It was a bitter cold, snowy, weekday afternoon in January. My kids had off from school and I had just hosted six First Grade boys for a morning playdate at my house.
Once they all left and the dust was starting to settle (literally), I decided we needed to get out for an activity otherwise my overly energetic boys were going to be running around the house like crazy the rest of the day. I packed up the baby, my five and seven-year-old sons, and off we went to the mall.
Once there I remembered hearing about this new place, Be with Me Children’s Playseum. Many of my mom friends had raved about it. I opened my phone and checked their Facebook page for more info. Apparently, they were having a special for anyone attending after 3pm that day who said the secret ‘code’ word: a free little animal toy from their gift shop for every paid admission. Sounded good to me!
I parked the stroller outside their entrance where I saw other strollers parked. Once inside I realized I could have brought my stroller in, but it would’ve been cramped as many of the areas inside are small. But instead, I put the baby in a carrier and headed in with the boys. I paid for admission at the front desk while the boys wandered the gift shop. The cost was nine dollars per person (ages 1 and up) and I was a little disappointed to find out that adults are required to pay as well. But the admission covered the entire day so if you wanted you could leave and return later. Once I pried my kids out of the gift shop, which had a lot of cute but overpriced toys in it, we headed into the actual Playseum.
The entire place is broken up into 24 rooms called City Shops, each with its own interactive and educational theme. Some of the rooms are sponsored by local businesses, such as the Chevy’s restaurant room, Labbe Family Orthodontics dentist room, 95.1 SHINE-FM radio station room, Anne Arundel Medical Center hospital rooms, and many more. Each room had such fun interactive décor, equipment, and imagination-enticing toys. There are also theme-specific books to read in each room. We easily spent two hours wandering from room to room and didn’t even get to see all of them. My boys loved it!
The baby got bored in the carrier after about an hour, but I didn’t see any infant-friendly areas to go with her, which I found odd since they apparently do charge for guests over one year old. There was a little fenced-in farm area with a sign that said it was meant for “younger children” but nothing baby-specific in there that I could see. I ended up sitting on some couches in their Bakery area to nurse her and hang out for a while.
One of the City Shops, the Furry Friends Salon, has live animals that include rabbits, birds, bearded dragon, frog, and guinea pig. I saw a sign that said the animals would be brought out at the top of the hour for children to pet, so we made sure to make it in there at five o’clock. After waiting awhile, I ended up having to go find an employee. The kids really enjoyed petting the rabbit and watching the lizard climb on the employee’s apron.
In addition to the City Shop rooms, there are additional activities the children can do at the Soap Bar, Science Bar, Art Room and Bakery. These activities cost extra though. I wasn’t aware of this as it wasn’t mentioned when I purchased admission, but after looking on their website I discovered you can purchase $25 worth of ‘Playseum Dollars’ (used to pay for these extra activities and purchase items from the gift shop) for only $20, but you have to buy them before entering since apparently the special discount isn’t valid once you’re already inside.
Overall, we enjoyed our time at the Playseum! I would like to take my kids back again, especially good for cold or rainy days. As a mom of three kids though, I do wish that the admission either included one of the additional activities, or parents were free. We mamas gotta stay thrifty!
Mandy Watts is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Crownsville with her husband, Justin, who runs their family business, has two sons, and baby daughter.