Indoor Play – the Good, Bad & Sad

Last week I read that Kid Ventures is now charging parents $5 to accompany their kiddos to the indoor play land. The mommy forums are blowing up with complaints, and many are vowing to give their business to the competition; FUNbelievable, Playtown, Playwerx and Gymboree.

What was Kid Ventures’ motivation for adding a charge for parents? We asked owner Darren Solomon who shared the following:

photo credit Kid Ventures

photo credit Kid Ventures

“We believe strongly that a day at Kid Ventures is a great value. In needing to do a price increase, which we have not done in years, while all of our costs have increased every year (rent, labor, utilities, supplies etc) we felt that adding a nominal adult fee would be a good way to keep up with the rising costs while minimizing the impact on our loyal customers for the following reasons:

**since military and seniors do not pay the adult fee, they still get to benefit from the same affordable pricing where as if we raised the child fee or went to an hourly pricing model like many places, it would be a lot more costly to everyone

**we did a lot of research in the market around Southern California and did see that it was very common for places to charge an adult admission so we felt that adding a small fee for adults was in line with this.
**we have great alternatives for families who want to come to Kid Ventures and save including our membership and multi-visit punch card, which include adults at no extra fee. We don’t ask for any long term commitment (membership is month to month and the multi-visit card never expires which is a unique benefit when you compare with many other places). 

**lastly, our day admission is for the entire day for kids and adults and we offer enrichment activities every half hour, in and out privileges at no extra charge and also a great, safe, clean and healthy environment that is designed with both children and adults in mind. We feel that Kid Ventures offers a lot more than just fun…we offer learning, enrichment, structured and unstructured activities and social connection. We hope that our KV families agree and of course we are always open to suggestions and feedback as ultimately we are hear for the customer and want to be around to serve families in San Diego for a very long time.


Moms of 2014 Babies at Gymboree

Since starting the Mom’s Guide we’ve seen numerous indoor play spots close down including two Java Mama coffee shops, two My Kids’ Clubhouse locations, two Kidville gyms, several JW Tumbles, the Royal Fairytale, Pump it Up Mira Mesa, Bears, Buddies & Toys, the Chula Vista Gymboree, My Gym and a few others that didn’t stay open long enough for us to remember their names. All of these places were reasonably priced and fun, but ever-increasing rents and the down economy undoubtedly made it hard for those small businesses to stay afloat.


Mom’s Guide co-owner, Chelsea, and friends at Playtown

So what’s the best way to enjoy some indoor fun without breaking the bank? Here are our tips . . .

1. When it’s a place you and your child love, purchase the membership. Memberships make multiple visits very affordable. Plus, if you have to leave due to crankiness, nap time or some other reason, you never feel like you didn’t get your money’s worth!

2. Check Groupon, Living Social, SkooltopiaCircle Buzz and other deal sites before visiting an indoor play space to see if they are running a promotion.

3. Get your friends together and enjoy a group rate. If you don’t see a group rate listed on the company’s website, simply call and ask for one. You’ll be surprised how often you can snag a good deal!

4. Literally, “check out” a circulating family membership from your local library to some of San Diego’s best indoor play spaces including The New Children’s Museum, the RH Fleet Science Center (Kid City is perfect for the under 5 set) and the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum. The libraries of the City of San Diego, the County of San Diego and the City of Escondido each participate.


Perhaps most importantly, be sure to give your business to the companies you would like to see stay open. Many of them are owned by parents like us who appreciate your patronage.



One thought on “Indoor Play – the Good, Bad & Sad

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this. We greatly appreciate all the support and also the great suggestions you included on how best to save on some of the high quality family offerings in San Diego.

    Darren Solomon
    Kid Ventures

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