Parenting Info & Tips

5 Fun (Inexpensive!) Ideas to Add to Your Child’s Next Party

5 Fun (Inexpensive!) Ideas to Add to Your Child’s Next Party

One of the things parents love most about hosting their child’s event at our facility is the freedom we allow when it comes to decorating. There is something so special about seeing the birthday child walk into their party and watching their face light up because their favorite character/ show/ book/ animal has been brought to life with the decor. 

My favorite part of my sons’ parties when they were under 5 years old was seeing their faces when they came in through the door. Their smiles and amazement made everything simply so worth it-- and those are memories I will cherish forever.

However, creating a memorable birthday experience for your child does NOT need to break the bank. There are many ways in which birthday party costs can increase quickly, especially if you’re hiring a themed character to attend your event, if you’re getting a 3-tiered cake from a sought-after bakery in town, or if you’re wanting a professional photographer to capture your child’s day.

An Unfortunate Truth I've Noticed as the Owner of an Indoor Playground

An Unfortunate Truth I've Noticed as the Owner of an Indoor Playground

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, I’d like to first start off my saying this will not be my typical post detailing fun birthday parties or giving indoor-playground business advice. But this topic has been on my mind and in my heart for several months now, so I have to get this out. I’ll do my best to be brief.

I’d also like to preface this by saying that we at Climbing Vines Cafe and Play are so blessed to have an extremely kind, loyal, and respectful group of regular customers who do us the honor of visiting us weekly, and sometimes even daily. We love you. Thank you.

I feel so lucky, as the owner of this business, to have the chance to witness precious moments between parents and their children and also be a part of important life milestones like baby showers, first birthday parties, and more. I have witnessed babies take their first steps, I have celebrated newborns latching in public for the first time, and I have been a shoulder to cry on when an overwhelmed parent just needs a break. All of this brings incredible magic to my life and I feel grateful every day.

15 Frequently Asked Questions About Our Indoor Playground Facility

15 Frequently Asked Questions About Our Indoor Playground Facility

Our family-owned and operated 2,500 sq. foot space features a clean, imaginative play-area for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, as well as a barista-staffed gourmet coffee, tea, and espresso cafe for adults. It is large enough for the children to run & play, yet intimate enough for adults and caregivers to relax, have a conversation, or catch-up on work.

If you’re a regular at Climbing Vines Cafe and Play, this information should be familiar, but today we want to share some frequently asked questions in case you missed them or you are a prospective play cafe owner looking for your own FAQ inspiration.

5 Ways We Prepare our Indoor Playground For Emergencies

5 Ways We Prepare our Indoor Playground For Emergencies

These days, especially if you are in the U.S., even minor injuries like a finger jam or a slip and fall can have devastating effects on your small business, so the recreational aspect of an indoor playground makes us especially vulnerable to injuries, lawsuits, and disgruntled customers.

We also of course want to prioritize the safety of our guests as much as we possibly can.

Remaining prepared during any sort of personal-injury emergency should be self-explanatory but it’s, unfortunately, one of those things that we all think is never going to happen to us until it does. That’s why today I want to lay out exactly what we did so that our indoor playground facility is as safe as possible and is prepared for emergencies, and specifically, customer injuries, and I want to share the following 5 tips so you can do the same.

The Only Time We've Had to FIRE a Customer at our Indoor Playground Business

The Only Time We've Had to FIRE a Customer at our Indoor Playground Business

The only time we’ve “fired” a customer happened a little over 6 months ago. While this was a difficult decision to make, it was necessary for the well-being and safety of our other customers. Unfortunately, not every family is going to share our philosophies or feel obligated to abide by our policies, so we have found it is easier to let those customers go and focus on the customers that do love and respect our space and our rules.

Speaking of rules, we at Climbing Vines Cafe & Play are big proponents of black-and-white rules with NO grey area, meaning that we work very hard every day to enforce our rules consistently. We currently have a “3 strikes, you’re out-for-the-day” policy, which seems to work well in most cases. Given that we serve mainly families with preschoolers and younger children, we understand that children in this age range can have difficult days.

5 Reasons to Book an Indoor Summer Birthday Party for your Child

5 Reasons to Book an Indoor Summer Birthday Party for your Child

If you live in an area like we do in Western New York with beautifully hot summers and cold snowy winters, you’ll know that your options for your child’s birthday party are largely dependent on the weather.

As an August baby, we always had small family parties outside at my house. But, with sons born in November and March, we are always left to book an indoor venue for their celebrations, if we chose to have them that year. While those with children with summer birthdays may seem lucky to have so many choices at their disposal, it can also often feel overwhelming.

While at Climbing Vines Cafe and Play may be biased since we host indoor parties, I wanted to share with you the 5 most common reasons we hear from previous party clients to book indoor summer birthdays with us. To them, the stress-free nature of the indoor summer party is a no-brainer, and they’re not looking back! After their first indoor summer party, they continue hosting with us year after year.


5 Things I Still Do Myself in My Indoor Playground Business

5 Things I Still Do Myself in My Indoor Playground Business

In an earlier blog post, I discussed the 7 things I no longer do in my indoor playground business as I have grown and matured as a business owner.

I referenced Michael Hyatt, who, in many of his books and programs continuously refers to designing your ideal days and weeks as “the desire zone.” Operating within your desire zone, as he describes it, simply means you are spending the bulk of your time doing what you both love AND are good at.
While there are many tasks I cut completely and some I delegate to better-suited team members, there are several duties that still lie within my “desire zone,” and that I feel are important for me to handle personally.  While this is constantly shifting as my priorities (both professionally and personally) evolve, these are 5 of the tasks that I’m not giving up just yet as a business owner.

6 Ways we Deliver an Above-and-Beyond Birthday Party Experience

6 Ways we Deliver an Above-and-Beyond Birthday Party Experience

At Climbing Vines Cafe & Play, we offer a variety of services from classes and camps to open-play and private events. It’s our adult and child-friendly birthday parties, though, that we have chosen as our focus.

While we, of course, put time and resources towards making each aspect of our business the best it can be, I have found that having one primary focus helps us best serve our customers. Having one top priority has also helped our indoor playground stand out against our local competition because we have established ourselves as the “go-to” premier venue for private birthday parties, particularly for children turning ages one, two, and three.

But creating a stellar reputation takes more than simply declaring a focus. It’s essential that you plan your entire process, from the very first customer touch point to the last, with this priority in mind. There are a few different ways that we go above and beyond with our birthday party process that gives our clients such an excellent experience that they not only book their events with us year after year, but they also refer their friends and family.