Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Not so a'muzed


Peanut and I took a peek at Kidz Muze during its grand opening weekend to see if it offered another indoor play place. I just didn't get the concept from reading their website other than to understand it was indoors, for children and had some different sections. Oh, and it cost money for children and parents to go. Hmmm...

The enthusiastic high schoolers (ok, they could have been college students - they all look sooo young to me nowadays. Sad.) at the front desk said of course there was tons for a little 15 month old and took us on tour. Tons was more like milligrams.

Kidz Muze occupies a warehouse type space that's been kind of spliced into a number of play zones or rooms. There was a zone with a couple of doll houses and train sets on tables, a zone for kids karaoke with play instruments, bean bags and supposedly dress up (I saw one lonely dress), a zone for a jungle adventure with a small climbing wall ("you can help your little one climb this!"), a room for crafts and then several make believe play areas I liked. You could be a vet with all the stuffed animals, play in one of two kitchens, or run the grocery store. For wilder times, there was a bigger climbing contraption and a huge indoor play gym/jungle gym. Though all areas were marked for 4 and older.

For truly smaller ones, there was one area with a few puzzles, climbing cushions, a baby gym and Little People-like farm house. Not very impressive. The odd part was that it was a no-shoes zone, but the management office for Kidz Muze was at the rear of the space so employees were constantly having to take off their shoes to cross through there....

The cost will also probably keep us away:

$8.50

4 to 12 years old

$6.50

1 to 3 years old

Free admission

Under 1 year old

$2.50

13 years old to adult


Note the TO ADULT price.

I asked why adults had to pay as well - it seems a bit silly. Even sillier was the answer I got.
"Its because the adults can also play with all the equipment!"

3 comments:

Kidz Muze M.O.M. said...

Dear Peanut’s Mom: I’m glad that you had a chance to visit Kidz Muze, but it is unfortunate that your experience was marred by misinformation. Our Welcome Desk team member should not have used the subjective term “tons” when speaking of what was available for a 15 month old. I’m sure that this response stems from the often delighted comments of mothers when they see our HabiTOT. At approx. 700 sq. ft. this playscape within Kidz Muze offers more space dedicated solely to children age 3 and younger than any indoor play center in the DFW area. Our staff should state that fact, rather than risk inflating the expectations of those new to the area –as you are- who may have experienced centers with larger spaces for this age group.

Kidz Muze EDUtainment Village had been a dream of mine to open for three+ years. A ‘community’ that offers a wide variety of social and physical developmental play to an age group that for indoor entertainment in this part of Texas was limited to primarily either fast-food playscapes or token-based playcenters that offered low intellectual stimulation for the high overall expense of the visit. The cost of admission to Kidz Muze should be compared to these ‘kiddie kasinos’ to realize the true value of what we offer.

After 15 rejections, Kidz Muze was built with the approval of my 16th funding application. Unfortunately, that loan and all my savings still was not enough, so we are making a phased introduction to the market. I walk through the HabiTOT in socks only (keeping it sanitary for the little ones) to get to my office because that playscape is in it’s Phase I location and will be relocated to the space it was designed for in Phase II.

Once we got past the massive task of our grand opening, we immediately started to add services beyond play for the children. We also offer GrownFolks Muze for the adults with no additional cost. These forums focus on parenting issues and wellness for the family. You can attend these while your child is engaged in a facilitated craft activity in the same room. Free high-speed internet access; comfortable leather seating; and healthy food options in our café, round out the services provided to our adult guests.

Even with several outfits available, it is difficult to keep the dress-up costumes in Encore! Encore! when little ones decide to wear them for their entire visit –which is often several hours. Ever try to take a princess outfit off a child not willing to give it up?! In response to your comment, we have removed them entirely so others will not be disappointment with the supply.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated. We are able to enhance our service with these gifts of information. As with others before you, I show my gratitude with a “Thank You Coupon” which was sent to your email address for Peanut and your next visit. We hope you try us again; watch as we continue to evolve and grow into the “smart parent’s alternative for family fun!”

Kidz Muze M.O.M
(Muze Owner Manager)

Peanut's Mom said...

Hi Kidz Muze MOM,

I appreciate your lengthy comments and explanations.

You're correct in that my experiences with local indoor play spaces are limited. During our first summer here we've explored the Vista Ridge Mall (VRM)playzone, a few fast food playscapes and Gymboree. I also had places like Kiddin' Around in mind when I made my comments even though its a 'playcare'.

Peanut enjoys the VRM very much and its free. Its big downside is that a little one like Peanut is often in danger of getting mowed down so we make a point of getting there early in the mornings when its quieter.

The fast food playscapes we didn't really care for - they certainly don't provide entertainment for more than a few minutes for Peanut.

Gymboree is great, but a pricier alternative at $12/class. Though with their offer of a "Free Play" hour each week in addition to the 45 min class, the cost comes down to around $6/visit.

I also considered Kiddin' Around because they are a playplace and a parent doesn't have to hang around. They currently run $8.50/hr for Peanut's age.

So, with those places in mind, I found the Kidz Muze $9.00 rate a bit stiff for a visit even though its for as many hours as we want. I know with Peanut it really translates into about an hour at this point.

I did appreciate the fact that the HabiTOT was closed off to kids older than 3 and that the equipment was toddler-sized. Peanut, however, moved quickly through the space and was not lured into playing by any of the toys. With her only 15-months at the time, there wasn't much else for her to do there. I can imagine when she becomes older that the other playzones will be more attractive.

Thank You for the coupon. I will happily bring Peanut by again to take another look.

Wishing you great success with Kidz Muze,
Peanut's Mom

siobhan said...

Hello again Peanut's Mom! (btw/love your daughter's nickname!).

Just wanted to drop you a line to let you know that Kidz Muze no longer charges an admission for adults!

I had never run a business like this before and therefore relied on the services (wisdom?) of consultants who specialize in the development of children's entertainment centers and also folks who own and manage similar centers outside of the DFW market.

Although I resisted the adult charge at first, those noted above made convincing arguments that the adult charge was necessary to help off-set not having a token based 'kiddie casino'.

Well, these East Coast folks clearly don't know everything and certainly don't know this market!

I listened to the feedback from our Kidz Muze community members and we made this change effective 1 Feb 2007.

Next time you visit with Peanut, please ask for me. I appreciate your feedback and I really would like to meet you both!

kidz muze m.o.m