By this time of year, you’ve probably made the rounds through your usual indoor play space circuit at least a dozen times. But, you also know that you’ve got a few more weeks, err months, to go before you can fully commit to that much-anticipated alfresco play. Luckily, there is a new play space in town where your petite posse can unleash their unending energy and their unbeatable imaginations. Welcome HECA Play Lab. Read on for the scoop!
What’s the Story?
Opened in January, HECA Play Lab, located in the heart of Ballard, was started by two parents seeking out an interactive place for their littlest one to play while their older kiddo was at school. In their search, they decided to make their own…and open it up to the community. And just like that, HECA Play Lab was born! The cozy building that houses HECA used to be a computer repair shop, but has now been converted to accommodate the wild antics of your little rascals.
Let Little Imaginations Run Wild
In the back room, you’ll find costumes for your wee Paw Patrol enthusiasts, petite princesses, and diminutive Disney devotees, as well as instruments for your mini Mozarts (earplugs for parents not included). This room can also be rented on the weekends for parties if you are looking for a place for the birthday boy or girl in your life.
Get the Wiggles Out
In the front room, there’s a cute wooden play structure (with a little pulley system the kiddos seem to gravitate towards) perfect for the tiny ones with ants in their pants. Towards the back, there is an area with a play kitchen, an ice cream stand and a grocery store for future foodies, as well as a train table. Psst…there is also a comfy couch in this room for parents to relax…well, for as long as their teeny ones will allow. And in the corner, sits a tiny reading nook with a small selection of books in case you have a little snuggler on your hands.
Stuff Your Bag with Socks & Snacks
Feel free to bring in your diaper bags (the changing table is in the back!) and take advantage of the cubby-hole storage area and coat hooks to store your gear. Use the cubbies for shoes, but keep your kids’ little piggies in their socks for play. If you find out, oops, you are sans socks when you arrive, no worries! HECA Play Lab has socks for purchase. Snacks are also welcome in the kid-sized snack table area, just keep them tree-nut and legume free. And if your mini-me eats you out of house and home, there are small snacks (think: water, popcorn, applesauce packets) for sale just in case.
Additional Things to Consider
Check out HECA Play Lab’s website for upcoming events, as they do have extra activities planned out over the next few months (think: Easter egg hunts, date nights, Mother’s Day art workshops). Interested in immersing your young one into Mandarin, music or yoga? Check out their events calendar for when to hit up these events, too.
Planning a Birthday Bash?
If you’re looking for a space to house your birthday boy or girl and all of his or her preschool buddies, HECA Play Lab is the perfect venue for birthday celebrations, private events and other social gatherings (PEPS party, anyone?). Party packages include total exclusive play lab access for up to 40 people and basic event set up (think: table cloths, plates, cups and flatware). A two-hour rental is $200; four-hour rental is $275.
Parking Your Rig
Parking can be a bit tricky since HECA is located right off a busy Ballard drag. But during the day, you should be able to find street parking on either side of the street. If you find a spot for your kid-hauler across the street from HECA, you’ll want to walk a little bit to cross at the cross walk. But you might get lucky and find a spot right in front of the building. If so, go you!
HECA Play Lab
7033 15th Ave. N.W., Unit E
Seattle, Wa 98117
Hours: Tues.-Fri., 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Admission: $10.50 for first kid (including 2 adult companions); $7 for each additional kid; $5 for third adult
Near Ballard or planning to head that way soon? Interested in checking out HECA Play Lab? Tell us about your adventures in the comments below.
—Alaina Weimer (all photos courtesy of the writer)