Whoever thought up the idea of putting a playground inside a mall is a genius.

Whoever thought up the idea of putting a playground inside a mall is a genius. With the way malls have evolved, you could set up home at a mall playground and not lack for anything. Such is certainly the case with the Kids Soft Play Area at The Mall at Tuttle Crossing.

This one caters to the toddler and preschooler set: A kid can't be taller than 42 inches to play on the "solar system" of fiberglass planets and space shuttles set atop the bouncy, carpeted flooring. But the perimeter of the play area is rimmed by very cushy seating and there's a Starbucks, Caribou Coffee and Godiva Chocolate shop all within shouting distance of the play area, so a grownup is set for as long as the kid lasts. There's even free Wi-Fi if you've brought along a laptop.

Also nearby are restrooms (including a family version) and drinking fountains. The only real minuses are a Build-a-Bear Workshop and a Fuzziwig's Candy Factory looming right over the play area. Best of luck getting past them.

Depending on how easily distracted your child is, you might want to park on the north side of the mall, next to the entrance with the Panera Bread and the Ruby Tuesday, because the other, closest entrance takes you right through the Fountain (food) Court. That's on the south side, between the two Macy's (still can't figure out why there are two, but there are).

The other plus of parking on the north side is you get to go down the escalator to reach the lower-level play area (just outside the entrance to the JCPenney store). There's also an elevator there, in case you need one.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Tuttle Crossing play area seems to be a favorite with nursing moms. I saw several who didn't even feel the need to use covers while breastfeeding, and no one seemed to bat an eyelash.

Also much appreciated is the fact that the play area closes from 2-2:30 p.m. each day for cleaning.