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.”