The Go-To Guide: Play Cafes
Parents and play places are a match made in heaven. Children can be entertained for hours, while adults sit nearby and check email, have a snack or just enjoy a moment to themselves.
We've compiled a list of some of the most popular play cafés around Central Ohio. Many have separate café or lounge areas, often with robust menus and free Wi-Fi for parents. Offerings for children include interactive playgrounds, art and music, storytelling, dress-up costumes and more toys than they can play with in one visit.
Before planning a visit, call or check online to verify prices, age requirements and hours. Also note many of these venues require that children wear socks.
To suggest a location we should consider adding to our list, send an email email@example.com.
Central Park at Westerville Christian Church
471 E. College Ave., Westerville; 614-891-6842;wcchurch.life/centralpark
Westerville Christian Church hosts this play area, whose operating days follow the Westerville City School District schedule. (Note they're closed when there's no school.)
Central Park, for ages 2-12 accompanied by an adult, is free and open to the public during scheduled play times. Food and drinks are not permitted.
Hours:The facility reopens in September. Hours had not been announced as of press time.
Firefly Play Cafe
4822 N. High St.; 614-230-2375; fireflyplaycafe.com
Firefly Play Cafe offers scooters, a bounce house, magnets, a train table, a kitchen and dress-up closet for the kids and a lounge area with a coffee and tea menu for parents. Music, story and art activities are complimentary with admission; check the business' Facebook calendar for dates. Admission is $8 for children 24 months and older, $5 for ages 12-24 months and free for infants.
Hours:9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays; and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays
Fun in the Jungle
345 McGill St., Sunbury; 740-913-0692; funinthejungle.com
This newer facility has two areas in its Jungle Play Place, the smaller of which is designed for toddlers. Older children can climb on a multilevel structure and expend some energy on punching bags. Food is available on-site. Admission to the Jungle Play Place is $7 for children ages 3-10 and $2 for ages 2 and younger ($4 on the weekend). The venue also has arcade games, a mini bowling alley and a virtual reality game (all cost extra).
Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sundays
Little Green House
808 Grandview Ave.; 614-732-5328; littlegreenhouseplaycafe.com
Little Green House, which opened in 2003, is modeled like a little town complete with a firehouse, animal clinic, market and a bridge with a slide. The on-site Bellwether Kitchen sells $5 lunchboxes for children; food also is available for parents. Admission is $7 for children older than 6 months ($4 on Tuesdays) and free for younger guests.
Hours:9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays
The Naz Playplace
Grove City Church of the Nazarene, 4770 Hoover Road, Grove City; 614-305-2034;thenaz.tv
This indoor play area at Grove City Church of the Nazarene features a multilevel play structure with tunnels and slides. Socks and registration are required at The Naz Playplace. Admission is free, but donations are accepted. An on-site café offers food for kids and adults.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sundays; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays; and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays
PeaPod Play Cafe
4874 Thompson Road; 614-855-2517; peapodplaycafe.com
Pea Pod Play Cafe features interactive toys, an obstacle course and play sets depicting an ice cream truck, kitchen and teahouse for those 7 and younger. Parents can relax in the coffee and snack bar. Admission is $10 for children ages 7 and younger, free for ages 8 and older. Discounts are offered for two or more children.
Hours:9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays
Piccadilly Modern Play & Creative Cafe
2501 E. Main St., Bexley; 614-725-0204; piccadillydally.com
The emphasis at Piccadilly Modern Play & Creative Cafe is on educational and dramatic play. The business features activities with “play coaches” based on a weekly theme. There is a separate area for smaller children and a café that sells food and drinks. Admission is $8 for the first child, $5 for siblings. Happy hours and other discounts are offered. Ages 11 and older and younger than 12 months are admitted free. Memberships are available.
Hours:Summer hours are9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays and Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays. As of Sept. 11, hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays.
Tree of Life Play + Cafe
3708 Fishinger Blvd., Hilliard; 614-363-4041; treeoflifeplaycafe.com
Tree of Life Play + Cafe has a multilevel play area with tunnels, a slide and a ball pit designed for kids up to 46 inches tall. Food and drinks are available for purchase. The play café also offers classes on various topics. Admission is $6.99, with specials that include a meal or an hour of admission to the adjacent Get Air Trampoline Park.
Hours:9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Saturdays
Treehive Café + Play
337 W. Olentangy St., Powell; 614-681-1456; treehivecafe.com
Treehive Café + Play is geared to ages 7 and younger, with miniature playhouses, costumes for dress-up and other toys to spur their imagination. Parents can take a break in the café, which offers beverages and food and is separated from the supervised play area. Admission is $9 for the first hour, $15 for two hours and $24 for three hours and up. Sibling discounts and monthly passes are available. Children must be able to crawl and climb independently.
Hours:9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays
ZenKidz Play Cafe
43 E. Home St., Westerville; 614-890-7529; zenkidzplaycafe.com
ZenKidz Play Cafe features daily art and music activities as well as creative play areas with train tables, dress-up, puppets and more for ages 7 and younger. It also offers a separate baby area, as well as structured art classes. A café offers snacks and drinks. Admission is $9 for children ages 3-7, $8 for ages 7 months to 2 years and free for 6 months and younger. Sibling discounts and memberships are available.
Hours:9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays