The Busy Bee Indoor Playground, located at 296 Millburn Avenue in Millburn, is a drop-in play space for children ages 0-6.
Laura Thompson, a Maplewood resident, opened The Busy Bee in March 2018. As a new mom, Laura saw a real void in nearby indoor play options. After the birth of her daughter, Laura felt instantly isolated. She longed to have a cup of coffee and sit while her baby could be free to play. She had heard of play spaces nearby, but she could never get to them with all the feedings, naps and first time mom hesitations. Then, when her son was born two years later, she had to juggle two schedules and personalities. She thought this would finally be the impetus to get her onto the highway and into different spaces, but she realized it was even harder to go further than 10 minutes away without messing up any sort of nap time routine. On the rare occasion they made it to a play-space birthday party, it was THE BEST. The kids had a blast, and she could chat with friends and drink her beloved coffee. So finally, after LOTS of long talks and thought, she decided to jump in and open a local indoor playground (with the help of her husband).
After searching for a space in several surrounding communities, Laura settled on a brand new building in Millburn. She loves the location and the downtown vibe. Her space is 3,000 square feet of colorful fun, divided into several sections. The front reception area is where they have The Busy Bee Boutique (a small selection of toys) as well as a Keurig coffee machine and bagged snacks. The main playground floor has a large play structure (slides/monkey bars/climbing), a grocery store, a vintage camper van with baby dolls and play kitchen inside, a construction house with dress up tool belts and hard hats, and a vanity section with four areas to act as a hairdresser/stylist. There is also a separate 2 and under zone that still allows for visibility of the main floor.
In the back of the space is a separate classroom/craft room/party room where all events are held. Every Wednesday between 11 and 11:30 is craft time. They also hold various pop up events (Little Moving Artist, Slime workshops, etc.) and birthday parties on weekends after the open play hours of 9am-12pm.
Laura loves giving parents a space where their kids can have fun while they get to relax, judgement free. Her goal was to build a safe space where parents wouldn’t have to worry about their kids getting hurt, running outside and into the road, or playing with over stimulating electronic toys.
The Busy Bee is open seven days a week for open play.