One of the coolest kids' indoor play spaces I've ever seen is opening in Evanston on February 13. Little Beans Cafe's first location in Lincoln Park has long been a favorite for kids with cabin fever and, based on my sneak peek of the new Evanston location, the trek north of the border is well worth it.
The new 14,500-square-foot Little Beans is filled with activities for kids of all ages. The play area is broken up into two sides: Little Beans (0-4) and Big Beans (5-12). The Little Beans side of the space is similar to the fun little village at the Lincoln Park location, but this time with a camp theme. Little campers can climb their way through a tree house, visit the ranger station and, of course, ride on toy cars and push grocery carts around the space. There is plenty of seating around the perimeter for parents to watch their kids explore.
The Big Beans side is unlike any activities offered at other play spaces in the Chicago area. The main event is the ninja warrior obstacle course that kids can climb, run and jump through (with staff assistance on hand). The best part? A zip-line that glides over a foam-filled pit. The course will be open during after-school hours and on the weekends.
There is also half-court gym open for all ages that will host a variety of drop-in activities as well as open play for kids to practice their skills. Adjacent to that is a karaoke room where kids can dress up, get on stage and perform their greatest hits. There is also a pin- pong table and an eye-to-eye interactive gaming system where kids can play soccer, pop balloons and jump on a giant piano on a large screen that’s projected onto the floor.
If that isn’t enough to keep your kids occupied for a few hours, there's also an art room, a library and classrooms where activities like dance, yoga and music will be provided by local community partners.
The space also holds a full-service café that's open to the public (even those sans kids) that serves Intelligentsia coffee, sandwiches, salads, pastries and more. There's even a drive-thru window for coffee on the go that opens a few hours before the play space does.
Look for camps and more classes to be added after the space opens on February 13, and for more information and tons of photos, check out our listing.