photo by Ryan Hawk

Can’t remember the last time you ate a meal out that didn’t come with crayons? Or the last movie you saw that didn’t come in a red envelope? You need a date night, and we’re here to help. Check out these local spots for drop-off date night babysitting. These places are so much fun your kids will think you’re doing it for them. You might even call it Kids’ Night Out!

Seattle Gymnastics Academy offers Parents Night Out on Saturday evenings (1st and 3rd of each month at their Ballard location, 2nd and 4th at Lake City). While you are off at the movies or at dinner your kids will be enjoying gymnastics, pizza, games, crafts and a late night movie. Not only will they feed your kids dinner and a snack, all that running around in the gym means they’ll be ready for bed as soon as – if not before – you get them home! Parents Night Out at SGA is from 6 to 10 p.m. (doors are locked at 7 so be sure to be on time) and costs $35 per child. Punch cards are available to save you some money if you plan to attend often or can be shared with other families. Open to children 5-12 who are potty trained. See their website for more information including movie and activity information.

Who knew you could do Parents Night Out at the Woodland Zoo? Held in the fabulous Zoomazium and hosted by zoo staff your kids will enjoy games, puppet shows, pizza, a movie and a live animal encounter while you enjoy a night out on the town. Parents Night Out at the Woodland Park Zoo is from 5:30 to 10 p.m. on one Friday or Saturday night each month (see website for complete schedule through  April 2011) and is for kids 4 to 11 years old (must be potty trained). Cost is $25 per child with a $5 discount for siblings.

At The Little Gym they call it like they see it—their parents night out is dubbed Parents’ Survival Night. While you are out trying to remember what it was like to get through an entire sentence without being interrupted, staff at The Little Gym (locations in Alderwood, Covington, Everett, Kent, and Seattle) are helping your child develop their confidence and imagination with an evening of games, physical activities, music and – of course – fun! Parents Survival Night at The Little Gym is from 6:30 to 10 pm on select Friday and Saturday nights and is open to kids from 3 years on up (kids must be potty trained and ages vary by location). Prices range from $21 to $25 for members and $26 to $35 for non-members with a nice discount for siblings. See the individual Little Gym websites for complete schedules, theme and activity information and to register.

Drop the kids off at Dizzy’s Bus Stop Kids Night Out in Bellevue for an evening of fun and games including time in  their tumbling room (which has a trampoline, slide, rock wall, monkey bars and more), dinner (with dessert) and, if you bring the kids’ pajamas they will even have them all pj’ed up and ready to go to bed when you get back from your evening out. Kids Night Out is held the third Saturday of the month (except in December it’s on a Sunday night) for kids 2 to 8 years old. There are two sessions each night: an early session from 5 to 8 p.m., which costs $30 for the first child and $20 per sibling and a later session from 6:00 to 10:00 pm for $40 for the first child and $25 per sibling. Reservations are required, so please call 425-564-8287 or email to reserve your spot!

Friday nights at the Museo Art Academy’s Pizza and Picasso Night include food, music and lots of opportunity for creative expression. Featuring a different artist each month, the evening begins with a pizza dinner and discussion about the featured artist’s work. The kids can then choose to draw, paint or sculpt with clay at “open studio” style workstations. Pizza and Picasso Night is open to kids ages 6 to 12 and costs $35 per child, which includes a pizza dinner and all materials. If your child brings a friend you each save $10 (does not apply to siblings, however a sibling discount of 10% is available). See their website for schedule of upcoming artists and to register.

Every Saturday night The Nest in Woodinville hosts children ages 2 to 9 for Parents Night Out. The bright, airy space has seven “Migration Stations” that children can explore, including areas for art, reading, dress-up and large motor activities like jumping and climbing. Parents Night Out activities include art projects, G-rated movies, Wii, games and snacks. The Nest is open for Parents Night Out from 6 to 10 p.m. and costs $30 for the first child and $20 for additional children. Unlike many places, they do take children who are not potty-trained.

