From : Wandering Pod.com
The beauty of a drop-in indoor playground
JUNE 23, 2015 BY MATT VILLANO 1 COMMENT
Travelers of all kinds understand the importance of letting kids burn off steam during a family vacation. The practice wins children time to let their imaginations wander. In turn, it also keeps everyone sane.
Inside A Place to Play.
Inside A Place to Play.
This is precisely why we love A Place to Play here on San Juan Island in Washington State.
The facility, literally one block from the ferry slip in Friday Harbor, amounts to a REALLY COOL indoor playground. It has a variety of themed creative play areas (including one where kids can use makeshift crab pots to catch stuffed crab). It’s spotlessly clean. The employees are patient (even when a certain 3-year-old mixes water and magic sand). Heck, the joint even sells snacks. Add in the cost—$7.50 per child per hour for the first hour, a total of $7.50 per family after that—and the place is a dream.
Rules of the road at A Place to Play are simple. Most of the time, children must be accompanied by a responsible supervising adult. The grown-up can’t leave at any point in the visit. If kids want to snack, they must do so in the dinette area. That’s pretty much it.
Of course there are exceptions. Once a month, A Place to Play hosts Date Night, during which the facility brings in some additional staff to watch (and feed) kids for three hours while moms and dads enjoy some quality grown-up time. This promotion is as much (if not more) for locals as it is for tourists. Perhaps the only downside is that it’s not cheap; it will cost us $40 to send both girls there Friday.
(To be honest, though, I’d pay twice that for a few solo hours with my bride on a family trip. Especially considering our wedding anniversary is Sunday.)
The concept and set-up behind A Place to Play makes so much sense, I have to wonder why these sorts of facilities don’t exist in every city. We certainly would use them. And I bet we’re not alone.
“The highlight of my kids’ trip”
My kids and I had just 24 hours to spend on San Juan Island, so that meant a lot of climbing in and out of the car and exploring parks and historic sites. They were remarkably patient about it, so when we reached the last few hours of our trip, I decided to take them to a place that was meant for kids. I’d seen the brochure for A Place to Play on the ferry and knew it was something they’d enjoy.
When we walked through the door of the playspace, we were greeted with a smile by Becky, one of the employees. My kids were off to the shoe cubby and then quickly started exploring. If you have an hour or less to play (this is a great place to spend time while waiting for a ferry!), you can get a short play discount. This discount does not charge for adults, just kids ($7.50). We had several hours to play, so I did have to pay for myself as well, but this gave us in and out privileges for the day.
A Place to Play just opened at the end of May, so everything is still new and shiny. The toys seemed clean and in good repair. My kids loved all of the things to do here. They could pretend to drive a boat, climb in the loft, ride some toy horse (that actually moved!), cook up a meal in the play kitchen, drive trains on the train table, splash in the water play area and more. They made friends with the other kids who were visiting as well as the employees. I loved that the two employees that we interacted with made a point of getting to know the kids and even spent most of the time that we were there playing right alongside them. As a mom traveling alone with a 5 and 6 year old on a hot summer day, this break was fantastic!
We did take advantage of the in and out privileges, going to a nearby restaurant for lunch and then getting the car in the ferry line. All in all, we probably spent 2 1/2 hour playing here and the kids didn’t even play with everything. They’re begging to go back! If you’re in the San Juans with a little kid, make your way to Friday Harbor and go to A Place to Play. Your child will love you forever.
Click below link to read a review by Lindsay Follett / City Editor for Family Fun Vancouver
A Place to Play is a must-do experience if you have children aged 8 & under. What a magical place for the kids! A Place to Play is a labour of love for a former kindergarten teacher. You can tell the moment you walk into the colourful space that the place was put together by someone who understands kids. The first thing that struck me was the incredible cleanliness of everything; it looked as though A Place to Play had opened the day prior rather than a year ago. Our 4 & 6 year old boys didn’t want to leave so we spent HOURS there! From a tugboat with life jackets and real boat equipment to the coolest ride-on horses to tables for Lego, water, sand and trains the activities abound. Even after hours of play our boys were still finding new toys and activities to entertain themselves. I wish we had A Place to Play near our home; we would pack our bags and move in!