There’s another new play space for families in Long Island City; a popular pocket of Queens just one stop away from Manhattan via the 7 train that’s attracting many young families. The all-new Mini Land Play is a cute indoor playground for kids 5 and under. We explored everything it has to offer and were quite pleased with our visit. Mini Land Play is neat, clean, cozy…and has Cookie Monster! (Huh? You’ll see…) Read on to learn more about this charming new hotspot.

Come Play in LIC!
Mini Land Play was founded by Long Island City mom Shu Yeh; she wanted a local, indoor place for her daughters to run around during inclement weather, and decided her area needed an indoor playground.

She lucked out and found a 3,000 sq ft space in a newly renovated building just off a main street. Shu’s older child came up with the name because one day she blocked an area for herself at an outdoor park and called it, “Mini Land.” (Also named due to the fact it’s an indoor space for “mini” people–kids–ages 0-5.)

Originally from Taiwan, Yeh also lived in Japan for many years; thus, she designed Mini Land Play around similar venues she had seen in Asia. At Mini Land, the inside colors are pastel shades of mostly blues, greens, and yellows, and it doesn’t feel overwhelming at all when you first walk in. Strollers are parked in the main entrance, and shoes are stored in cubbies. (Naturally, it’s sock-only inside the play area.) Really, this play space is best described as “whimsical.”

 

Moveable machines
There are 4 large, extremely soft, moving structures in the front part of the venue; three to the left of the open loft; and one to the right. They’re very padded and something we’ve never seen before at any NYC play area. We’ll do our best to describe them–you have to see them for yourself to best  understand.

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The first rotating structure is a white padded circle that spins; and in the center is a colorful tower. It reminded me of one of those Sit-N-Spin toys from the 80s, but much larger and softer, and you don’t move it yourself.

The second structure has soft balls hanging off of (cushioned) poles that move around, so you can hug one of these poles as the structure itself slowly turns, or you can crawl around the ball poles. Again, it’s all very soft and padded.

The third moveable structure is a dolphin carousel, super plush. Kids ride one of three colorful dolphins in a circle. Nothing moves too fast, so kids won’t feel overwhelmed or scared.

To the left of the dolphin structure is a see-saw (remember those?!) boat that can hold about 4 people; two adults; two kids; and it slowly rocks back and forth. This is pretty much the only moveable structure that adults are allowed on, although I sat on the first structure for a few seconds to help my daughter climb on it.

Climbing area…and more
In the back, behind the dolphins, is a large climbing structure which has, “everything but the kitchen sink,” as the expression goes. This structure has mazes kids can climb through, a little swing, a trampoline on Tier 2…and next to the trampoline…a room where balloons of brilliant colors blow all around. This was, hands-down, my 4-year-old’s favorite part of the play space.

In the very back of Mini Land, right next to the area with the cool balloons, is a clear “bubble slide” that is quite sturdy, and looks like it’s made of plastic. It reminded me of those inflatable chairs dorm rooms had in the 90s, but quadruple the size.

 

Have a Ball (Pit)
At the bottom of the whole climbing structure is a large, wide ball pit, only a few inches high, with an apparatus that blows ball pit balls into the air. There are also smaller, traditional slides that carry you right into the ball pit. As indicated by a sign next to the ball pit, the balls are cleaned frequently; cleanliness at Mini Play Land is of utmost importance, for obvious reasons.

Have a Bash
At Mini Land, there’s a private party room located in the basement, and it should be ready this summer or fall, as it’s currently under construction. Yeh says before the party room finishes, Mini Land Play is open for Private Party/Event booking, and minimum booking for 2 hours is $500/hour for the entire 1st Floor play area. They’ll shut down the venue from public for private event use only.

For parties, Mini Land will not provide food/ drinks, so guests must bring their own. Also, Mini Land does NOT sell food or drinks, but thankfully there are some yummy restaurants nearby, such as Bareburger, Slice, Dorian’s Cafe, and Casa Enrique, right next door.

Visitors are encouraged to check out Mini Land’s social media page to learn about special events; recently Cookie Monster stopped by the place and even went down the clear slide with some kids.

At press time, nothing has been set in stone, but “guests,” such as Cookie Monster, Elmo, and Peppa Pig will stop by Mini Land hopefully once a week, probably on Thursdays. Again, check the social media pages for more info on special guests, events, and closures.

Pricing and times
All play is drop-in, so come on by and play whenever the mood strikes. Mini Land Play‘s hours are 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. daily, unless there’s a private party. These are the current fees: $12 weekdays – unlimited play whole day (1 Adult + 1 Child); $15 weekends & Holidays – 2 Hours limited play (1 Adult + 1 Child), $5 / Extra Child, $2 / Extra Adult. There’s also a “Fun Ticket Package,” option: $10/ticket with minimum 10 tickets of purchase. (Six months valid time starting the purchased date of ticket.) Kids 5 months and younger are free.

Mini Land Play is a happy play space for local kids, and proves that once again, while Manhattan may be…well…Manhattan, Queens is starting to rival the Big Apple when it comes to kiddie entertainment.

Worth a Trip!
It’s a play space definitely worth checking out, even if you are coming from Manhattan or Long Island, and a great addition to Queens, especially on a rainy day or after pre-K or Kindergarten. Even neighbor Playday, a mecca for super creative arts classes, is fond of Mini Land–they told us so!

As kids frolic, familiar music, such as Disney songs, play, and it’s not too loud. And, you get a balloon when you leave!

For those with younger kids, there’s a little nook on-site with two changing tables; as well as a large bathroom. Enjoy your visit, and don’t forget your socks!

Please note: Mini Land is not a drop-off venue; all kids must be accompanied by an adult.

5-28 49th Ave
Long Island City, Queens
929-208-2886
Online: facebook.com/minilandplay

 

What’s your favorite Queens play space? Tell us in the comments!

Rachel Sokol

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