Issaquah's JuzPlay is the newest addition to the Eastside indoor play space scene and gives parents and caretakers in the city and along the I-90 corridor eastward one more option for letting their little ones blow off some steam on these cold, rainy winter days.
The 3,000 square foot space, which opened in mid-December, is conveniently located on N.W. Mall St., across the street from SwimLabs. Designed for ages 1–7 (roughly, see below for more details), it features all the padded, mechanical climbing structures, fan-propelled balloons, and multi-level jungle gym labyrinths (and ball cannons) that make otherm indoor gyms so appealing.
Owner Stephanie Tang went one step further in her concept for JuzPlay. She designed a lounge area on the second floor of the play area which allows for parents to enjoy some downtime while still keeping a bird's-eye view on their kids below. Children who become a bit overstimulated can also enjoy a little quiet upstairs with a train table and assorted books. The comfortable couches also make for a perfect nursing station.
The space is an extension of what Tang said she wanted for herself as a parent and for her two daughters, ages 4 and 7. Her girls are far enough apart in age that their play interests are diverging, and as a mother, she wanted to be able to keep an eye on both of them without hindering their fun.
Toddlers have their own designated area with a toadstool play house and mini-slides, while older children may enjoy clamoring over the moving devices or whooshing down the slide from the balloon room.
How does it compare to similar play spaces? Those who find driving out to PlaydateSEA too far, or who find the high-energy environment of Funtastic Playtorium too overstimulating, would appreciate JuzPlay's variation of the multi-story jungle gym complete with a ball pit, slides, chutes and assorted padded obstacles. I appreciate that the structure is built such that adults are welcome to explore with their children (or rescue them).
The moving devices below are just like those at WiggleWorks and Redmond's Giggle Jungle, though one could say the rotating ball ride may move a tad fast for smaller kids, so keep an eye out for the toddlers. The balloon room, with giant balloons propelled by overhead fans, again, is reminiscent of those at other play areas, but JuzPlay's version lets kiddos opt to come out via a twisty slide. My nearly 2-year-old toddler actually preferred the slide so she didn't need to negotiate the stairs coming down.
The entire space is tied together by a fantastical theme, inspired by Tang's own love for fairy tales and imagination. Visitors will notice a motif of two sprites that adorn multiple walls. Tang invented the treelings herself, and they have names: Juzzy and Spila. When pronounced together, they start to sound like JuzPlay.
The creatures oversee the play space, and it's Tang's hope they also spark and inspire the imaginations of her young visitors.
If you go...
Where: JuzPlay is located at 1430 N.W. Mall St., Suite B, Issaquah, WA 98027
Hours: Mondays through Thursdays 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Sundays 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Optimal age: JuzPlay uses a child's height to determine if they are eligible (or not) to play, rather than age. Admission is restricted to kids under 55 inches (and their guardians). A height chart at the entrance further delineates where children are in terms of which sections of the play space are best suited for them.
Cost: Children age 2 and up: $12; Children ages 1 to 2: $8; Adults and infants under 12 months: free (admission costs cover 2 hours of play). Note: There is a 10 percent discount for siblings. Punch cards offering further discounts are also available for purchase.
Food: Assorted snacks and drinks are available for purchase, or visitors can bring their own. There is no food allowed in the play space but visitors can eat in the kitchenette/party area as well as upstairs in the lounge.
Wifi: Free. There are multiple outlets for charging laptops, and each outlet is also fitted with USB ports.
Parking: JuzPlay offers a handful of parking spaces but there is plenty of street parking along NW Mall Street.