A line of women stands outside the chandeliered Hush Baby children's boutique in Redmond Town Center, waiting for the doors to open so they can collect a bag of mouthwatering little giveaways and grab a glass of champagne to sip while checking out the store's new clothing for spring.
Welcome to Moms' Night Out.
Owner Justin McKibben says that he and his brother came up with the idea — with liberal input from their wives and their wives' friends — to give their customers a chance to get out of the house, get away from their kids for a bit and do something with their friends. "We ended up having up to 150 at our very first event," he says, and talking to the mothers in attendance made him realize how badly some of them needed to get out. The past MNO, held in February, attracted more than 250 moms.
And it's not just moms who need to get out.
Parents' Nights Out have popped up all over the region. Gyms, museums, YMCAs, community centers and other venues regularly schedule events at which parents can drop their kids off for a couple of hours. The kids play, have dinner, do crafts and run around in a pack of other kids, while mom and dad slip away for a quick dinner or a movie. Do the math: Depending on how much you pay for a baby sitter in your area, this type of program can be a bargain.
A few tips on making the system work for your family: Always register in advance. Some venues take kids who aren't potty-trained, but many don't, so check ahead if your child is still in diapers. And, depending on your child’s temperament, a friend might help with the adjustment to a new place - and some venues offer a sibling or second-child discount.
Many area YMCAs offer regular family nights, but most require that nonmembers pay a program membership fee, which varies by location; check Web site.
Northshore YMCA: 5:30 p.m.-midnight, May 14. Northshore YMCA, 11811 N.E. 195th St., Bothell, 425-485-9797. For ages 1 to 10. $25/facility members, $30/program members (plus $10 annual youth-program membership).
University Family YMCA: Parents’ Night Out happens the third Friday of every month, 6-9 p.m., for ages 1-11. $15/child (plus $25 program membership if not a member). 5003 12th Ave. N.E., Seattle. 206-524-1400.
West Seattle Family YMCA: April 19, May 10, 5:30-10 p.m. Ages 3 and older. $22.50/members, $25/nonmembers. 4515 36th Ave. S.W., Seattle. 206-935-6000.
A handful of Seattle community centers put a regular Parents' Night Out on their schedules, but other locations occasionally offer them for special occasions. Look in your catalog or check online.
Ballard: One Friday per quarter, 6:30-10 p.m. Ages 3-7. $15. 6020 28th Ave. N.W., Seattle. 206-684-4093.
Bitter Lake: One Friday per month, 6-9 p.m. $15/child. Ages 3-7. Bitter Lake Community Center, 13035 Linden Ave. N., Seattle. 206-684-7524.
High Point: Occasional, 5-9 p.m. $20, additional child $15. Ages 5-12. 6920 34th Ave. S.W., Seattle. 206-684-7422.
Southwest: Monthly, 6-10 p.m. $20, additional child $15. Ages 5-12. 2801 S.W. Thistle St., Seattle. 206-684-7438.
Hiawatha: One Friday per month, 6:30-9:30 p.m. $12. Ages 5-10. 2700 California Ave. S.W., Seattle. 206-684-7441.
My Gym Bellevue: Offers a periodic night out, open to the public. Kids must be potty-trained. Ages 3-9. $35, additional sibling $20. 900 160th Ave. N.E., Bellevue. 425-451-1393,
Little Gym: Locations in Kenmore (6748 N.E. 181st St., 425-481-5889. $20/nonmembers, second Fridays), Kent (18437 E. Valley Highway, 425-656-0737. $26/nonmembers, $16 siblings, every other Friday) and Seattle (7777 15th Ave. N.E., 206-524-2623, call for pricing, April 18) offer Parents’ Survival Nights on occasional Fridays from 6:30 to 10 p.m. You don’t have to be a member, and kids must be potty-trained. Ages 3-10.
Seattle Gymnastics Academy: Parents&' Nights Out are held on the first and third Saturdays of the month from 6 to 10:30 p.m. Ages 5-11. $25/child, $20/additional sibling if enrolled and paid by Friday at 5 p.m.; at the door, $35/child.
Northwest Aerials. No events scheduled for the Snohomish location. The Kirkland location offers Parents’ Night Off on April 4 and 19. Includes trampoline, gymnastics, and ice cream sundaes. 6-10 p.m. Kids must be potty-trained. $26/child if paid two days in advance. Ages 3 and older. 12440 128th Lane N.E., Kirkland. 425-823-2665.
Art and stuff
Paint Away: The Redmond Town Center pottery studio offers a Parent’s Night Out almost monthly, Fridays from 6 to 9 p.m. Ages 6-12. $36 includes a project to paint and pizza. 425-861-8388.
Roaring Mouse Studio. The small art studio offers a Kids’ Night Out on April 12 and 26, 4-8 p.m. Ages 3-8. Dress to get messy and bring dinner. $30/child, $20/additional sibling. 7526 20th Ave. N.E., Seattle. 206-522-1187.
WhirlWinds . It’s not open in the evening or on weekends, but you can leave your child until 5 p.m. and enjoy lunch or a movie while she enjoys story time and other preschool activities. Ages 2-6. $8/hour, two-hour minimum, four-hour maximum. The earlier hours, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., are very busy, and reservations are encouraged. 4516 Union Bay Place, Seattle. 206-729-9463.