Area children are beginning to storm a local castle along the edges of a South Williamsport neighborhood, and claiming it as their own.
Treasure Castle Playland, 1414 W. Southern Ave., opened in July in the old South Williamsport Methodist Church.
Through their daughter's vision, Sharon and Glen Markle have been able to recently provide for a modern-day children's playland with an antiquated twist.
"We knew that this was going to be a huge renovation project of, at least, six months," Sharon said.
The owners credit their daughter Brenda Lukasiewicz for envisioning the extraordinary, elaborate indoor playground - a venue unlike anything else in the area that provides an opportunity for children to come and be kids.
And elaborate it is, as the inside walls are splashed with bright neon colors, the carpet resembling that of splattered neon paint, stained class windows and old wooden decorative pieces from the church give the playland a fantastic, medieval look.
Workers dress as princesses and statues of knights around the indoor playground, which all feeds into the idea of establishing the make-believe atmosphere of Treasure Castle.
"The building really lent itself to the castle idea," Sharon said. "The solid stone and the windows are so incredible. The whole structure was just wonderful."
The ideas for the playland unfolded as time went on and plans developed, she said, as the couple began to know the potential of the building.
What was once the sanctuary of the church is now home to a 20-foot high, expansive piece of play equipment that features tubes, slides and netting for children to climb on. The playground equipment is limited to children 12 years and younger, according to the venue's Web site.
As children play throughout the building, speakers mounted on the walls provide for a light-hearted soundtrack that features sounds from the suspended television screens.
The play room also harbors a Toddler Garden of climbing equipment, as well as a "panning for treasure" area.
The treasure search begins with the purchase of bag that holds a pie-plate type of object filled with a sand-like substance. Once the object is dipped in water, treasure begins to appear as the sand dissolves.
"The mystery around that is cool," Sharon said. "The boys love it."
Treasure Castle has three birthday party rooms, one of which provides an executive look down into the old sanctuary; arcade games; a food court; a store; TV entertainment, and free Wi-Fi.
Sharon said people have told her the establishment has given them a sense of safety and relaxation.
The couple said they strive to maintain that level of safety as they have 30 security cameras in place, along with having an attendant on each floor overseeing those at play. The site is open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays noon to 6 p.m. An unlimited play per visit is offered.
Children under the age of 1 are admitted for free, children 1 to 3 years old are $6 per child and ages 4 to 12 are admitted for $9 a child. Each child is admitted with one free adult; additional adults are $2.
For more information call 326-5000, or visit www.treasurecastleplayland.com.