The Go-To Guide: Play Cafes

Jim Fischer
Columbus Parent
Children play as parents watch on at Pea Pod Play Cafe.

Editor’s note: For the most up-to-date version of this list, go to

Looking for a fun place for your kids to romp while you get a brief respite, and maybe a snack or cup of coffee and Wi-Fi? You’ll find all that—and sometimes more—at local play cafés.

Here’s a list of some of the most popular of these establishments around Central Ohio. Each offers its own unique take on the concept, with fringe benefits including separate café or lounge areas, food and drink menus and programming to augment the play.

Before planning a visit, call or check online to verify prices, age requirements and hours, which sometimes change seasonally. 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 to

Coffee Connections

4004 Main St., Hilliard; 614-664-3993;

Coffee Connections is not a play café in the traditional sense, but the popular coffeehouse has taken the extra step of incorporating a dedicated kids play area. The Old Hilliard business takes its name to heart, building community through a variety of initiatives. Coffee Connections also welcomes WeJoySing for drop-in music classes for little ones (check their Facebook page for details and the schedule).

Hours: 7 a.m. to noon Mondays and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays 

Firefly Play Cafe

4822 N. High St. (Clintonville), Columbus; 614-230-2375;

Since 2010, Firefly Play Cafe has been a place where kids come to play and adults come to hang out. The business has scooters, a bounce house, magnets, a train table, a kitchen and dress-up closet for the kids and a lounge area with coffee and tea offerings for parents. Author visits, music, and story and art activities are included with admission; check their Facebook page for dates and times. Admission is $8 for children 24 months and older, $5 for ages 12-24 months and free for infants. Memberships and party rentals are available.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays (to 8 p.m. the first Friday of each month); 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays; and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays

Hoot Studio

337 W. Olentangy St., Powell; 614-389-8369;

This inclusive play café is located in the same space as the former Treehive Café + Play. Hoot Studio offers supervised play with art and music classes, yoga and more for a variety of age groups (check the class schedule online). The on-site café boasts free Wi-Fi. Memberships are available, as are parties and special-needs playtimes. Admission is $9 per hour, $6 each additional child, for staff supervision; rates are $3 less for parent-supervised play.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; Saturday hours vary

The Naz Playplace

Grove City Church of the Nazarene, 4770 Hoover Road, Grove City; 614-305-2034;

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. Admission is free, but donations are accepted. The Naz Playplace is part of the Naz Commons, which also includes a café and bookstore.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sundays; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; and 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays

Pea Pod Play Cafe

4874 Thompson Road, Gahanna; 614-855-2517;

Pea Pod Play Cafe features unique, interactive toys, an obstacle course and play sets depicting an ice cream truck, kitchen and teahouse for those 7 and younger. Coffee is from Stauf’s, and parents also can access free Wi-Fi. Admission is $10 for children ages 7 and younger, free for ages 8 and older. Discounts are offered for two or more children. Parties are available.

Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays

Piccadilly Modern Play & Creative Cafe

2501 E. Main St., Bexley; 614-725-0204;

The emphasis at Piccadilly Modern Play & Creative Cafe is on educational and dramatic play. A variety of classes are offered for children and adults, and drop-off play is available on certain dates (check the website). There is a separate area for smaller children and a café that sells food and drinks. Admission is $9 for the first child ages 2 and older, $7 ages 12-24 months and $5 for siblings. Happy hours and other discounts are offered. Children younger than 12 months are admitted free. Memberships and parties are available.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays; and 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays

Tree of Life Play + Cafe

3708 Fishinger Blvd., Hilliard; 614-363-4041;

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 or age 5 and younger. Food and drinks, including Saving Grace Coffee, are available for purchase. The business also offers classes on various topics and is available for parties. Admission is $6.99, $1 off for siblings.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; and 9 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Saturdays