Two places in Woburn offer indoor fun for kids. And they’re as different as night and day.
One is open regular weekday hours, with party hours in late afternoons, evening and on Saturdays and Sundays. An independent facility—there’s one and only one—it serves children to around age 10 during open play times.
The other opens primarily to private groups. A franchise, it has essentially no upper age limit for guests.
Through words and pictures, take a tour of off Washington Street, at 90 Cummings Park and at 470 Wildwood Ave.
The newer kid on the block, The Klubhouse opened in March of 2009, Nick Gatto told Woburn Patch from behind the desk. Gatto’s wife, Tanja, a former preschool teacher, started the business, he said, after they had three young children and Tanja was not satisfied with other indoor play places.
One of the main issues for Tanja, Nick said, was the size of other play spaces. If they’re too big, you can’t keep an eye on your children, he said. Their three children are Abigail, 8; Logan, 6 and Joshua, 5.
Parents like the Klubhouse because it’s not too big and you can bring your own food in. Except for peanuts, Nick said. Offering food would be a whole separate business, he commented.
Tracy Shea came from Wakefield with her two sons and 20-month-old. You can see where your children are, she said approvingly, and you can bring your own food. The only down side? Sometimes, she said, it gets crowded.
Marion Goodwin was looking for somewhere “cool,” temperature-wise. She came from Arlington with her daughter, 4, and son, 6. “They love the whole place,” Marion said. Her son, Lucas agreed. He liked the cars pedaled by foot around a track and the climbing and sliding, he said. At noon, an hour after they arrived, “We’re still alive,” Marion quipped.
Courtney Peters brought her children, Bridget, 3, and Burke, 6, in lieu of the walk they’d planned in Winchester because it rained. Mom likes both the concept of the place and the activities. Burke had been there before, to a birthday party, she said.
Susan Dreiman, formerly from Melrose, who is visiting the commonwealth from Virginia, brought her two-year-old son. There are no places like this in Virginia, she said. Her son played for a while in the quieter toddler room.
The Klubhouse is open to the public weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
One of the Klubhouse features, at birthday parties only, is access to the “Glam Room.” Two students in the cosmetology program at the vocational school in Wakefield help party guests apply makeup.
Parents can pay per child by the visit or buy a monthly membership, based on the number of children in the family. If a child wears Red Sox apparel, he or she gets in for half price during the summer. Nine dollars per child is a little expensive, Goodwin said; $4.50 a child is “perfect.”
About 25 percent of Klubhouse members are from Woburn, Gatto said.
Jump On In
Theresa Gibson said she opened her play space, a franchise, at 470 Wildwood Ave. in February of 2008 after her daughter went to parties at the Jump On In in Lowell. The play space was very structured and clean, she said. Before opening her business, Gibson said she worked for a software company. The company got bought. So she said, “Let’s give (this) a shot.”
Usually Jump On In visitors are between 3 and 12 or 13 years old, Gibson said. But they’ve had a graduation party for a group of high schoolers, she said and a party for a guest of honor who was turning 30. Parents can go on all the equipment there, so “Parents can play,” too.
Unique to Jump On In, Gibson said, is “The Jump Shot,” a bouncy basketball “court.” The overall play space includes two rooms of bouncy equipment, which guests rotate through; a baseball hitting game; and air hockey and foosball.
Andrea Giannini, a nanny, brought several children to celebrate Brian Fortin’s sixth birthday. The play space is good for all ages, she said, and switching rooms holds their attention.
Maria McLaughlin brought a six-year-old who was under her care. He loves it, she said, because the equipment is larger than at other indoor play spaces.
Here, “referees” interact—even play tag—with party guests.
Gibson employs 28 students, either high school or college age, and two full-timers, plus herself, she said.
During the summer, Jump On In is open for two hours of public play, when parents must stay with children and three hours of “Jump and learn” when kids can be dropped off for exercise, an art project and snack. The times are posted on line.
Gibson estimated that 40 percent of her guests come from Woburn.
Does Gibson ever take a slide on any of the equipment?
“It’s exhausting,” she said, “and I’m too old.”