As the weather in Seattle starts to get grey and gloomy, indoor play spaces become essential to maintaining a parent’s sanity. While we are lucky to have so many options in the Seattle-area, it’s always nice to try somewhere new that offers something different. My family lives in Renton Highlands, which is East of Seattle and South of Bellevue, so we are used to driving to find quality play areas.
I first heard about Discovery Playtown on Facebook several months before they opened. They had posted sketches of what they were planning on including and I was instantly impressed with their ambition. As time went on, they posted all their progress and I knew that we needed to head to Maple Valley (about 20 minutes from Renton Highlands) and experience this unique play space.
One of the first things I noticed is that kids must wear shoes at all times. This is actually pretty convenient, as you don’t need to worry about bringing socks. My toddler’s feet have been trampled on in the past, so I like that he can protect them with shoes. Plus, he rarely wears socks, so it’s one less thing to remember as we head out the door.
The other thing that stood out is that you can come back later in the day. So, if you come in the morning, you can go home for lunch and naps and then head back to play in the afternoon. Or, you can run out to grab lunch and come back. It’s a bit easier to pull kids away from this fun place when you can say that you’ll come back after nap time.
What I appreciate most about Discovery Playtown is that it sets the scene for kids to create their own play. They provide costumes and props and leaves the rest to a child’s imagination. This type of play encourages kids to play together, even if they don’t know each other. I was impressed when I saw my toddler watch a group of older kids, figure out what they were playing and then joined in!
They also seem to have an area for everyone. There is a treehouse with a slide for more active kiddos, storefronts filled with hands-on activities and quieter play, an area for crawlers and (most importantly) places for parents to sit while watching their kids! There is also a small area with tables and chairs where you can feed your kids snacks or lunch. They sell a few products there and you can bring in outside food. There are a lot of food options in the shopping complex for grab and go food.
Unlike some other play spaces we’ve visited, it’s really easy to spend hours and hours at Discovery Playtown because there are so many things to see and do. We’ve been three times and each time we’ve stayed longer than we anticipated. It’s one of the few places where my toddler will play by himself or with friends and I can just supervise, rather than having to entertain him the whole time. Since I’ve been trying to foster independent play, this has been really helpful!
Even if Maple Valley seems like a trek for you, it’s worth making a day out of it. We ended up heading to Black Diamond (about 8 minutes down the road) to explore their Train and get treats at Black Diamond Bakery. Then, my toddler took a solid nap on the drive home.
What to Know about Discovery Playtown
- LOCATION: 26545 Maple Valley-Black Diamond Rd. SE, Suite K-150
Maple Valley, WA 98038
- HOURS: Monday-Friday 10:00am – 7:00pm (Last entry at 6:00pm)
Saturday & Sunday 10:00am – 1:00pm
- ADMISSION: Good all day with in-and-out privileges during scheduled open play hours
$10 for first child with adult
$8 for additional children with same adult
Free for children 12 months and under and adults
- MEMBERSHIP + PUNCH CARDS: Pre-Paid memberships and Punch Cards are available
- SHOES: Unlike most indoor areas, shoes are required!
- NEARBY FOOD OPTIONS: Panera, Subway, Little Caesars, Drive-Thru Starbucks, Grocery Outlet, Fred Meyer and more.