The Philosophy: To offer a relaxing place for parents while kids have some activities to keep them busy.
The Description: The place is the size of an average restaurant or coffee shop with extra space blocked off as play areas. One play space is separated with a half wall that allows parents to keep an eye on the kids while they dine, chat, read or use the free WiFi. Children can do imagination play using costumes and/or puppets. There is a play kitchen, sliding board and climbing equipment as well as blocks and other toys. Chalk is available for the artistically inclined. The floor is special industrial grade cushioning to take falls from 6 feet high.
Another room has ceiling to waist level windows that allow parents to observe. This room is filled with mats with some exposed wood flooring. It has tricycles, bouncy balls for kids to sit and ride as well as balls to throw or play basketball with.
The food is healthy with fresh fruit, sandwiches, cheese sticks, raisins, salads, pirate's booty, muffins, juices and more. Prices are reasonable.
The bathroom is equipped with a changing table. Facility is kept clean.
The Players: If they can walk, they are welcomed for the free play time. I was pleased to learn that, even my 5 year old had a great time. Of course, the caretakers, moms and dads of any age are welcomed in the dining area.
This is a family owned business and this gives it a very nice personal feeling. The staff is friendly and inviting. The storytellers, musicians and class instructors are gregarious and welcoming as well.
Classes: At Play Cafe offers a variety of classes for children ages 6 months to 6 years. We'll list some of their current offerings below.
- First Art: For toddlers ages 18 - 36 months
- Art Explorers: For preschoolers ages 3 to 5 years. Teacher Viki teaches an art history based curriculum that explores various artistic techniques, methods and mediums. Cost is $80 for 4 classes and includes admission to the play area.
- Barefoot Books Storytelling Workshops: Teacher Jennifer uses creative techniques to inspire children to love learning, explore the world and embrace the diversity of our planet through books. Participants receive a book at the conclusion of the class.
- My First Storytime (6-12 months): Spend time bonding with your baby though simple rhymes and finger plays. Activities include music, simple games, developmentally appropriate stories and time for caregivers to discuss developmental milestones.
- Terrific Tots Story Tree (12-30 months): Develop your tot's natural love of stories by exploring classic tales from around the world. Each class will include stories, games and art lessons.
- Preschool Play and Story Time (2 1/2 - 5 year olds): Stories will be chosen to help children through the emotional ups and downs. Each class will include stories, music and art lessons. Cost is $86 for 6 sessions and includes admission to the play area.
- Joyful Moves: 3 - 5 year olds are invited to 45 minutes of interactive learning adventures. Your children will groove to classic and silly songs while learning to move their body in safe and fun ways. Cost is $90 for 6 sessions and includes admission to the play area.
- Laugh and Craft: 3 â€" 5 year olds will make music creations as they paint to music and form balls and worms from edible play-dough. This class includes a take home creation each week. Cost is $90 for 6 sessions and includes admission to the play area.
Birthday Parties: Themes to choose from include: Fairy Tale, Garden, Pirate, and Super Heroes. Packages start at $175 for 10 children and include 40 minutes of play time in the playarea, 30 minutes of staff-led activities and 20 minutes for cake, food or presents. Extra play time in the playarea, goody bags and snacks are also available for an additional fee. Call for more details.
- Parents must stay on site.
- Socks must be worn in the play area.
- No food or drinks in the play area.
- A liability waiver is required for all participants.
Cost for Free Play & Hours:
- $8 first child, $6 each sibling.
- A punch card of 10 visits can be purchased for $60.
- Monday to Saturday: 9:30am to 7pm. Sunday: noon to 6pm.
The Perks: No membership fees. Accommodates younger ages and multiple ages. It keeps children busy and active while parents get a little down time. Drop-ins for classes are available. Everyone leaves happy!
What Else: It is located in a shopping center that has a grocery store and Ledo's pizza so a parent can coordinate their grocery shopping and picking up dinner if necessary. These stores also make planning a birthday party very easy. Parking is plentiful and access to the building is easy with no steps.
Special Note: While in the process of reviewing this establishment, we lost internet service at our house for two weeks. The At Play Cafe is a 20-25 minute drive from where we live so I would not normally keep driving the distance. However, since our internet service was down, I became a frequent visitor. I was able to catch up on email while my children were completely entertained by the fabulous staff. I got to know the owner a little bit as well. Everyone there is warm, friendly and caring. The staff developed a personal relationship with my children and made them feel very welcomed. We have internet at home again, but I will still go visit the At Play Cafe over the Summer. I have a great time there and so do my kids.
Our Kids Reader Comments:
- "We visited there this past Saturday morning. A birthday party was taking place at the same time, so it was fairly crowded, and one of the rooms was unavailable to play in due to the festivities. We ordered our lunch and then sent our kids into the play area. Although they both had a good time, my Kindergartener seemed a bit too big for the play area. It's clearly aimed more at the preschool set. On a positive note, the food -- once it finally arrived -- was very good. The floor didn't look super clean to me, however, which was off-putting. Maybe we hit it on a bad day. The Cafe's Web site says that they clean their toys and surfaces daily with non-toxic cleaners. I sure hope so because I saw many kids putting toys in their mouths, which wasn't terribly appealing. Overall, I think the cafe is a good concept, and perhaps I should check it out during the work week to see how things differ, but I can't say I'm going to be visiting there regularly." - Erika C., March 2009
Have you been to At Play Cafe? Drop us a note and Our Kids will add your comments to this review.