What’s to Love: Playdate PDX features a 7500 square foot indoor play space for kids, which is certainly one of the nicest I’ve seen in the last three years of Portland Family Adventures. The facility is perfect for parents who want to both interact with their kids and relax a bit. The business model is another home run in a town that offers so many great opportunities for families.
While similar to other indoor-play-focused-businesses, PlayDate PDX utilized warehouse space in Portland’s Pearl District, and put together some nice touches that fit-in well with the area including plenty of table seating, leather couches, private party rooms, television screens (with sports the day I was there), beer, wine, Stumptown coffee, and a thoughtfully designed cafe menu.
The centerpiece of this establishment is the massive playstructure featuring some nice slides and staff members roaming each of the three floors-of-fun. Also, I liked the addition of a toddler play area that is separated from the rest of the structure. Hats, coats, shoes, etc. are all stored right outside the structure in cubbies.
In addition to the playstructure, the designers added two extra pieces that make it SO worth your money! There is a whole separate space featuring air cannons that launch foam balls across the room. The interplay with other families could potentially be mean-spirited, but I found this to be playful and fun for everyone.
The other surprise was a dance floor that illuminates with many different activities and games. The floor is controlled by a touch-computer-screen and is very easy to operate. Our favorite game was “Dodgeball.” In their version, a light bounces around the floor, and you have to constantly move in order to avoid it touching your feet. Essentially, it’s a bunch of kids and adults playing hot potato with their feet! Very fun!!! Here is a short clip…
Caveats: While staff members are in the structure itself, it’s not possible for them to monitor everything that happens. Perhaps we’re a bit overprotective, but I don’t like sending my kids into these structures by themselves at this point, if it’s crowded. There really is no “right way” to proceed through the structure, and I did notice some kids bumping into each other here and there. (see “Parental Stress Factor” below).
Wear socks!!! If you don’t bring them, you’ll be asked to purchase some at PlayDate PDX. Outside food is not allowed.
Website: PlayDate PDX
Distance from Portland: Downtown Portland – Pearl District. Here is a Google Map.
Recommended Ages: Currently, there are no age restrictions. Parents, caregivers, grandparents, older brothers/sisters, etc.. can go into the playstructure with younger kids. Probably best for kids 8 and younger.
Parental Stress Factor: Low – Medium. Since each level of the playstructure is monitored by staff members, it’s pretty casual and low stress. Since it gets very crowded during their busy times, there obviously is potential for conflicts between kids and parents. While there, I did see several parents complaining of “…big kids in there intimidating smaller kids.” The staff members were right on top of this and went into the playstructure to talk to the kids. This type of conflict is inevitable, and it certainly was at a manageable level and handled professionally.
There is no formal check-in/check-out system with your kids. This might cause some parents stress. If it does, you may want to stay with your child the entire time they’re in PlayDate PDX.
Physical Difficulty: Not difficult; however the structure itself is primarily designed for kids. In some spots, you’ll have to bend down and crawl.
The building and entrance is handicap-accessible. There are some staff members who could assist kids with physical limitations. You may want to call in advance and talk this over with the manager/owner.
Family Fun Factor: High! We had a great time here, and I definitely recommend checking it out.
Pet Friendly: N/A
Weather Considerations: Great for rainy days! In warmer weather, they can open up the garage door, which is a very nice feature.
Insider Info: They do have some off-street parking spots in front of the business, which are supposed to be for compact cars. I did notice a couple SUVs jammed in there. However, there are many more spaces behind the business with some street parking available close by as well.
I like the private party rooms that they built along the outside of the main room. These are great for family gatherings, private parties, or birthday parties.
Admission prices can add up quickly. If you’re planning on returning, check-out some of their deals:
- Player Pass: 10 visits at 12% off ($70/child or $35/toddler)
- Royal Player Pass: 25 visits at 25% off ($150/child or $75/toddler)
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