This is a guest post by Lara-Mom, who blogs whenever she can about family fun, cupcakes, offbeat parenting and her amazing daughter. You can find her on Twitter as @LaraK, on Facebook at Lara-Mom Blog.
I love modern play cafés – lovely, hybrid spaces designed with both parents and little ones in mind. Firefly in Clintonville was my first introduction to this genre and I fell in love. Since then, I’ve made it my mission to visit every new play café that opens in the central Ohio area. We’ve got quite a few now, but the shiny new play café du jour is the just-opened and awesomely-named Eat. Play. Love. in Lewis Center, just off Polaris.
Officially open as of today, Eat. Play. Love. is clean, spacious and bright. The second we walked in the door, before we even got a good look at their toys and play area, my 3.5 year old daughter said “I like this place! This is a fun place!” And she’s right. The colors on the freshly-painted walls are perfect – contemporary yet welcoming. The wooden climbing and play structures, Ikea furniture and toys, and sparse furnishings with room to move all add up to a very kid-friendly vibe.
There are sitting areas for parents and several different play areas for kids including a chalkboard wall at the back, play kitchenette at the front, and large wooden climbing and play structure in the middle. My preschooler felt comfortable right away and explored the whole place on her own first, then found a new friend to play with and really had fun.
I did not have a chance to sample any food as we visited before Eat. Play. Love. officially opened. However, the owners told me they plan to have healthy options like sandwiches and fresh-made dips. The kitchen area is small so I imagine they will keep to a fairly simple menu plus juice, kid-friendly snacks, etc.
The cost to play at Eat. Play. Love. is $8 for the first child, $6 for additional children and free for one year and under. The cost is similar to others in the area. If you think it sounds steep, wait until we’re a month deep into another long Ohio winter and your kids are going stir-crazy at home. Then, this café and others like it will be a bright sparkling oasis of fun in our cold, grey reality! That’s when my daughter and I visit these indoor play cafes the most – when winter is getting really, really long and we’re bored with our usual free play spots.
Eat. Play. Love. is open 9 am to 6 pm, seven days a week. They will offer storytime sessions and music and movement classes on select days, so check the website before you go. The play café also offers the option to rent the space for birthday parties, something I must seriously consider since we’ll be celebrating a big 4th birthday in the new year, before spring comes back to Ohio.
The location is easy to get to – just head north onto S. Old State from Polaris Parkway and make your first right into the Drug Mart parking lot. There’s plenty of parking. Oh, and did I mention they offer free wifi – which makes this a really nice option for working parents who need to get a few things while the little ones play!
I love to see new play cafes open in Columbus and I hope this one succeeds. What’s your favorite play café around Columbus, and will you let us know what you think of Eat. Play. Love. if you visit?