my car could go there on autopilot. So when one of our all-star readers (Laura R.) suggested giving Northgate a try, I hopped on 85 and was there in no time.
Northgate Mall has a lot of stuff for kids. I was surprised how enjoyable this was for C.For parents, I think the shopping is a little lacking. But I tend to be very brand loyal. And I also would like to add that I still managed to spend some money on clothes. Although this isn’t the first mall I would go to to for personal shopping, the point of this post is how there is more than you would expect here for the kids.
The main attraction is the carousel. In the middle of a mall is a very pretty carousel. Tickets were $2 for one ride (you could get multiple tickets for discounts rates and you can also buy a frequent rider card where you get your 10th ride free). You pay for the child. Adults accompanying young kids ride free. This was great! The ride lasted awhile, the carousel is in great shape, and it has all the ups and downs, animals, around and arounds, mirrors, music, and lights to entice kids. It was my first time on a carousel in awhile, too, and I was laughing with joy.
Near the Sears you will find the Jump Zone. A large green inflatable bounce is up, and is $3 to bounce for 10 minutes.
There was also a toddler train. It wasn’t a very long track, and there wasn’t really a theme, but it went around a few times and looked like fun for kids. Sadly, no one was riding it when we were there, although it was staffed. I didn’t put C on simply as I don’t trust his ability to stay seated in one place yet. But tickets were reasonable at $3 a ticket.
For older kids there was a power jump (you know, that thing that is really tall, they strap you in, and you jump way high and do tricks). Power jump was $7 for 10 minutes, and if you wanted a professional photo while you jump it’s $10. Power jump has limited hours opening at 4pm on the weekdays, 10am on Saturdays, and 1pm on Sundays.
Beyond these highly organized entertainments, there were also gumball and candy machines, arcade games, and ride-on toys (the train was quite the hit with C)littered throughout the mall. Coin operated, but change machines around. For grown ups they have coin operated massage chairs throughout the mall available for use.
If you don’t want to pay for your fun outside of Northgate Mall Entrance 2 is a large water feature. Water shoots up from various nozzles at different intervals and in different strengths. It looks gorgeous, but there is also a sign up that actually encourages kids to get wet and play in the fountain. They just request that you not climb on the sculptures.
Additionally (information overload yet?) Northgate Mall’s cinema does free movies for kids during the summers. Showtimes are every Tuesday and Thursday at 9:30 am. They call it a Kids Movie Summer Camp (see link below). Some of these movies are on my to-see list. And, again, just in case you missed it, free. C is a little too young to sit still enough to take in a flick but I look forward to doing this when he is older, perhaps next summer. By the way, the Cinema here, called Stadium 10, has birthday party rooms.
There are lots of places to get tasty treats at Northgate Mall, too: Marble Slab Creamery, Haagen Daazs, Orange Julius, Dairy Queen, and Cinnamonster. We opted for the DQ so we could watch the carousel go ’round. [Sidenote: is anyone else loving the new mini-Blizzard option?]
If you go to Northgate Mall a lot, or get hooked after your next visit there with the kids, they have a Little Shoppers Club that would be worth signing up for. It appears free to join but you can get some neat benefits.
There were so many things for kids to do at Northgate Mall, I didn’t even notice the lack of a free “kids zone” a la Southpoint or Cary Towne Center. Unfortunately, a lot of the kids entertainment at Northgate will cost you, but it isn’t a lot. I do hope that getting families in the door gives Northgate the rejuvenation it needs. There are major renovations in process, and I look forward to seeing what Northgate Mall has to offer in the future. A Sea of Learning is opening another store here, and it looks like some of the empty storefronts have “Coming Soon” signs on them.
Summer Movies: http://www.eastcoastmovie.com/Kids_Summer_Movies_index.html
1-85 Gregson Street