Active Play At Jungle Gym & Cafe!

::UPDATE October 2013 ~ We’re very sad to report that Jungle Gym & Cafe has now CLOSED for business.::

Jungle Gym & Cafe
Jungle Gym & Cafe is a spacious indoor play center located in the Santee area of San Diego, catering to kids from babies up to about age 12. I first heard about it toward the end of last summer, just about the time of the arrival of our third baby. It sounded fun, and as a surprise, I finally got the kids there, and they really had a blast!

Active Playtime at Jungle Gym & Cafe!

Jungle GymThey have a lot of things to get the kids moving, including really fun rideable animals known as Safari Cycles, such as the zebra our daughter is pictured riding here. The thing I loved about the Safari Cycles is that you actually have to put some work into having them move. The kids were getting a good amount of exercise getting the animals to roll. Adults can even ride the large Safari Cycles as well!

Aside from the cool Safari Cycles, they also have large inflatable jumpers, a really cool play jet that the kids can climb in and slide out, hammock swings, a large gymnasium with a basketball hoop, balls, and lots of things to get the kids moving, an air hockey table, Sumo Wrestlers suits, sit-on scooters, and more. The kids got a lot of exercise and enjoyed each and every moment of it!

Baby Friendly!

Jungle Gym & CafeNow that we have a baby again, I’m always looking for places that accommodate babies as well as bigger kids. The main play area at Jungle Gym & Cafe has a lot of things to cater toward babies including a baby swing, bouncy seat, and an exersaucer. So great to give them parents a free hand, and have the babies there enjoy themselves as well!

The facility had multiple changing tables, which I really appreciate, having the need for one. The cafe had plenty of clean high chairs as well. I did not notice any play toys that appeared to be a risk for choking either.

Aside from the items catering to the littlest of littles in the main play area, Jungle Gym & Cafe has a separate play room just for kids age 0-3. Inside this designated room are books, a toddler tree house, a tiny little one-tot trampoline, and more. I really appreciate them having this special play space!

Other Things I Loved

Jungle Gym & Cafe• Free Wifi
• Free electric foot massagers for the adults.
• Large variety of food and beverages at the Cafe.
• Comfortable seating throughout the play center.
• Tables, chairs, and highchairs in the Cafe area.
• Multiple restrooms within the play center.
• The play center was clean, and all the play items appeared to be in good working order.
• Conveniently located right off the freeway with visible signage and parking right in front.
• You may bring food and beverages from home (but no restaurant food).

More Things They Offer

Aside from Open Play, Jungle Gym & Cafe also offers adult fitness classes with childcare included during the classes, birthday parties, classes for kids, Parent’s Night Out, and more.

What To Know Before You Go

Jungle Gym & Cafe is a socks-only environment. Adults and kids must leave their shoes in the cubbies when they enter, and wear socks throughout the establishment. If you forget to bring socks, you may purchase some at entry.

We spent three hours playing at Jungle Gym & Cafe on our visit, and had we arrived earlier, the kids would have happily played even longer! The only reason we left when we did was because it was closing time. I suggest at least three hours for your initial visit as well.

Click HERE for more information about Jungle Gym and Cafe. As stated above, the kids had a really fun time. We’ll likely go back in the future for more active fun. Perhaps we’ll see you there!

Hands-On Fun and Learning For Kids at Build It Workshops!

::UPDATE November 1, 2013 – We are very sad to report that Build It Workshops is now CLOSED for business.::

build_itLiving in Southern California, we’re very lucky to have an abundance of fun and educational places to take kids. From children’s museums, to parks, to indoor play spaces, there are plenty of options. When I heard about a new place called Build It Workshops, located in Carlsbad, it sounded interesting, so I had to investigate!

What Is Build It!?
Build It, “The Kid Workshop”, is specifically geared towards creative hands-on learning. Their premise is based on using science, technology, engineering, and math, in a fun environment. Instead of leading the kids with building instructions, the employees allow them to use their minds creatively, building however they wish. They are officially listed as a “Makerspace”, where as their website states “is a facility where creativity comes together.”

build_itAt the time we visited we paid $12 for the 1st child, $10 for the second for Open Build time. I didn’t pay anything for the baby & I, as non-walkers, plus up to 2 adults per child are admitted for free. Be sure to either call or check their website for current pricing. Also, NO adult is admitted without a child, and NO children may be dropped off and left without a parent or guardian. It is not a child care or daycare center.

