My 3-year-old has way too much energy for her own good. I can either keep her at home and go crazy from telling her over and over again to stop climbing the furniture or let her play it out with other kids, while I drink coffee.
Sometimes you need some sanity and a good cup of coffee.
As a play cafe connoisseur, my daughter and I have high expectations. Here is how the play cafes in Edmonton and St. Albert measure up.
Cafe O’ Play is one of the original play cafes in Edmonton. I remember hearing about it and thinking: “What a brilliant idea”.
It is best suited for kids under 5. My 3-year-old still likes it, but she’s too tall to fit into the play cars and the plastic backyard furniture/slides are starting to bore her. She does love socializing with all of the kids and still really enjoys herself.
Café O’Play has lots of free parking and has discounted summer admission right now. It’s only $3 for kids to play and during their happy hour (1-3pm) it’s only $1. Make sure you get there early as it really fills up, especially on Saturdays (they are not open on Sundays during the summer.
Their food is good, although It’s a little on the expensive side for what you get. Their lattes are fantastic though. Try the Yummy Mummy, it’s my favorite.
Cafe Tiramisu is new to 124th street. It’s a restaurant with a room for kids to hang out and play with iPads or read books.
The room for kids is suited for all ages, but I have yet to bring my 3-year-old. She had way too much energy to sit still and do anything. I can almost 100% guarantee that she would climb the furniture. This is not a typical indoor play park.
I brought my newborn to Cafe Tiramisu to meet a friend for lunch, recently. The staff was very accommodating and I felt comfortable nursing her at the table.
Café Tiramisu has a hip atmosphere and has some really beautiful décor. The food is amazing and they have a lot of healthy choices. I would bring a baby sling as parking is limited (especially the free angle parking) nearby. Café Tiramisu can get very busy and they have table service. This is not the place to go if you are short on time.
Java Mama is located in a new part of St. Albert. It just opened up recently and is in a circle that includes yoga studios and specialty stores.
Java Mama has a big play area includes a house, slide and a lot of smaller toys. My daughter loves the variety of toys to play with, especially the kid sized shopping carts. She could (and has) played at Java Mama for hours.
Java Mama has a sectioned off play area for babies that contains big blocks, exersaucers and toys. It’s a really nice touch. This section is unique to the indoor play parks that I have been to.
The food was okay at Java Mama. I did enjoy my grilled turkey sandwich, but the cinnamon bun I ordered was stale and attached to the grocery store styrofoam plate
Unfortunately, Java Mama has a huge design flaw; you can’t see your child/children playing from the seating area. It’s hard to monitor your child or know if it is your kid crying. There is seating inside the play area, but it’s sparse you can’t bring in food or drinks. To me, this is a deal breaker.
Little Beans is in St. Albert, just across from the Sturgeon Hospital. It just opened up in February of this year.
My daughter loves their wooden play structures. She can climb, slide and jump. I meet up with other moms who have children in ages that range from 1 to 4 and their kids love the custom play structures too.
The food is amazing. We usually go in the morning. I have a huge bowl of yogurt, fresh berries and granola. My daughter has a homemade muffin. They have a lot of gluten-free items on the menu including a cheese and cracker plate and Callebaut chocolate haystack cookies. It is really nice to watch my daughter eat the same food as her celiac friends. Also, their coffee is great. They use chai concentrate from Remedy Café in their chai lattes. Highly recommended! So yummy!
Little Beans has a $6 admission. This is the steepest cost of the play cafes. With multiple kids, this can be an expensive outing. Make sure you bring a baby sling. Little Beans is in a busy area and parking spots can be hard to find.
For me, these indoor play parks are a life saver. They get me out of the house and into real pants. I hope you enjoy them as much as my daughters and I do.