City Kids: Be With Me Playseum


City Kids is written by Takoma, DC resident Caroline. Caroline previously wrote about DC’s spray parks.

The Be With Me Playseum, with locations in Bethesda and Eastern Market, is a great destination for rainy days or days when the Zoo or Smithsonian Museums are not an option (hopefully this will not be the case again for a long time).

The space is set up with a series of “City Shops”—small rooms, each with a different theme.  Inside are a variety of related toys and activities.  We spent our time in the mini-sized grocery store, pet store (with real animals!), art area, and fire and construction zone.  Other areas include a mini pizzeria, kitchen (with real appliances so kids can help make a treat to take home), and a tiny doctor’s office.  The activities available included books, puzzles and games, toys, dress-up gear, and in some cases, regular adult equipment that a kid could check out up close, like a phone, typewriter, or cash register.

Staff facilitate a daily story time and are available for assisting with activities.  Some activities were available at an additional cost, such as the kiddie spa services (nail painting and lip gloss), advanced art projects like painting a birdhouse, or baking cookies or cupcakes.  There was more than enough among the basic activities to keep us busy and entertained for the duration of our visit, however.

Our only disappointment was that my daughter wanted to play with dolls.  I promised her there would be dolls…aren’t there always?  Well, no, there are not always dolls.  We didn’t find dolls in any of the activity areas, but there was enough other interesting stuff that it was ok.

I had heard among the parent network that the Playseum was dirty and unsanitary.  I didn’t find this to be the case.  To be sure, there is that little kid patina that you might find at a preschool or daycare, but not to an unpleasant level.  There is bound to be wear and tear on items that get such heavy use.  I found no problem, and will be back to visit again.

Where: Bethesda: 7000 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20815; DC: 545 8th Street SE, Washington, DC 20003
When: Monday-Saturday 9am-6pm, Sunday 1pm-6pm.
Cost: $7 for everyone over 11 months.”

7 Comment

    • Why is it funny? I had read the website before going–noting the religious bent–but did not find anything heavy-handed at the Playseum (and this is something I keep an eye toward for my daughter). Nothing to see here, IMHO.

  • gotryit

    That looks like a lot of fabricated drama. And I am very sensitive to (don’t like) people trying to proselytize. But I would take my kids there anytime.

    • They claim not to prosthelitize, but they also attract evangelicals and the whole thing just weirds me out. There are so many better alternatives for my kids anyway.

      ultimately I don’t feel comfortable there, which pretty much seals it

  • I’ve never been in this place, but I walk past it a couple times a day. It always gave off a creepy vibe to me– dark and sad-looking. And I hate how the play areas are plastered in advertisements (e.g. something set up to look like a beach has a sign for a cruise line service hanging on it).

  • My daughter loves it there. She really was excited going room to room. At her age (2), other people’s toys are he best. Any silly drama about the place comes second to the fact that my daughter just has fun there!

  • I have only been to the Capitol Hill location, so I can’t speak for the other location, but I found the rooms and items to be very tired and worn. No, not necessarily unsanitary, but really the whole place could use a face lift. And the place is just generally dim and cramped. It’s fine if your choices are limited but I wouldn’t go out of my way.

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