Inside you’ll find lots of kid-size tables (think train table style) full of different things wooden planks, castle building blocks, and so much more. I counted 15 tables full of different building pieces, PLUS 5 more just full LEGO! Loads of different options for building, and I’m told that they change it up periodically, and trade out certain pieces for others from time to time.

daily_buildAs well as the tables full of building pieces, general admission also includes building and decorating a cardboard box or similar item. They also offer a “Daily Build”, which is an additional $3-$15, depending upon the item being built. When we visited the Daily Build items were a “Brushbot” and “Scibblebot”, and were reasonably priced as extra items. Our 5 year old son made a “Scribblebot”, which was essentially a little robot with ink markers as legs. Super cool!

As well as the tables full of building pieces you’ll find a long track which the kids can race their LEGO or other vehicles that they put together in the Workshop. Our kids LOVED this, and spent a fair amount of time racing against each other. They even took a video, where they placed my camera on the vehicle and raced it down the track. This was hilarious to them!

build_itBuild It is geared toward kids age 3+ to 12 years of age. I can see why the minimum suggested age is at least 3, as some of the building pieces as smaller, and both safer and more appropriate for children of that age. Beware that even though your child may be below age 3, you will still pay an entry fee for them once they walk.

The Environment
When we arrived, the kids and I were each told the rules prior to entering the building area. No running, no blocks in your mouth, no throwing, no sick kids, clean up after yourselves, etc… I loved that they were so good at showing each of us the rules, which were mounted on the wall at entry. Safety is their top priority, and make they make it clear that they are not a playground.

There are seats available for people to sit in and relax, as well as counter space for using a laptop, tablet, or reading. They offer free WIFi, and have cubbies for you to place personal items. I loved the music they were playing, which included the likes of Dave Matthews Band, Jack Johnson, and Cold Play, and found it to be a very relaxing and comfortable environment. The Workshop was very clean and organized when we visited as well.

Build It is a nut-free facility, and does not allow outside food inside the facility. They are more than happy for you to enjoy outside food just outside the entrance, at one of their tables. They sell some packaged snacks and beverages at reasonable prices, which you may enjoy inside (or out).

If your kids have an interest in LEGO Robotics or Scratch Programming they might be interested in the classes offered at the Workshop. The classes are an additional fee, and are taught over several sessions. They sound both fun and educational!

build_itBirthday Parties
Build It offer scheduled birthday parties. They do not allow do-it-yourself birthday parties during open build hours. Be sure to call and check if they have any scheduled parties at the time you wish to visit, as they may be closed to accommodate a party.

Junior Builder Club
If you find you love it, Build It you might want to have your child become a Junior Builder Club member. Membership includes free general entry, free Daily Builds, discounts on classes, and other members-only perks. Ask them about it, or check their website for details. (Be sure to ask abut details, as the membership details could change.)

The Employees
I spoke with Rudy, the owner for quite a long time when we visited. He’s a father of two himself, and was very friendly and good with the kids that I noticed him interacting with while we were there. His employee, Jeremy, was also very good with the kids, and personable as well. Both commute quite a distance to and from the Workshop, and seem to both love and take pride in what they do!

All in all we loved Build It! Our daughter had just as much fun as our son, and I think many of her girl friends would love it as well. I’m sure we’ll be back again, and again. You can find Build It Workshops online at this LINK. Perhaps we’ll see you there!


PlayWerx is a drop-in indoor play place for kids, located in the Carlsbad area of San Diego, California. They have a huge play structure which includes a ball pit, slides, swings, and lots of opportunities for jumping and climbing. The structure also has a toddler area designated for little ones up to 24 months. In addition to the play area, they also have a cafe with free WiFi, and lots of children’s books, as well as some magazines for the adults to enjoy.

Socks are required, so be sure to bring them along. Check the link to their website for more info. Perhaps we’ll see you there!

Website: PlayWerx
Twitter: @Playwerx
Facebook: Playwerx on Facebook

Get a FREE full-color guidebook with the purchase of a Go City Card or Explorer Pass

Pump It Up

Pump It Up is an indoor “inflatable play place” known for kids parties, but also available for pop-in play time. They have multiple locations in San Diego including Sorrento Valley, Poway, Chula Vista, & San Marcos. Perhaps we’ll see you there!

Pump It Up ~ Sorrento Valley
Pump It Up ~ Chula Vista
Pump It Up ~ San Marcos
Pump It Up ~ Poway

Twitter: @PumpItUpParty