I admit it. I am a Germaphobe. I use a grocery cart cover in every store. I carry multiple kinds of hand and face wipes with me at all times. I have been known to carry multiple bottles of Purell with me, both on my person and in my various bags. So you can only imagine my reaction to the idea of an indoor play space during cold and flu season.
Jer took E to one at the local mall for a Dads and Kids Only playdate a few weeks back. Thank God I didn’t have to go; I would have been the one with the industrial sized can of Lysol, spraying everything and wiping my poor kid’s hands every five minutes.
I am more than aware of the need for at least 30 minutes of active playtime per day for toddlers, and that pacing in a house with a few stairs and couch climbing episodes here and there does not count. That being said, Jer sent me pictures of E having the time of her life and the idea of indoor play spaces started to (slowly) grow on me.
So when a good friend who is nearly as obsessed with germ killing as I am recommended a place called Stay and Play in Old Saybrook, a few towns away here in CT, my interest was piqued. When another friend from swim class recommended the same place, I hesitantly gave in and decided to bring E for a playdate with these respective ladies and their little ones.
Finding the place is a bit tricky. If you’re following GPS, although it will come up as 175 Elm Street, enter in 175-2 Elm Street, or just take a left at 175 Elm Street. It’s in a warehouse looking building, but make no mistake, the place IS AWESOME inside. And clean, even by this germ freak’s standards.
They basically took the coolest playground, minus the swings, put it indoors, and added a full cafe.
They have a toddler friendly area next to the indoor play structure, but the larger play structure has areas for early walkers and little ones as well. For children under 3 I recommend following them up the larger play structure. All the equipment is adult friendly, including the slides (although even I’m intimidated by the large covered curvy slide).
There is also a back room for older kids with basketball hoops, an air hockey table and a huge Lego pit, and a gated off area for crawlers with soft toys and even a comfy rocking chair for feeding infants. It really is friendly for all ages, and so would be a great choice for larger families or a mom’s group.
If you’re there during snack time no worries, they have a full snack bar with organic yogurt, fruit and veggie pouches, treats like muffins and cookies and a full coffee bar for you as well, along with a seating area that includes an actual school bus turned kiddie café.
E and I have been twice since we signed up for their membership plan, and she’s loved it both times. So far her favorites have been the ramps, slides and mini trampolines. Ramps especially.
If you live in the area I highly recommend checking it out, and if you’re military they are having a special for the month of March, $2 off per visit and FREE COFFEE!
If you’re not in the area, Google Stay and Play for your town and surrounding areas to see if you have a similar center and give it a go, you may be just as pleasantly surprised as I was!