Blossoming Buds Cottage is a flexible child-care facility in the Bryant neighborhood of Seattle. On the third Saturday of each month Blossoming Buds Cottage hosts Movie Night for the kids aka Date Night for moms and dads.  Activities include play, a G-rated movie and pizza. Blossoming Buds Cottage is open for Movie Night from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.. Cost is $40 for the first child, $20 for the second and the third child is FREE. They charge an extra $4 if your child is not potty-trained. Call 206-525-0795 for reservations. A $20 deposit is required per family.

Bainbridge Island’s Kids Discovery Museum (KiDiMu) presents Kids’ Night at the Museum on the first Saturday of each month through December. Kids will enjoy a fun-filled evening of playtime at the museum including games, projects, a movie and snacks. Kids’ Night at the Museum is appropriate for kids ages three and a half to ten years old and is from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. (early pick-up is available). Cost is $25 per child for members, $30 for non-members with $10 off for each additional sibling. Registration is required. Call 206-855-4650 for more information.

Adventure Kids Playcare is open until midnight on Friday and Saturday nights, making it a great option for its members to do impromptu drop-ins. Kids do activities and arts and crafts based on the week’s theme—recently, “Super-Secret Spy” was a big hit. There is a $40 registration fee per family, then rates for drop-in childcare are $11.50/hr for infants up to 18 months, $9 for kids over 18 months, $5 for siblings. Open until midnight Fri and Sat., open until 10 p.m. M-Th.

In Redmond, Great Play is hosting a monthly Kids’ Pajama Party, with gym time, pizza, storytelling, and movies. You can bet you’ll pick up some kids ready for a good night’s sleep! There are two different times: 5–9 p.m. or 5:30–7:30 p.m. Cost is $40 for members for the 4-hour session, $25 for the 2 hour session, and nonmembers pay $50 and $30. Additional siblings are $25 for the 4-hour session (members) or $30 (nonmembers), and $15 (members) or $20 (nonmembers).

Every fourth Friday of the month (or third, if there’s a holiday…check the website for specific dates), Moonpaper Tent hosts kids ages four and up for an evening of dress-up, pretend, and other drama-based activities. 5:30-9:30 p.m., $30.

The ultra-popular (read: currently all booked up) Kids Night Out at Roaring Mouse Creative Arts Studio in Seattle means more than a break for mom and dad—kids do enriching activities, including dramatic play, arts and crafts, and much more. Get on the mailing list to sign up for a spot on the waiting list, or for future events. Then, bring a dinner for your kid, and “dress to mess”! 4–8 p.m., $30 for the first child, $25 for siblings.

Seattle Gymnastics Academies locations in Salmon Bay/Ballard and Lake City both host Parents Night Out events, where kids burn off some energy doing gymnastics, fuel up again with pizza, engage their brains with games, then chill out with a movie until it’s time to go home and crash. Kids ages 5-12 are welcome. 6-10 p.m., $35 per child, packages available.

Kirkland’s Northwest Aerials center gives parents a break while kids bounce on a trampoline, then indulge in ice cream. Kids ages 3 and up, must be potty-trained. 6:30-10:30 p.m., $30, or $25 if paid in advance. Register online.

Many local community centers and YMCAs offer Parents Night Out on various Friday or Saturday nights throughout the year. See individual community center brochures or websites.  The following community centers are offering Parents Night Out sometime this fall:  Alki CC (West Seattle),  Bitter Lake CCLoyal Heights CC, and Miller CC (Capital Hill). The Parents Night Out program is available at the following YMCAs of Greater Seattle: Auburn, Bellevue, Bothell, (Northshore YMCA), Shoreline (Dale Turner YMCA), SeaTac (Matt Griffin YMCA) and Seattle University Family YMCA and West Seattle/Fauntleroy YMCA). Activities vary by location and costs range from $15 to $35 per child and may require membership.

—Lara Simmons