PLEASE NOTE: This post was written in 2013, and while it should still give you a good overview of the experience, it is also possible that it may contain some outdated information. Please check their website for the most current information, especially about things like hours and pricing. If you notice something in this post that needs to be updated, please feel free to leave a comment with the updated information, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to make the updates. Hey, it takes a village, right? 🙂
As I was putting together my post from last week about Things to Do Over Winter Break and going through the list of Places We’ve Been, I was reminded of a post that Shawna wrote about the play area in the McDonald’s on her side of town (Glastonbury).
I knew there was a McDonald’s in the Bishops Corner area of West Hartford and I heard they had a play area, but I hadn’t seen it first-hand.
I waited until my husband had a morning home and convinced him to come with me (Seriously I don’t think it is feasible to watch three children and take blog post pictures. Believe me I’ve tried). I bribed him with the promise of a Newman’s Own coffee and a breakfast sandwich (yes, he’s easy).
So we packed up the kids and headed over for a visit to the golden arches.
The West Hartford McDonald’s is located in the same shopping center as Staples and Panera Bread, right across the street from the Big Y.
You don’t notice the McDonald’s right away because it doesn’t have its normal look and feel. I’m assuming they were required to blend in with the shopping center style.
The other unusual thing about this restaurant is that it does not have a drive-thru. Apparently there is some type of ordinance in West Hartford that restricts such a thing.
Before I had three kids under the age of 3, I didn’t think twice about the lack of drive-thru restaurants. Now, I would give anything for one in my area. It is mostly just a need for coffee. I need a LOT of coffee to keep this show moving but that need does not override the ridiculous amount of work it takes to get three little ones in and out of anywhere.
Anyways. Off this tangent. Back to my post.
We randomly parked behind the restaurant, but it ended up being perfect. We unloaded the kids and could enter through the back door.
The parking lot wasn’t too bad that morning, but it can get pretty crowded around meal time.
Right inside is the play area. The exciting thing for me was that the area was completely enclosed and had its own eating space (yes, this was exciting to me).
Here is a picture of the area from right inside the door. There is an eating area in the back (with free WiFi) and a door out to the food counter.
Here is a view from the other side.
As you can see there are doors on each side. I could push the doors open, but they seemed to be too heavy for my kids to open themselves. – – – Yay! They are trapped (insert evil laugh here).
Here is a picture of the full playplace. It is basically one long tube that the kids climb through.
Seems simple enough, right?
Here are some more pictures.
There is a little sitting area in the middle of the McDonald’s playplace and then a section of tables right next to it. They also have high chairs conveniently located in that area.
Sparkles and Bruiser seemed anxious to play so we got settled and they took off their shoes and placed them in the little cubby.
The kids do need to wear socks for the play area. I don’t know if that is a good or bad thing for the static electricity situation, but it is part of the play area rules.
They were ready to go and I naively thought, “Alright kids, mommy is going to go get some food, daddy is going to read the paper and you go play. Ready, set, go . . .”
They headed into the tunnel, but, unfortunately, they didn’t go far.
Apparently these two-year-olds were a bit scared of the ole’ playplace. I volunteered their Dad to go with them (I mean you gotta work for that breakfast sandwich, right?)
Finally they were headed through the tunnel with their Dad bringing up the rear. They would stop at the viewing areas to give me a wave.
They made it all the way through and finished off their run with a ride on the slide.
While they did a couple of additional loops, Sweetheart and I went to get some grub.
And check out the bathroom situation (of course). Fortunately there are baby changing stations in both the men’s and women’s restrooms.
I also took a quick picture of the front entrance. It is a double door entry. A great way to enter when you have a few little ones in tow — less chance for escape. If you are using a stroller, though, I would suggest the back entrance because it has only one door.
Once back inside the play area, my husband convinced me that I needed to go through the tunnel with the kids. He said it would be an important element for the blog post. Whatever. I did it.
Ouch! It hurts climbing through a tunnel built for little people. Plus, I will tell you I was a bit claustrophobic. I did it though and made it out without any major issues. Here are a few pictures from my visit inside.
Awe. But look what greeted me as I made my way down the slide. That is worth it 🙂
Oh, and if you are curious as to the cleanliness of the playplace, it seemed very clean to me. While we were there, a person from the restaurant asked if the kids could not crawl through the tunnel for about 20 minutes while he cleaned it. I literally watched this person climb through the entire playscape and clean it from start to finish. He even came backwards down the slide cleaning it the whole way. Seriously, this place was clean.
So, after my husband crawled through a few times with the kids and then I crawled through with them once (thankfully it was only once), my two-year-olds were interested in going through by themselves. Finally, my husband and I could sit down and just keep an eye on the kids as they played.
We even made a little time for Sweetheart to visit with Ronald McDonald himself.
Now that the twins have completed their McDonald’s Playplace training course, I am really hoping the next time we go they can play without any help from the adults. I have a feeling the next time I may not have the luxury of going with my husband and I don’t think I will make it through that tunnel with a 6 month old attached to me!
It is so nice to know that there is an indoor play area that I can take the kids pretty much any time of the day!
2534 Albany Ave
West Hartford CT 06117
Phone: (860) 236-8580
Enter your starting address:
Hours & Admission:
- The Playplace is open from 9am – 9pm daily.
- Admission is FREE, though I’m sure they would like for your to purchase some food products during your visit.
Tips & Things to Bring:
- Bring socks. The kiddos will need to be wearing socks to use the Playplace.
- If you have little ones, be prepared that you may have to crawl through the tunnels with them for a few times until they are comfortable.
- You can easily get a stroller into the play area.
- I would say that the age range would be 2 and up for using the Playplace. If you have younger kids, they do have plenty of space where they can play while the older ones climb.
- Both the men’s and women’s restrooms had diaper changing tables.
- Bring money so you can purchase some food and drinks while you are there. They take both cash and credit cards.
- If you are feeling brave, you can bring your laptop and catch up on a few things while the kids play. Free wifi for customers.
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