The Moonwalkers countdown is at six.
That’s how many sleeps remain until Oct. 15, when the children’s play centre in Alix opens its doors to eager young customers.
“I’m not expecting a big rush that day,” said CoraLee Brookes, Alix’s recreation co-ordinator and the person who will manage the facility. “On the following Saturday I am.”
This prediction is based on the volume of queries about Moonwalkers that Brookes has been fielding.
“Every day I take at least two calls for birthday parties.”
That’s encouraging for Brookes, who was afraid a delay in opening the play centre, which was originally expected to start up last spring, might dampen interest. But youngsters in Alix and elsewhere in Central Alberta have remained eager to check things out.
“I get calls from Sylvan Lake often, and people in Rocky Mountain House.”
Occupying 3,500 square feet in Alix’s new multi-purpose building, Moonwalkers was developed using equipment from Red Deer’s Moonwalker Fun Centre, which closed in 2009.
That equipment included a multi-level play structure with ramps, tunnels, slides, enclosures and other child-focused features.
“It is set up differently,” said Brookes.
“We’ve changed a few things and added a few things.”
For instance, the ball pits — which prompted concerns about cleanliness — are gone. And a new toddler area has been added.
Other elements include arcade games and a sitting area where parents can sip a coffee and munch on food from Potluck Cafe & Catering, which is in the same building.
“Party rooms are available to rent as well,” said Brookes.
Admission is $10 per child, with adults and infants under two allowed in for free. Half of the proceeds from Moonwalkers will be used to help fund Alix’s recreation programs, which should benefit a broad cross-section of village residents.
“I do programs from pre-school to seniors,” said Brookes.
Another benefit flowing from the municipally operated facility will be the attraction of children and their consumer parents from outside Alix, she said. And Moonwalkers will employ two full-time and two part-time staff, with Brookes expecting this number to increase.
Located on Railway Avenue, Moonwalkers will operate from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Thursday, and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday to Sunday. An official grand opening is expected to be held in the future, likely in November, said Brookes.
In addition to Moonwalkers and Potluck Cafe, the multi-purpose building is the site of a youth centre and another commercial bay that’s designated for use by a start-up business.