Here's another problem to solve: now that my big kiddo is back to school, my little kiddo is soooo bored. He really misses chasing his big brother around the house! So when we saw that the Tiny Tots Indoor Playground Cooperative was having an open house, we jumped at the chance to go check it out.
There's one more open house!
Saturday, September 26th
from 10 am to 12 noon
This is a great opportunity to visit for free.
2200 Coburg Road
Eugene, OR 97408
Monday-Saturday: 9 am to 4 pm
EXCEPT Tuesday: 12 pm noon to 7 pm
Tiny Tots is an indoor playground that is housed in (but not affiliated with) Our Saviour Lutheran Church at the corner of Coburg Road and Beltline. They're open during the school year, and in order to play, you have to be a member. What does this mean, you ask? Well, it's sort of like belonging to Costco. You pay a yearly membership fee, and then you can go play and eat free samples anytime you want. Well, maybe not the samples, unless you're into digging through other people's diaper bags.
The space is open and inviting, and there are pretty defined areas: one for babies, one for bigger kids, one for larger motor play with slides, one for snacks, and a nursery/changing area. There was even a couch for mamas to hang out on while their littles played.
When we went to visit, there were about four other families there. Turns out, that's a pretty accurate representation of what it's usually like. As I talked to other mamas, the theme I noticed coming up over and over was friendship. Everyone mentioned how they found Tiny Tots to be a great place to meet other families, to build a community, to share experiences and advice, and generally commiserate in the roller coaster that is parenting. Doesn't that sound great? I know!
Here are a bunch of other details that you might be wondering about:
- First of all, how much does this cost? Good question. And here's the answer: you pay once for the entire year. If you join now, you get to play for all of the school year, so it'll cost you $120. If you wait until December, you've missed a third of the school year, so a third of the price is knocked off, so you'll pay $80. And if you decide to join in March, you'll only pay $40. Make sense? The cost is per family, no matter how many children you have.
- However! Right now they have a deal going on that gets you an entire year's membership for only $99! So that's pretty great! But that ends September 30, so if you're interested, you better shake a leg and go join.
- Since it's a cooperative, you have to...wait for it...cooperate in running/cleaning/maintaining the facility. This looks like signing up for a variety of small responsibilities. Obviously, the more members there are, the fewer duties everyone will have. The people I talked to said that usually each member ends up working about once or twice a month.
- The main duties are opening and closing the playground. Opening means showing up and pulling all the toys out. Closing means showing up and putting them away. You can bring your kids with you (and make them do most of the work, I mean help).
- There are age requirements: your kiddos need to be in kindergarten or younger.
- Tuesday nights are family nights - older siblings can play from 4-7 pm.
- One thing I really like is that once you're a member, you can go play anytime that it's open. That seems super obvious, but hold on. Members have a key code that opens the door, and you can just let yourself in, play for however long you want, and then let yourself out. Since they don't depend on anyone staffing/working/whatever during the open hours, the playground is able to be open for a really good chunk of the week. As I looked at their schedule and at my calendar, I saw many times when we would be able to go play.
- All food and drink has to be enjoyed in the snack room, except (thank goodness) mom's coffee/water in a cup with a lid. Whew.
- Busy times at the playground are the mornings, and it's quieter around lunch and in the afternoons.
- Tiny Tots is run by a volunteer board, and they are working hard to make lots of other fun events happen for their members: seasonal celebrations, story times, summer play dates at parks, and more.
- For our peanut sensitive friends: Tiny Tots is super strict about peanuts. As in, they're not allowed at all. Hooray!
- If you're a member, you can bring one guest (that means a family - like a mom friend and her kiddos) per month. Also, you can bring as many first timers as you'd like.
- The toys get cleaned regularly! Yay! Cleaning duties are part of your membership, but it doesn't sound like a crazy big job. Many hands make light work and all that.
- You can rent the space for parties on Saturdays. Hooray for not having to clean your house!
- Something to consider if you have grandparents in the area: you could totally ask for a membership for Christmas, and then send your littles to play with grandma and/or grandpa and/or whichever family member wants to spend time with your kiddos so that you can clean your house or nap in peace.
- Also! I heard that some families send their kiddos to go play on Saturday mornings with dad. Isn't that brilliant? Dad gets to have a contained space to let the kids play and maybe chat it up (do dudes chat?) with other dads. Mom gets to go garage sale-ing by herself. At least, that's what I'd do. :)
It really does seem like a very cozy, happy, welcoming, and safe little place to hang out with your kiddos. If you're looking for somewhere to meet some new friends with littles, Tiny Tots might be just the place for you. It certainly seems like an awesome option when the rainy season starts. The playground has a really beautiful and well organized website where you can get any questions that you still have answered, as well as join and pay your membership fee.
Like I said above, they have a deal going right now to join for only $99! Use the code SEPT to score that sweet deal, and tell them Megan sent you. ;)