Until you have kids you never truly appreciate the ‘art’ of a successful play area/play structure. I’m talking about those multi-level primary coloured fortresses made out of plastic and netting and ropes and slides and giant tubes and ball pits. Pre-kids, you walk right by them – usually with your fingers deep in your ears but once you become a parent, you immediately gravitate towards these time and energy burners. Finding the right one for your child is a delicate equation; picking one too small will result in a single, two minute lap followed by immediate boredom. One too large guarantees a sea of children, MIA parents and multiple high speed child cranial collisions.
To be fair, I also see the other side of the coin. The whole ‘build it and they will come’ mantra where, in the big picture, the overall design is unimportant- kids will play on it regardless…and they will…and they do. But as parents, we’re immediately on the lookout for heart rate spiking where’s my kid? blind spots, questionable repair jobs and overall cleanliness.
Three years ago CJ’s Climb and Play opened their doors and while I wouldn’t say they ‘changed the game’ as much as they perfected it. What makes CJ’s superior to most other play structures? One word: pre-production. The family behind CJ’s didn’t slap this together overnight and it’s evident: they took their time and did a mind boggling amount of research before designing their play structure. I’m talking got-in-their-car-and-toured-North-America-stopping-at-all-the-play-structures research before contracting a Canadian company to construct it. Gone are all the usual headaches: it’s long instead of boxy with a giant TV above the main area streaming multiple security cameras so you easily monitor every inch. Every table and seat on both levels face the structure so parents have to be next-level disengaged to ignore their offspring. I’m talking like, both earphones in, head down, buried deeeeep in their phone disengaged.
I was also impressed with the overall complete cleanliness. I’m a bit of an admitted germ-a-phobe and even after three years of constant operation, everything looks brand new. The food is great with lots of healthy options and they pride themselves on only being closed on Christmas Day. The reasons behind staying open 364 days a year aren’t made out of greed- the whole idea of CJ’s was sculpted by the owner’s frustration over the lack of family activities during holidays. They also joke about Friday nights being a hopping time for parents who congregate there while the kids play.
Admission is free until the little ones can walk and one of CJ’s biggest strengths are the separate ‘baby play areas’ – one sectioned off in the main structure and a second quieter one upstairs on the second floor.
I know it seems impossible, but CJ’s has managed to remove the utter chaos from the equation, so relax, enjoy your coffee and observe as your children maneuver through giant plastic tubes, rope nets and slides and emerge clean and tear-free.
CJ’s Climb and Play Contact Info:
Where: Bay 4 – 619 South Railway St. W. Warman
Telephone: (306) 931-PLAY (7529)