This play space has changed owners. Find our new review here. While searching for indoor fun this winter, I found the perfect place—for my kids, and me. A place that feels more like a good friend's cool apartment than a play space thanks to a minimalist and modern decor, good music (Smashing Pumpkins and Kings of Leon on my visits), and huge windows that let in a ton of natural light and provide a nice reminder of the cold weather outside. Opened in September 2010 by the down-to-earth and enviably hip couple Wade Groom and Katja Douedari, Play is a place I'd happily hang out at all winter, for these reasons, and many more.
A whimsical mural created by a local artist welcomes visitors to Play's 1,000 square foot play area, a space that's ideal for children 5 years old and under.
Kids will love romping around on the padded floor, lounging on bean bag pillows, zooming down a fast slide, playing in a supermarket, cooking pretend meals in a retro kitchen, and swaying in fabric swings.
There are also foam blocks, books and a pretend fire engine that my son could have hung out in all day. In addition to the play space, there are also a variety of children's classes including music, infant development, movement, arts and crafts and special holiday workshops.
When classes aren't in session, kids are allowed to hang out in the classroom which is adjacent to the play area. In there, they'll find yoga mats and blocks, train tracks, and all sorts of instruments for an impromptu jam session.
For parents, there's coffee for about $2 a cup that can be sipped in the play space, or while browsing Play's boutique where Wade and Katja sell adorable and affordable onesies from their clothing line Phoenix and Nola, named after their 19-month old twins, plus carefully selected books, art supplies, and wooden toys. There are even magazines, free WiFi, and a cozy couch and chairs.
Play offers three types of memberships. For drop-in visitors, there's the Studio option which costs $20 per child. For $1000 annually, not including tax, the Play membership includes unlimited open play, classes not included. Play also offers a class plus unlimited play and perks option (per semester) that has a range of prices from $345-$900 depending on the number of classes.
If you visit, and you should, prepare to have a hard time getting your kids to go home. My son was on the verge of a major meltdown both times (after playing for over two hours), but glass jars full of candy and letter magnets helped lure him out, and kept him happy on the long subway ride home.
Play is open Monday-Friday, from 9am to 6pm and 10am to 4pm on Saturday and Sundays. It's a short 3 blocks away from the G train at Nassau Avenue and an 8-minute walk from the L train.
33 Nassau Avenue (corner of Dobbin Street)
For other great playspaces and indoor play ideas, check out our Indoor Fun Guide.