I always look forward to my Fridays off with Moosh. Monday through Thursday we both struggle to get ourselves out of bed, get dressed and head off to our respective duties — mine, work; his, the sitter. He always seems so clingy during the week. Like he knows he can pull on my heartstrings by saying he wants to stay in his jammies. And it works. I’m a sucker for it.
So by Friday, I’m ready to spend a day just hanging with him. Perhaps we’ll lay in pajamas for a while. Perhaps we’ll watch a movie on the couch. But nine times out of 10 on Fridays, that clingy, “I don’t want to get dressed – I just want to snuggle,” little boy is the complete opposite. He would rather be anywhere than with me. Our days usually end up being a game of survival.
But not this past Friday. After our doctors appointment (at which he received a clean bill of orthopedic health!), we met up with our friend Kristi and her son Kayden at a new indoor play place — Cafe O’Play.
I’ve always been one of those people that has said we will not be going to the germ-infested places like Chuck-E-Cheese or Chick-Fil-A playgrounds. The thought of them makes me… shudder. Plus, since Moosh is small, I always worry about the bigger kids just pushing him around. (Yes, I realize this is something that I will eventually need to get over… but I’ve seen some kids get really rough in these places, with seemingly zero interaction from the parents of these kids).
But I had heard good things about Cafe O’Play, so I was really looking forward to a way to get out of the house for a bit.
- Very well organized. When you walk in, you’re walking in to the cafe section. To the right of the cafe is a large set of windows to see into the play area. I was immediately struck by how large the space was and how much light there was. That seems to be the opposite of places like Chuck-E-Cheese where it’s dark and dank. Cafe O’Play had a lot of lighting — both natural and overhead. Bright colors and visible staff to assist in every aspect of the experience.
- Controlled chaos. Let’s face it, anytime you are dealing with toddler-aged kids there is chaos. Every parent knows this. But it’s managed really well, considering. For instance, while we were waiting, one of the moms had just purchased a day pass for her daughter, who then proceeded to have a full-on meltdown of epic proportions. The mother, embarrassed, was set to just leave. But the staff offered her a gift card with the price of admission back on it so that they could come back and actually play next time.
- Cleanliness. The germaphobe in me didn’t even flinch. The material that all of the play structures were made of something that seemed really easy to clean. And the actually floors and everything were so clean.
- Safety. One thing that has always made me nervous about play places is that when Moosh climbs up, I no longer have access to him. That is not the case with Cafe O’Play. The play structures are large and open enough for the parents to easily climb up with their kids. The comfort I find in this is something I just cannot explain. Plus? I had a TON of fun.
- Beverages. After a couple of hours of play and one unfortunate run in with another kids head, we needed a break. The cafe offers a variety of coffee and espresso beverages for adults as well as juice boxes and milk for the kiddos. We grabbed an organic strawberry milk and an Honest juice box. I can’t report back on the coffee/espresso just yet because I was too thirsty for water to even order coffee (mark this date down as the first day I’ve ever refused coffee! Ha!).
- Food. I ordered the Turkey and Cheese sandwich, which is served on a ciabatta roll with field greens and a garlic herb spread. It was delicious and filling. In fact, I could only eat half of the sandwich, so I brought the other half home with me. I ordered Moosh a Kids Tin, which is essentially your choice of 5 snack items to put into a muffin tin. This idea (which I have seen on pinterest previously) is GENIUS. The kids didn’t want to stop playing to eat; but when you make the food fun like this, they still think they are playing while they eat. Options range from goldfish, cheese, grapes, hummus, apple slices, pretzels, ham, carrots, and yogurt.
- Satisfied with price. The price of all-day play [$8.50 per child for weekday; $10.50 for weekend — accompanying adult is free] is awesome. We ended up going home for a nap and for dinner and once Chad came home from work, Moosh and I were eager to go back and show him what all the fuss was about (I couldn’t stop talking about it). My less-impressionable-than-myself husband was extremely impressed with the cost for fun ratio. In fact, we are going to invest in a more cost-effective 10-play pass so that we can make it a semi-regular thing for a discounted rate!
- The wear-out factor. Moosh was one-thousand percent wiped out after this fun-filled play date. He slept in crazy late Saturday morning and it still seemed like he hadn’t 100% recovered by Saturday evening. This is incredible for a parent of a toddler! They have seemingly endless amounts of energy. And winters in the Midwest are not exactly conducive for expending their pent-up energy. Mission accomplished!
- I like the rules. No shoes; must wear socks. And I love that there is extra staff monitoring areas of the playground. If a mom is distracted, the staff is there to help. I honestly didn’t see any parents not paying attention to their toddlers; but I did see a LOT of moms of toddlers who were also baby-wearing their infants. So I can see how this extra staff would come in extra handy for them.
- Healthy food options. I left feeling satisfied with our food decisions. We didn’t eat anything fried or gross; instead we ate a more balanced lunch. And it was tasty. But next time I’m getting an espresso!
- Highly recommend a visit. Check out their website and their Facebook page here.