I was pretty skeptical about Playdate PDX the first time I took my kiddos there. I much prefer being outside, roaming free in the open, as opposed to an indoor play park, packed full of screaming kiddos. I also balked at the price, especially for what I saw as a glorified McDonald’s playplace. I mean, I can take my kids to play there for the price of a medium fry. But I was wrong. So very, very wrong.
Playdate PDX looks tiny, from the outside. And, on a crowded day, it even feels kind of tiny and cramped on the inside. But, there were a few redeeming qualities of this place that finally won me over. Let me highlight those point for anyone who has yet to step foot in this wonderful oasis of kiddy fun.
- It’s always open, rain or shine. Can’t go to the park? Fine. Playdate PDX it is.
- The kids eyes, upon seeing this colorful monstrosity for the first time, is just magical. Have your camera ready, cuz this will probably be the last time you see them as anything but a blur of motion for the next few hours.
- Adults can play too. SWEET. Seriously, don’t you sometimes miss climbing around that smelly McPlayplace, with all those tunnels and ball pits and windows to wave incessantly at your mom and dad?
- Air cannons. You can shoot foam balls at people. At your own kids, even. SCORE.
- Their slide is literally the fastest, craziest, most adrenaline inducing slide I have EVER been on. Just watch out for the bump at the bottom, it’s a pain in the butt. Seriously.
- THEY SERVE ALCOHOL. No, I am not messing with you. Wine and beer, people. It’s liquid sanity in these kinds of places. These people are geniuses.
One thing that I always appreciate is the willingness of establishments to allow outside food or drink. Playdate PDX doesn’t really allow this, but to make up for , they do serve some pretty tasty and health-conscious choices for snacks, like hummus and veggies, and everything from paninis to pizza to sweet potato or green bean fries. Not to mention coffee from Stumptown Coffee and and baked goods from Gabriels’ Bakery.
They even have a dollar deal menu with small snacky items like GoGurt, Hardboiled Egg , Mozzarella String Cheese , Banana, Orange , Apple Sauce , Apples Slices , Baby Carrots , Slices of Cucumbers, and Snap Peas.
I already mentioned that I thought the admission was kinda spendy. But after spending an entire afternoon there, and leaving with happily exhausted kids, I was a bit less put off by all the mula I had forked over. For all the fun and running they had, and the actual kicking back I got to do, it was well worth the cost. I even made a couple of mom friends while hanging out on the couch watching our kids run around like monkeys!
Plus, there was wine.
Admission: Toddlers 3 and under are $5 on Saturday and Sunday, and also on school holidays, $4 all other days. All other ages ( kids) are $10 sat/sun/school holidays, and $8 all other days. I didn’t have to pay to play on the jungle gym with the kiddos, so that was great.
Hours are 9-8 Sunday- Thursday, 9-9 Friday and Saturday
Fun For Pennies Tips:
- Wild Wednesdays offer free admission for each child bearing 2 cans of food to donate to the food bank.
- Make sure to wear or bring socks! Kids will not be allowed to play without them. They can be purchased at the counter, though, if you do forget.
- Fridays feature a complimentary performance/reading by the Dragon Theater Puppets. These will start at 6:30 p.m.
* Featured photo is courtesy of Playdate PDX.
NEXT UP: Outdoor festivals and events!