Fridays are our family days and we’ve been trying to get “out” more now that it’s not too cold. I put “out” in quotation marks since we’ve been going to mostly indoor spots due to the recent poor air quality. This is a big problem in Korea, it seems, as there is an abundance of indoor playgrounds or “kids cafes” to compensate for the inability of kids to play outside on days when bad air quality gets really worse.
One Friday we went to one such indoor facility – Champion Kids Sports Club in Dongtan. It’s a chain but this particular branch is located in a mall right beside an apartment complex. There’s also a pediatrics clinic on the same floor where it’s at so it never runs out customers. The staff at the time we went were kind and helpful but they don’t really speak English that well. As neither me nor my husband speaks Korean, we kind of muddled through it the best we could.
According to their website, Champion Kids Sports Club features:
Combination of play and sport! Kids’ sports club! Providing a playground for children with lack of play space to run and jump freely. Children’s Sports Experience / play area where they can learn sport rules and also social interaction through various experiences.
From what I gathered, there’s a membership program but kids can also come and pay per visit. For us, it was a minimum of 2 hours for 15,000 KRW for one kid and 2,000 KRW for one accompanying adult. So it was a total of 17,000 KRW for my two year old son and my husband. They did allow me to come in but since I stayed in the cafe with my five month old infant, they didn’t ask me to pay for my fee. However, I’m not sure if this is always the case. It may be that they just didn’t want to deal with the language. Nevertheless it was kind of them anyway.
The place is huge and it really is a sports-oriented kids cafe with ballpits, slides, trampolines, and an obstacle course.
You first pay at the counter before you remove your shoes to go inside. There’s a small area with hangers to hang coats and jackets, and cubby holes with shoe trays where you can deposit your stuff. There is no lockers, so it is best not to bring valuables with you. You can also resort to carry a fanny pack (que horror) or a backpack if need be.
At the other side of the entrance (actually at the exit) is the Mom Cafe which sells refreshments (coffee, tea, ades, and cakes) for parents.
I ordered lemonade and a cookie for 4,000 KRW and 1,500 KRW, respectively. The lemonade was freshly squeezed and was mixed with tonic water. I know because I saw how they prepared it. You don’t pay up front, but you do before you leave.
I didn’t have to use it for my infant son, but there’s a diaper changing station available at one corner near the kids’ bathroom. There is no bathroom for adults within the facility so guardians will have to go to the nearby mall comfort rooms.
There’s a water station and a hand sanitizing station right before the play area so it’s convenient for the kids.
There’s my firstborn in his own little paradise – I mean, enjoying the ballpit. That ballpit is huge and deep! So many bouncy, bouncy balls!
And that’s my fearless one who climbed down without using the rope.
There’s at least a couple of trampolines in the play area. There’s the little one crawling his way from one to another.
Kids can also have soccer games if they want to.
There is staff available to assist kids if the guardians do not want to accompany their child, or if the accompanying adult decides to take a short break in the cafe or somewhere else. They are helpful and mindful without being too obtrusive. There’s CCTV all throughout the place so your children are monitored wherever they are. I forgot to mention beforehand that they attach a sticker with a barcode to your child’s clothing to keep track of them.
The husband and I were satisfied with the place but my son definitely thought it was heaven on Earth!