In a day and age where screens are often the main source of amusement, places like Play Street Museum set themselves apart as spaces where kids can let their imaginations run wild and simply be kids.
The interactive children’s museum franchise got its start in Texas and was purposefully designed to encourage a young child’s sense of independence, exploration and creativity.
“By narrowing the focus of our museums to the interests and imaginations of children 8 and under, young explorers will discover educational exhibits and activities in a world specifically crafted just for them,” the Play Street website explains.
That specific vision drew Nicole Simon and Kellie Geraghty to the museum. The two moms lived in Dallas before moving back to their native St. Louis and, on returning, entertained the idea of bringing the museum experience to the metro area.
“I really loved the museum while I was in Dallas,” Simon says. “It was so easy to take my daughter there and let her play.”
In May 2018, the two friends started the process to bring Play Street to the metro area by looking for a space, which proved to be tough. Rebecca Suen with Hilliker and Patricia Kueneke with Cullinan Properties helped Simon and Geraghty find the right place for the children’s museum and brought them out to see 1650 Beale St. in St. Charles. The space ended up being perfect for their vision, and Play Street’s local location is set to open Mon., March 25.
“We recommend Play Street Museum to kids ages 1 to 8,” Simon says. “Sometimes younger siblings will come in with older siblings, and vice versa. I’d say kids up to about age 12 can have fun interacting with their younger siblings.”
Each Play Street Museum location has a theme, and the local one’s is “town square.” Kids can play with little houses, a fire station, a grocery store, a doctor’s office and a table full of crafts. They also can enjoy a giant Lite-Brite built into the wall.
“The museum is perfect for independent-type play,” Simon says. “The kids are learning as they play.”
Because this is the first Play Street location outside of Dallas, Simon and Geraghty have spent much of the past year seeking the help of other franchise owners.
“The franchise owners have been so helpful in guiding us along the way,” Simon says.
The duo even recently returned to Dallas to “learn the day-to-day” operations of the museum, making sure they’re ready to hit the ground running on opening day.
“Once we open, we hope to be able to get the word out to the St. Louis and St. Charles communities,” Simon says. She’s excited about the opportunities the museum will bring to local kids and their families and will give them a chance to let their imaginations run wild in a safe space.
Visitors will be able to bring their kids to open-play hours, which are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday. Reserved open-play days are hosted on the third Sunday of the month, with more time slots to be available on the weekends in the future. Along with hosting special weekend events, Play Street is available for birthday party rentals, where families can pick a theme and reserve the space for 1½-hour time slots. Admission to the museum is $11.50 plus tax for children ages 1 through 8. Children younger or older are free if accompanied by a paying sibling.
“Play Street is important because it allows the child to be able to play and explore in a safe environment, so you don’t have to stay next to them the whole time – it gives them independence,” Simon says. “For parents, it’s nice to sit back and watch their children play, or they can play along. It’s a relaxing environment for both.”
Geraghty echoes Simon’s sentiments, noting how families can use the museum to return to simpler times: “It gives kids the chance to break away from screens and use imagination to go back to basic pretend play. They work with their imagination and unplug like we did when we were kids.”
This story was originally published at laduenews.com. Read it on LN’s website here.