The “Five W’s” for Tree of Life Play + Cafe

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Many thanks to our partner Tree of Life Play + Cafe for hosting Kristin and her daughter so they could experience all that the play areas and cafe has to offer. While this is a sponsored post, we value the opinions of our contributors and the statements below are purely Kristin's (and her daughter's).

Tree of Life Play + Cafe

Who?

The Tree of Life Play + Cafe is an indoor/outdoor space with multiple play areas for children ages 5 and under. It’s also a fast-casual type of cafe/restaurant that serves a full menu including kids meals, adult meals, snacks, drinks, and a drool-worthy coffee selection. My daughter, who is four, had a blast during our time here and did not want to leave! Meanwhile, I enjoyed being able to sit, relax, and eat a full meal in relative peace.

What?

Inside, 1st Floor

Front Desk/Cafe: This is where you’ll check in and sign your waiver, if you haven’t done so online. This is also where you’ll order their delicious food and drinks! I had the Grilled Chicken Pesto Sandwich with fries, and it was hands-down amazing. My daughter also enjoyed her snacks of yogurt and apple juice.

Seating: There is plenty of seating on the first floor, as well as a small nook for kids to play in, located in the space underneath the staircase. High chairs are available, and each table was clean and stocked with napkins, silverware, and seasonings.

Bathrooms: These are in the back hallway just beyond the front desk. There are lots of stalls and, for a restroom that is shared with the neighboring trampoline park, they are quite clean!

Inside, 2nd Floor

Older Kids Area: This area features tunnels, a trampoline, a slide, ball pit, and a bridge, all properly padded for safety. One of the two interactive projection screens is just outside of this space, but all ages have access to it.

Younger Kids Area: This portion has a slide, blocks, sports balls, a caterpillar tunnel, and foam jungle gym cushions. The area has padded flooring and is entirely gated off to keep littles in, and older children aware of the space.

Mixed Ages Area: One of the two interactive projections screens is located in this space. It also houses multiple ride-on toys, walkers, activity cubes, miscellaneous infant toys, and the dramatic play stations with accessories, such as a cafe, grocery store, post office, and theatre.

Seating: There is ample seating on the second floor. High chairs are available, and each table was clean and stocked with napkins, silverware, and seasonings. I loved that I could sit at a table in front of the Mixed Ages Area and see both that space as well as the whole Older Kids Area. There are also couches located just outside of the Older Kids Area as well as two other comfy couches inside the Mixed Ages Area.

Nursing/Changing Room: While this room does not have a lock on it, I appreciated that there was a clean, private space with a changing station and a chair for nursing moms. There is a sign requesting that you knock before opening the door.

Small Concessions: While this was not open when we were there, it looks like you could get drinks refilled and additional condiments at the counter.

Outside

The patio space is small, but it was such a great option on a day with beautiful weather! It has a mini roller coaster, play houses, a picnic table, and a handful of ride-on toys. I loved that it was completely shaded, 100% fenced in, and had full-sized tables and chairs available for dining, working, or relaxing.

Where?

Tree of Life is located about three minutes off of I-270 in Hilliard. So no matter where you are on the outerbelt, it won’t take you long to get there! They are nestled in a strip mall, so trust in your directions when it’s guiding you through the parking lot.

When?

Open play hours are Mondays through Wednesdays from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays from 9 a.m.-8 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. -12:45 p.m. The play areas are closed Sundays. Cafe hours are the same as open play hours, with the addition of being open on Sundays from 11 a.m. -6 p.m. The kitchen opens daily at 11 a.m. As of 2/1/2019, admission is $9.99 per child, with additional siblings being $8.99. Parents and “crawlers” or younger are free. Admission is $7 after 5 p.m. I would be more willing to visit often if the price of admission would perhaps go towards any food purchases, but I am a frugal mom. They also offer monthly memberships for frequent flyers, which could prove more cost effective.

Why?

The Most Kid-Friendly Restaurant Ever: I can 100% see my husband and myself “going out to eat” here on occasion. The food I had was delicious, and I need to go back to try the coffee. The menu offers breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner options. What better way to have a quiet, uninterrupted meal for a change than to eat it while your kid(s) graze from their plates, run and play?

Work While They Play: In addition to free wifi, the majority of the tables up against the walls have outlets and USB ports. Maybe you’re a work from home parent or maybe you need to still put in a few hours on the days the kiddos are off school. Tree of Life has the resources, and the coffee, to help you do that while your progeny runs off some energy.

Spanning the Age Gap: If you have children older than five whom you’d trust to be more independent, but also have kids five and under, you can keep them both happy here. Because The Tree of Life shares a building with Get Air, you can check your older children in at the trampoline park and still be able to keep an eye on them via the huge bay of windows overlooking the park from the second floor of Tree of Life. You may conveniently sign the waiver for Jump + Play through Tree of Life’s website.

Cleanliness & Safety: I was impressed with how much cleanliness seemed to be a priority. There were hand sanitizing dispensers everywhere I looked, a bin for dirty/mouthed toys to be placed in for cleaning, and the bathrooms were quite well-kept. For a place that has so many kids running through it at any given time, I hardly saw a crumb left on the floor. As for safety, the rules of the space were clearly posted upstairs. There is only one way in and out of the second floor, and it was through a gate. With all the properly padded equipment and gated-off areas, I felt like my daughter was quite safe!

Tree of Life Play + Cafe Know Before You Go List

  1. Socks are a must for all children! No shoes are allowed in the indoor play areas. Adults may leave their shoes on.
  2. A waiver must be filled out and signed for all children. Submit it online before you leave the house, and save time at the check-in counter.
  3. No outside food is permitted. Water bottles, bottles for infants, and baby food are acceptable.
  4. The three indoor play areas are located on the second floor with stair access only.
  5. Parents/Caregivers are required to supervise children at all times.
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Kristin was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. Her previous job titles include Theatre Production Manager and Lead Teacher in the Toddler Room before the birth of her daughter transitioned her into the title of Stay At Home Mom. Kristin, her husband Tim, and their daughter Adelyn relocated here from Chicago in September 2016 with their assorted animals. Neither Kristin nor her husband had ever permanently lived anywhere besides the towns they grew up in. Moving their little family two states away from any kind of support system was scary and exciting! Columbus and its people welcomed them with open arms, and they absolutely love living here. Kristin likes to read, eat, drink loads of coffee, explore her new city and state, exercise, and work on renovating her house with her husband. Kristin is happy to be a member of the Gahanna Mom's Network and a part of the Columbus Mom's Blog team!