Imagine a miniature city – its streets lined with decorative lamp posts and colourful store fronts. Complete with a hospital, a pizzeria, a grocery store, a theatre – all of the amenities of a real-life metropolis, with the buildings of the tiny town reaching no higher than 6 feet tall. All it takes is one ingredient to bring this magical city to life: imagination.
Kidtropolis, a new play place located in Richmond, BC, offers a refreshing take on indoor play spaces for kids. Packed with real props, costumes, and life-like architecture, the 17,000 square foot city is jam-packed with imagination stations – perfect for a day of pretend play. I recently visited this charming cityscape with my 3 children (ages 2, 6, and 8), and they absolutely loved it. Here are some of the highlights from our visit.
Another toddler favourite was the grocery store, featuring pint-sized shopping carts, rows of produce-filled bins, a miniature fridge filled with milk cartons and blocks of butter, and a telephone and till for little cashiers to collect cash from customers as they completed their shopping experience.
My youngest loved the hospital, where she examined patient x-rays, listened to heartbeats, and typed in patient records on the keyboard of the doctor’s office computer, while answering urgent phone calls as she worked.
My car-loving son got revved up over the mechanic’s kit and life-like gas pumps at the city’s gas station, and spent the bulk of his time feverishly “fixing” the cars with wrenches and lug nuts while drivers passed through for a pit stop.
Another favourite was the climbing structure, complete with a sky-high treehouse, and rainbow-coloured slide trio. My son disappeared in the play centre, racing through swinging sacks, hopping across colourful mats, and weaving through obstacles until he reached the bumpy decline back down to the ground floor. Grinning from ear-to-ear, his forehead beaded with sweat, he waved in my direction and headed back up for another go – over and over again.
The highlight for my oldest was the broadcast studio, where kids can position themselves behind a real video camera and film news broadcasts just like real cameramen. Children who favoured being in front of the camera could sit behind the newsroom desk, and announce the news while onlookers watched on from live-feed screens.
Kidtropolis has something for everyone – from an Italian pizzeria complete with real restaurant menus, to an elaborate cockpit for pilots-to-be, to a full-sized performance stage with racks full of costumes and rows of theatre seating. Parents can sit back and sip on a hot cup of coffee as they watch their children rush around rosy-cheeked, or they can jump in and pretend play alongside their kids. Either way, this new indoor play place is the perfect spot to spend the day inside – definitely a new family-favourite destination for us.