File this under “Why the heck wasn’t this around when my kids were little?!!” It’s the newly opened GIGGLES in Cranford, and if you have children ages 6 and under, it’s the indoor play and party space you’ve been hoping for! My Marketing Director, Christine Radlmann, brought along her 5-year-old daughter to be a pint-sized investigative reporter at Giggles, and her daughter:
1) did NOT want to leave, and
2) has been begging to go back ever since.
Let me start off by saying how refreshing it is to see a play space that is NOT obnoxious in its color scheme or design. When you walk into Giggles, you won’t find giant murals of dancing mice, headache-inducing neon colors, or flickering fluorescent lights. Instead, the space is mostly sunlit, with soothing pastel colors and contemporary designs. Even the giant wooden play structure looks like an artsy scuplture!
The front area consists of several tables where parents can relax or feed their kids lunch or snacks. There’s a cheerful sensory “sandbox” (actually filled with rice) there as well, to keep the kiddos occupied while you enjoy a latte. That’s right, I said LATTE! Giggles serves gourmet coffee drinks, so you can amply caffeinate as your kids get all their energy out. They also sell light healthy snacks for the younger set.
Make sure you bring socks if you go to Giggles–children must wear socks in the play area. Inside the play area you’ll find a ginormous play structure complete with slides, climbing areas, secret hideouts, bridges, and endless fun. Christine’s daughter spent a good two hours in and out of the play structure! She made a bunch of friends, and their happy little brigade explored every nook and cranny.”
Also in the play area is a faux grocery store, train table, toddler toys, play tent, small ride-on vehicles, and a giant chalkboard. There’s truly something for everyone from babies through preschool age.
Giggles owner Kinga Keaveney did such a great job designing the space that I assumed it was a franchise. Nope! Giggles is Kinga’s own conception. She said, “I developed the idea for almost five years before finally pulling the trigger. All decor, toys and everything that makes Giggles what it is was chosen and designed by yours truly.” Kinga has lived in Cranford for the past three years and has two daughters under 6 years of age. When I asked what inspired her to open Giggles, Kinga said, “I found that there is a lack of places where you can simply walk in for open play. When Anya was small, we lived in Jersey City and there was really nothing to do with the kids. And when we moved here, the situation was similar. There are some places thatrequire a membership but not everyone wants the commitment. I wanted to introduce something different in function and form. Open play in an environment that is cozy, beautiful and yet engaging and stimulating but in the right way. Not to mention the coffee bar for adults and comfortable seating where they can relax and watch their children play.”I’d say Kinga hit the nail on the head! Giggles has been filled with patrons since day one of opening.
Christine also commented on how surprisingly CLEAN the place is, and sure enough Kinga takes great care to assure the cleanliness: “We try to keep the place very clean and germ free. We rotate small toys, like fruits and veggies, in the middle and at the end of the day as well as wipe other ones with disinfecting wipes. We also wipe all handles on the kitchen and play structure as well as fire poles and sides of slides. The steering wheels of all ride-ons and safety gates get wiped down too.The rice table gets changed out weekly. We have hand sanitizers that are easily accessible to children.” Giggles is known for its open play Tuesday through Friday from 9 am to 6 pm, where you pay one set price for your child to play to their heart’s content.
But Giggles also throws great birthday parties on weekends with just about any theme you can dream up, and the parties are a great combo of physical fun in the play area and crafting at thetables. There’s also storytime every Tuesday at 10:30, and every Wednesday at 1 pm is craft time. The recent egg hunt at Giggles was a huge success and will surely become an annual event.
Kinga said, “Soon we will also offer Pajama Party, which will be a drop-off event offered in the evenings. The parents will leave their kids for a fun playdate, pizza and movie, while they can enjoy an evening out. We will also offer summer camps. People can follow us on Facebook and Instagram for regular updates about our offerings.” Yet another great thing about Giggles is its convenient location–right next to Il Giardino restaurant at 103 Miln Street. There’s FREE PARKING in the small lot adjacent to Giggles, as well as plenty of metered parking on Miln and in the municipal lot across the street.
The cost for Open Play is $10 for the first child, $6 per additional sibling. For more information visit http://gigglesnj.com/
Next time it’s a rainy day and you’re wondering what on Earth to do with your cooped-up kiddos, head on over to Giggles, where your kids are guaranteed to have some . . .
wait for it . . .
giggles! (I kill me.)