PlayGround CV is a new indoor play center that opened in Castro Valley on July 7 with a flurry of programs beyond normal open play sessions—such as birthday parties, kids camps, and Friday (parentless!?) movie nights. We attended PlayGround’s grand opening and explored the two-storied play structure for about an hour in the late afternoon— perfect to get my daughter to burn off some energy before dinner.
Located about 25 minutes away from Oakland, PlayGround is a good indoor playtime option for children from one year up to about eight years old (but we think older siblings up to 12 will have fun in the Ninja School)— especially if you opt to pair it with some nearby good eats.
PlayGround’s main feature is a large two-storied play structure broken up into two sections: (1) Children (four through twelve years old) and (2) Toddlers (one through three years old). My four-year-old daughter was just the perfect age to have a blast exploring both areas.
The Children’s area includes a variety of features such as multiple slides, bridges, soft wrecking balls to swing on, and even a soft play rock climbing wall. I had a mini-heart attack when my daughter quickly climbed to the top of the rock climbing wall and then proceeded to fall straight to the ground. The soft flooring thankfully lessened the blow so she ended up being fine and got right back up to play.
The toddler section is full of a variety of soft play items that my daughter had fun climbing over— even though she’s technically not a toddler. She also liked to scoot on a few of the ride-on vehicles around the room.
I think older kids will appreciate the Ninja School— a mini obstacle course where you can press a button at the beginning to keep time. The obstacle course was a bit too advanced for my daughter, but she still had a go. She ended up walking under the swinging ropes instead of actually swinging on them to get across (cheater).
The check-in process at PlayGround
Once we entered the facility for drop-in open play, PlayGround staff had me sign a waiver for my daughter and then pay for our playtime. The waiver is also available on PlayGround’s website and can be filled out in advance. I paid for an hour at first and figured I could add on more time if I needed. We then put my daughter’s shoes in one of the shoe cubbies and she was off. Easy peasy.
COVID-details: was the indoor play center at PlayGround clean?
This was our first indoor play center visit since the start of the pandemic and I was a tad nervous. I went in armed with a fanny pack (don’t judge) full of hand sanitizer, masks, and wipes. I was also prepared to abruptly leave if the center seemed too crowded. I, however, was pleasantly surprised at how clean everything was, including the bathrooms. That may partially be because the play center is brand new and there were only a few other kids playing at the time.
PlayGround requires masking for all persons regardless of vaccination status. There is some leeway with very young kids who may have difficulty keeping their masks on at all times. I noticed the employees handing out masks to kids and parents who forgot theirs.
I asked about their sanitation procedures and was told that they use a disinfectant fogger for the play structure 2x a day. I still had my daughter wash her hands before we left and there is a large jug of hand sanitizer at the front desk.
It sounds like they are still working the kinks out in terms of managing capacity. Given that PlayGround just opened, there doesn’t appear to have been large crowds yet for them to regulate. Even though the open play is purchased by the hour, if the play area isn’t crowded they may let you stay a bit longer. As of July 8, PlayGround is drop-in only (no reservations).
Other program offerings at PlayGround
PlayGround offers a variety of programs beyond open play including birthday parties, fundraising events, and kid camps. Camp activities vary and include ballet, hip hop, painting, calligraphy, and craft activities. It doesn’t seem like they have all their camp activities listed on their website, but you can get more information by calling PlayGround or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For birthday parties, PlayGround has two large event rooms—one of which is tea party-themed. I thought the tea-themed party area was cute and had a few fun photo backdrops.
PlayGround also offers Friday movie nights for kids five and up from 5 pm – 8 pm that can be parent-free. The cost is $50 per child and each additional sibling is $45; it includes a movie, playtime, 2 slices of pizza, and 2 drinks. The price seems steep and I, personally, am not quite ready to use it, but it could be a good opportunity to sneak in a date night.
Good eats near PlayGround in Castro Valley
Whenever we are in Castro Valley, we always make a stop at Te’Amo Boba Tea x Mochi Donut to snag a few delicious mochi donuts and boba tea drinks. We also sometimes grab lunch or dinner at the Lake Chabot Public Market where we can choose between Korean BBQ, poke bowls, ramen, and ice cream. The Lake Chabot Public Market also has a mini supermarket and indoor + outdoor seating.
Plan your visit to PlayGround
Price for Open Play (drop-in only): $13 for each hour. Each additional hour is 10% off. Siblings also receive a 10% discount. They also have a yearly membership option consisting of 25 open play sessions and some other perks for $225.
- Monday-Thursday: 2 pm – 8 pm
- Friday: 2 pm – 9 pm
- Saturday and Sunday: 9 am – 9 pm
Ages: one year up to twelve years old
Socks Required: socks are required to go into the play structure. Parents are allowed in the play structure but they also need to have socks on. PlayGround sells socks for $1 if you forget yours.
No outside food or drinks: while PlayGround doesn’t allow outside food and drinks, they sell some snacks (apple sauces, crackers, etc.) and some cold drinks at the front desk.
Parking: I ended up using free street parking and had no issues, but there also appears to be a parking lot in the back of the building.
Location: PlayGround is located at 3169 Castro Valley Blvd, Castro Valley.
The bottom line for indoor play at PlayGround in Castro Valley
PlayGround in Castro Valley is a good option for an hour or two of playtime for kids ages one through eight years old. It may be hard (and get a bit pricey) to get more than a few hours of playtime out of one visit so I’d suggest pairing it with a food option or another activity (such as a visit to Golfland in Castro Valley to go mini-golfing) if you’re looking for a longer day outing. Otherwise, it’s a great option to get kids to burn off all that energy! We had lots of fun.