Friday, August 5 2022

The high energy and raucous excitement of visitors to the Bellaboo Play and Discovery Center is an expected daily occurrence.

But the recent annual New Year’s Eve party, Bellabrationtook those emotions to an all-time high as the day’s holiday schedule unfolded.

“This (event) teaches kids the simple things in life, with hands-on activities,” Portage grandmother Diane Dever said as her daughter and two grandchildren lined up at the cafe. ‘establishment. “Here they don’t need to be on their electronic devices, they can just enjoy being themselves.”

They did just that, as the youngsters joined hundreds of others in the afternoon party.

Various activities awaited the children, such as making their New Year’s soft drink.

“Kids really have fun making their drink,” said Bellaboo employee Milagro Mirando, who has helped coordinate this event for the past 10 years. “Just like adults, they will have something to toast in the New Year.”

Dyer’s Granger family have visited Bellaboo several times over the past year – on a field trip with their daughters’ school, a few birthday parties and the opening of a playground last fall. extensive outdoor playground. The New Year celebration topped the list of this year’s holidays.

“Whoever put this play center together found all the right places to entertain the kids,” said Jennie Granger. “Young children need everything this place has to offer for their development.

And it’s also a good place for them to socialize with others who are doing the same.

The traditional Big Balloon Drop was the highlight of the afternoon festivities.

This has been offered since the annual party began years ago as an adult equivalent of “dropping the ball at midnight” and throwing confetti.

All attendees of this year’s celebration gathered under hundreds of colorful balloons tied under the ceiling in large plastic wrap.

After the countdown, the release found children, catching, popping and throwing balloons long after the drop.

“I love them too much to pop them,” said Danny Redmond, 8, of Highland, watching his brother Jackson, 6, ride a big ball. “It’s fun to just hit them.”

Also heard during the outing comments from parents watching the children in their rejoicing.

“We’ll have a crowd at our house tonight, and we always use confetti at midnight,” said Susan Lorentz of Hobart, laughing. “I can just try this balloon thing, then I won’t have a mess to clean up.”

Self-directed play is the mission of the Bellaboo Play and Discovery Center for children under 9 years old. The facility operates through the Lake County Parks Department and is located within Three Rivers Lake County Park.

For more information on the Bellaboo Play and Discovery Center, call (219) 963-2070. or visit

Sue Ellen Ross is a freelance writer for the Post-Tribune.


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