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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Lil Monkey Bizness In Western Springs

Location: 4700 Gilbert Ave, Western Springs, IL (in the Garden Market Shopping Center)
Type of Place: Indoor inflatable playground
Secret: Wait until about 11 am to go. Thats when many people leave for naptime,  lunch, picking up/dropping off preschoolers and kindergarteners at school, etc.
Appropriate ages: I'd say 6 and under.
Cost: $7.50 for kids over 1, $5.00 for kids under 1, and all adults are free.

The other day Pufferfish and I ventured out to Western Springs to visit Lil Monkey Bizness. I've been hearing about this place for years, but always imagined it to be too far away. (Now that we live in Lombard, we're a good 20 minutes closer than before, so that makes a difference!) 
I kind of expected it to be similar to Monkey Joe's, but it was entirely different. Monkey Joe's is a huge place full of inflatable jumpy things. Lil Monkey Bizness does have one inflatable thing, but the rest of the stuff is more like regular indoor playground equipment.

We arrived there at around ten in the morning. It was really crowded and noisy, and Pufferfish was having a hard time. She wouldn't play, kept hiding behind me, and even asked to go home. I was baffled, because Monkey Joe's was pretty crowded when we were there, and Pufferfish had had no problems there.

Then I figured it out... Lil Monkey Bizness is a lot smaller, and the equipment is closer together. When its crowded, it is hard to move around without coming close to bumping into other people. Its also very loud. I guess the accoustics are different from Monkey Joe's, maybe because of the size. With kids running around everywhere and shouting, Pufferfish was overwhelmed! If your kids have any sensory issues or get anxious in crowded places, you probably want to avoid this place during peak hours.

We went into the art room for a while to avoid the crowds. Sometimes they have organized art projects going on, but today they just had open art, with paints, rubber stamps, and stencils set out for kids to work with on their own.

Then we sat down and had a snacke. They have a coffee shop there where you can order lots of different coffee drinks, as well as smoothies, Italian sodas, hot cocoa, and other drinks. They also have some kid-friendly snacks like yogurt, cookies and crackers. Pufferfish ordered a hot cocoa and a package of goldfish crackers. I tasted her hot cocoa... It was delicious! Next time I'm definitely going to order one for myself! (I don't drink coffee, so I just had a boring Coke.)

By that time, it was around 11:15, and the place was much less crowded. We decided to try playing again. And this time, Pufferfish really got into it! She played happily until it was time to go get the older kids.

She always loves going down slides....

... and, like a true monkey, she had lots of fun climbing around on the climbing equipment.

The swings were also very cool!
The only thing I wish was that maybe they would have had an employee around the swings to help monitor the kids. The swings were one of the most popular things there, and there was usually a line of kids waiting. It is frustrating to wait in line for ten minutes with your little one for a ride on the swing, and then have some other kid push in front of you and take your kid's turn. I know they're just little kids and its not a big deal, except it is hard to try to teach Pufferfish, "We need to wait patiently in line for our turn," and then have her ask "Why don't those kids have to wait in line?" It happened about ten times in the first ten minutes I waited in line for the swings... and when I or other adults tried gently telling the kids, "You have to wait in line!" they would just stare at us like we were crazy and go on swinging. The kids in question were old enough to know better. Manners, kids, manners!
But I guess the swings were worth the long wait for Pufferfish!

Overall, we had a great time. I can easily imagine coming here once or twice a month! If you visit Lil Monkey Bizness, be sure to let me know what you think!


Christine said... [Reply to comment]

I've always wanted to take the kids there. Maybe we will try it one day this summer. My boyfriend works at the Dominick's right there so everytime I'm over that way, I look in the windows and try to check the place out.

Nicki said... [Reply to comment]

Its a pretty cool place. I'm afraid of how crowded it will get in the summer though, with all the bigger kids out of school!

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