August 10, 2004
Bring socks. No shoes or bare feet allowed.
Words to the wise to children and parents visiting Kids Town Play Center, the new Tempe business at the northwest corner of Elliot Road and McClintock Drive.
Geared toward infants through 8-year-olds, the playhouse village includes a fully outfitted firehouse, doctor’s and veterinary offices, among other structures, and enough accouterments, such as play clothes and push cars, to keep children occupied for hours. Kids Town was designed with entertainment and education in mind, said owner Alison Reilly. It was also conceived as a place for parents to come together. Beginning in September, adult classes in such pursuits as scrapbooking will be held there at night.
"We want to cater to parents, too," Reilly said, while providing a clean, contained environment for young children during the day. Admission costs $7 per child with no daytime charge for parents. Monthly passes are available for $40, with a $10 fee for additional siblings. (Taxes are not included in those charges.)
Promotions scheduled for the coming months include discounts and free refreshments for children purchasing and wearing Kids Town T-shirts.
"Parents are always looking for something to do with their children," Reilly said. With thoughts of a family of her own and an entrepreneurial spirit, Reilly conceived Kids Town from her own imagination and from talking with parents. She doesn’t believe there is anything like it in the Valley, as most other entertainment venues for kids are geared toward older children.
She said two of the big concerns of parents of young children are safety and cleanliness. The playhouse village is childproofed and, for sanitary reasons, no outside food and drink other than water is allowed. There is an area where refreshments can be purchased and consumed away from the play area — and there’s a party room that can be reserved for birthdays.
"It is so much fun to watch the children," Reilly said. She observes children counting out table place settings, reinforcing math skills. She watches as children negotiate for items they want. Play, according to child development specialists, is a function of development for children.
"We plan on having ‘real people’ come in from time to time to talk to children," Reilly said. Tempe firefighters have already been by to teach "drop and roll" survival strategies. Other professionals to be recruited include police officers, physicians and veterinarians, she said.
Kids Town Play Center
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday
Where: 1700 E. Elliot Road, Suite 7 and 8, Tempe
Cost: $7 per child through age 8; monthly passes available