It takes some real imagination to enjoy one of Apex’s newest businesses, PlayDays, an indoor play area that caters to pint-sized patrons and their adult companions.
Tricia Rossi said she visited a similar place when she and her family lived in New England. After moving to the Triangle, she was unable to find a similar venue for her children. The idea of PlayDays, which opened in early November, seemed like a natural fit for the home-schooling mom of a 3- and 5-year-old.
“My background is working with kids in non-profits,” she said.
She is also a photographer whose clients tend to be children and families.
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The main play room is limited to children up to age 6. Outfitted with everything from Cozy Coupes to a small roller coaster and a stage with dress-up clothes, the room has plenty to choose from.
“I tried to be particular,” Rossi said. “Kids love to push toys and to ride on things, so I tried to make sure we had plenty of those.”
No shoes are allowed in order to keep the floor clean for crawlers.
A separate art room provides materials for children to let their imaginations run wild.
Older siblings may use the art room as well as enjoy puzzles and games set up for them near the front entrance. A quiet room is available for caring for infants and children who might have sensory overload.
One thing you won’t find at PlayDays is video devices.
“Let’s unplug a bit and just play,” Rossi said.
PlayDays is not a day-care facility. Parents and grandparents are responsible for supervising their children. But that doesn’t mean that children can’t play by themselves.
“Everything is something children can do on their own,” Rossi said.
In the spring, an outdoor play area will be open.
The entry space is set up with big-people tables and chairs, offers free wi-fi, and has a coffee and snack bar, along with a clear sight-line to the main play area. Snacks are from local vendors and are nut-free and gluten sensitive. Rossi is partnering with a local restaurant to soon have salads catered in at lunchtime.
“I wanted a space where you could come as a parent and sit and drink coffee and breathe for a bit,” Rossi said. “It was important to me to have a place where other work-from-home moms can use wi-fi and have coffee while their kids play.”
Although the main draw is the open play time, Rossi is planning to offer daily activities, such as storytime, music and perhaps even toddler yoga. Fridays will be reserved for a wiggle and giggle dance party. Any special events are included in the regular price of admission. A monthly pass is also available.
Birthday party options range from simple to more elaborate. Most will be scheduled on weekends.
Rossi is happy with what she has created.
“It’s what I pictured,” she said. “I think it’s big, but not overwhelming for little kids.”