Play the day away

Family makes fun priority number one

Family in a park

photo by buck heidrick

When Cafe Sip n Play on Vancouver’s east side suddenly closed down over the summer, one heard the collective gasp of shock and grief from moms of young children across the metro area. The cafe where kids could play and parents could drink coffee and check their phones was wildly popular with the five-and-under set.

But alas, there is a new game in town. Part play cafe, part kids’ club, part preschool, the Vancouver Mall-located new tot hotspot appears to be Steamers and Screamers, which was to hold its grand opening celebration on November 17 and 18 with author Nancy Tillman onboard for a booksigning and a reading. (We went to press before the opening and hit the streets after, so some details in this story may have changed.)

Jenny Wiglesworth and her husband Carl, the parents of two small children, built on the Sip n Play concept and leased a midtown space big enough for playing, eating, classes and more.

“I had no clue this would be a good business” Jenny Wiglesworth said. “I just saw there were not enough places to go and talk to my friends and have a place for my kids to play,”

The shop is 3,000 square feet with a 1,500-square-foot play area designed for walkers to school aged children. Play equipment in the divided play area includes a climbing structure, pirate ship (!), a large bus and a Little Tykes car and gas tank. Kids will also find a train table and full train set, a puppet theater, a dress up trunk with costumes, a grocery stand, a baby doll “nursery” and a builders workshop. A smaller, separate infant space, located next to the nursing area, houses a number of high quality infant toys.

A play costs $4.95 per child and $3.50 for additional children. Steamers offers happy hour pricing from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at $3 per child and $2 per additional child. Parents can also purchase a membership which includes such perks as unlimited open play, priority registration and discounts on classes, and discounts on food and drinks.

Classes such as yoga, music and cooking will be offered in a small classroom by independent instructors who specialize in the topics they teach. The cafe offers a wide selection of coffee drinks by Portland Coffee Roasters, meals and snacks. Sugar and Salt Bakery in Camas provides all of the cafe’s bread and pastries. A variety of fun swag, including books by local authors and handmade items, is available for purchase.

Steamers & Screamers

8400 VanMall Loop Road, Suite 105, Vancouver

360-597-4521  Facebook icon

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