A new play space opening in a Brooklyn neighborhood — while always welcome — isn’t that surprising. But a fresh place to bring the kids in Bayside, Queens? Wow! We headed over to the recently-opened Good Day Play Café to check out the kid-friendly scene and grub.

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photo: Good Day Play Cafe

It’s a Good Day to Play! 
Best friends Jesica Chang and Sarah Park—along with their husbands Jisoo and Hyan Dong—recently opened Good Day Play Café in the far east Queens neighborhood of Bayside. It’s an indoor play space for children and toddlers influenced by how they do it in Korea, along with a (mostly) organic café and juice bar where parents can mingle while their kids frolic nearby.

The vibe inside is mellow and laid-back, and the warm and inviting space is very clean, open and airy with high ceilings. Upon entering the facility, parents sign a safety waiver for their children—standard protocol at kid’s spaces—and kids, and well as mom or dad, must wear socks while inside the play section. (They do sell some cute socks for both adults and children, though, if you arrive sans socks.)

The approximately 1,500-square-foot space is “split”; one side is filled by the café, an area with sturdy wooden tables and long counter tops, while the play space occupies the other. It’s a bit of a genius setup, and whether you sit at a table or a counter, it’s easy to spot your child inside the play section.

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photo: Rachel Sokol

A Chill Place For Kids — and Parents, Too
Chang noticed how popular these types of cafes were in Korea, and that influence her design choices, such as the use of wood throughout the space, and the selection of soft, muted tones — as opposed to bright primary colors— in the play areas.

“We of course, created this place for kids, but we also designed it with the parents in mind,” explains Chang. “Many parents tell us coming here is playtime for them as well. They can catch up with friends casually without it being way too loud or stimulating inside.”

The café menu includes healthy eats such as Horizon milk, acai and green bowls, mini sandwiches, fresh juice, fruit salad, granola bars, smoothies, fruit pouches for babies, and more. For morning or late-afternoon pick-me-ups, they also sell Stumptown coffee and various teas.

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photo: Good Day Play Cafe

A Full Menu of Play
Whatever your kid’s speed, if they’re eight months to six years of age (the recommended age range at Good Day Play Cafe) they’ll find something here. Kids can choose from a plethora of sturdy toys such as trucks, stacking rings, and cash registers — which are almost always from “green” companies — as well as more physical diversions such as a ball pit, rock climbing wall, LEGO table and a slide.

Kids will also love the dress-up section, construction table, mini kitchen with pretend foods, dollhouse, train table, blocks, mini cars the kids can “ride,” — and for some mellow time, there’s even a cozy book nook. “We included toys and activities my own young son enjoys,” says Park.

photo: Rachel Sokol

Hinoki Wood Cube Pit: You Won’t Find This Hardly Anywhere
One popular and unique feature of this play space is the facility’s Hinoki cypress wood cube pit, which is popular in Japan and South Korea. The cubes at Good Day Play Café  — made from soft wood and extremely gentle to the touch — were indeed shipped from South Korea, so they’re authentic.

A sign inside the Hinoki cypress wood cube pit explains the cubes contain natural compounds that kill microorganisms, and have a positive effect on one’s—yes, even little one’s—body, mind, and soul. They’re calming, and feel nice to touch, but can be easily swallowed, so little ones should be watch while soaking up good vibes. “The Hinoki cypress wood cube pit is like a sand box but much cleaner,” says Chang.

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photo: Good Day Play Cafe

Come Play!
Open play is every day from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; the facility is closed on Sundays. They do generally host private birthday parties on Saturdays, but if there are no parties that date, there will be open play times.

Check the business’s official Facebook page and web site for up to date info on hours and availability.  Although it is an open play space, it is not drop-off, so an adult must be present with child at all times.  Eventually, the owners will have special events, such as story time, which will be posted on social media.

Play Rates
Open play pricing is per child; parents are free and sibling discounts are available. Currently, it’s $9 for one hour per child Mon-Thurs; $10 on Fridays and Saturdays; $14 for two hours Mon-Thurs and $15 Fridays and Saturdays; and three hours or more is $19 an hour during the week; $20 on Fridays and Saturdays.

Frequent guests can become a member of Good Day Play Café; prices range from number of children you’ll be bringing to how many months you’d like to register for.

Tip: Unless you happen to live nearby, you will need a car to travel here, as there’s no public transportation in the vicinity. Also good to know: there’s a large bathroom on-site with a changing table, and a smaller bathroom in the play section.

Good Day Play Cafe
208-03 35th Ave.
Bayside, Queens
929-381-1092
online: gooddayplaycafe.com

Is there a new play space in town we should know about? Share in the comments below! 

— Rachel Sokol