Play N’ Learn’s Playground Superstore4102 Pepsi Place
Chantilly, VA 20151
Website ~ Map Link
Bottom Line: Play N' Learn is a play equipment showroom that opens it's floor twice a week to the public for free play. It can get crowded and crazy, but the kids love it. 4/5 stars
Free Play Hours are Mondays and Thursdays from 10am - 1pm.
Children 8 and under are welcome to use any of the equipment -- parents must sign a waiver and supervise their children. Their Columbia, MD store also offers free play on the same schedule.
UPDATE (3/24/15): Play N’ Learn has revised their schedule/policy for Open Play. It is only offered on Thursdays at the Chantilly location and requires (free) advance tickets. Checkout the Play N’ Learn website for the latest details.
I had been hearing about this new indoor play space out in Chantilly, so A. and I finally checked it out this week. Play ‘N Learn is a business that sells playground equipment, trampolines, basketball hoops, and table games (pool tables, air hockey, etc.). Twice a week, they open their showroom to the public and allow kids to play on all of their equipment.
It was an easy 25ish minute drive from Arlington to get out to their showroom in Chantilly, which is located in an industrial warehouse complex. When we entered the showroom, it was an impressively large space full of every kind of play set imaginable.
In addition to playsets, there are three trampolines, as well as some basketball hoops, air hockey and pool tables.
When you enter, you need to sign in and fill out a waiver at the front desk.
After that, the floor is yours! We arrived a little after 10 and it was quickly getting crowded. I don’t believe they limit the number of people allowed in, and it can get pretty crazy. This picture gives you a sense of the busyness:
Here’s a short video clip I took that shows you the layout of the space — and the noise of the crowd!
I was not familiar with the brand of play equipment, but everything seemed very sturdy and well made. A. had a blast running from one piece of equipment to the next.
There are three different trampolines and the kids are allowed to jump on them (with shoes off).
There is no staff supervising (just one guy at the front desk), so I wondered how out-of-hand it would get, but the fact that most of the kids were young (~5 and under, I’d guess) meant it wasn’t too insane. One trampoline had a step up, but the other ones did not, which meant children had to have help to get into them, which meant moms (or dads) were nearby and presumably watching. Sometimes there were many kids in the the tramps, but it never seemed unduly unsafe.
The showroom also had pool tables and air hockey tables set up — the air hockey table was not turned on, which is a good thing since those flying pucks can hurt little hands.
There were also full size basketball hoops set up, but they were out of reach for this pint-sized crowd.
A. had a blast, as did most kids I saw. Several moms had clearly planned play dates together here, so it looks to be a good spot to meet-up with friends. Here’s what I view as the downsides to this otherwise fantastic space:
- It can get very crowded. Which leads to …
- It can be hard to keep track of your kid(s).
I would turn my head and lose sight of A. in an instant as he darted off to something else. I think it would be hard to keep track of multiple siblings.
- It is very loud.
Lots of kids shrieking and playing can lead to sensory overload.
- It can be hard to keep track of your kid(s).
- The flooring is hard (thin carpet over concrete).
Prior to coming, I heard other moms complain about the kids coming off the slides fast and landing on the hard surface. It wasn’t a problem for us, but something to keep in mind with younger, less coordinated kiddos.
- There is a bathroom on site, but no changing tables.
Probably not a big deal since there is plenty of floor space, it just seemed odd they didn’t have one.
Overall, we had a blast and look forward to returning. The fact that it is free makes it tremendously appealing. And if you happen to be in the market for new play equipment or a trampoline, it is a great way to check them out. (Real customers are also welcome to visit the showroom during their normal business hours, 10-5 Mon -Sat).
We left a little after noon and the crowd had thinned considerably. If you don’t have to worry about nap time, I’d suggest coming at 11:30 or later.
Also worth noting — it was crowded and crazy enough that I wouldn’t recommend it for tiny little ones. Lots of moms were there with infants and toddlers, but they were mostly younger siblings. The problem is there are plenty of opportunities for kids to walk into the path of a swing or a slide and get knocked over, so it may be stressful for those watching little ones.
Also, the company says they allow kids up to age 8, but I didn’t see any school aged kids the day we went (which was a school day). I imagine if there were older kids running around with the little ones, it would get a lot more unsafe real quickly.
Have you been to the Play N’ Learn showroom? If so, what are your impressions?
Looking for more places to play? Check out my reviews of other Playgrounds, Parks, and Play Areas in Arlington and the greater Metro DC area.
Find more parks by visiting my main Arlington Parks & Playgrounds page.