Just Opened: Kids Play Zone in West Oakland - 510 Families
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Just Opened: Kids Play Zone in West Oakland

I was invited for a media preview visit, this experience was most similar to a reserved play date.

Kelinda, the owner of Kidz Play Zone has done the impossible. She’s opened up a brand new indoor play space during the tail-end of the pandemic. And let me tell you, this place is already popular. Playing indoors at Kids Play Zone, or KPZ, was a much-needed change of pace from all the outdoor hikes, regular playgrounds, and toys my girls usually play with at home.

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So much climbing fun at KPZ. | Photo: Julia Gidwani

We visited a couple of weeks after the grand opening and arrived right as KPZ opened at 10 am. Families continued to trickle in as we played, and KPZ reached capacity just as it was time for us to head home for lunch and a nap. Families are ready for new, clean spaces to play and KPZ is exactly the place.

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A little movie break at Kids Play Zone. | Photo: Julia Gidwani

When we arrived, Kelinda the owner was warm and welcoming. The first thing I observed was how clean everything seemed: brand new, pristine and very clean. During our visit, staff and guests were wearing masks, even little kids and big kids. KPZ is following CDC guidelines, so as of now, masks are required. We hand sanitized and were temperature checked before we entered the play zone.

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Owner Kelinda Shintell Gastinell-Crenshaw, founder of the Kids Play Zone. | Photo: Julia Gidwani

I brought my two- and five-year-olds to explore KPZ and right away they were darting for the ball pit. I could barely get their shoes off before they were excitedly jumping into the ball pit, over and over and over again. Kelinda fogs the ball pit after each private play session and after each open play session to ensure the area is germ free. Ball pits always feel iffy to me as a parent because of grimy little hands, but I knew (and could visually see) KPZ’s cleaning standards are super high, so I felt pretty relaxed and even played in the ball pit myself!

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The ball pit was the big favorite feature at KPZ. | Photo: Julia Gidwani

As a parent, I personally loved the tea bar and seating around the perimeter of the play area.

The bathrooms are super clean and have a changing table. I foresee myself returning and getting a little work done while my girls have fun playing.

How to play at Kids Play Zone

There are two ways to play at KPZ, you can either reserve a playtime with your bubble/cohort or drop in for open play during regular hours.

Our favorite things at Kids Play Zone

  • Ball pit! This was by far my kids’ favorite feature. I can’t even remember the last time they jumped into a massive pit of plasticky balls.
  • Ice cream truck: for whatever reason, imaginary play at the ice cream truck was a close second favorite. I “ate” like hundreds of cones and sundaes of all flavors. Both my girls enjoyed this feature.
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My kids loved the ice cream truck at Kids Play Zone. | Photo: Julia Gidwani

I made the mistake of showing up with my little one in sandals. Luckily, I purchased the required socks at the entry. I do recommend bringing grippy socks for little kids running around the place at mach speed. Both my girls had the more slippery socks and fell a couple of times. Next time I will come prepared with grippy socks for them to run free. During this time, we all know it’s recommended to social distance, but in a smaller play space, sometimes that’s impossible with little kids. It felt really weird (for me personally) to being playing indoors with other families, but that might just be me overcoming a year of ingrained social distancing habits. My kids were completely unfazed and totally entertained at KPZ.

Plan your visit to Kids Play Zone

Location: 900 Market St. Ste M  Oakland (plenty of free parking)
Admission: $10-$12 for open play, inquire directly for small group reservations
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday: 10am-3pm, Friday: 10am-9pm
Website: Kids Play Zone

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Light table at Kids Play Zone. | Photo: Julia Gidwani

Thank you to Kids Play Zone for hosting us. We’ll be back!

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