Raising children in the city isn’t always easy. But you can’t beat the walking access to parks, playgrounds, restaurants, and kid-centric activities. Philadelphia became even more kid-friendly when NEST opened its doors in 2011 – and being three blocks away, I was one of the first in the door.
A safe kids playspace in the city was such a simple and necessary commodity that many people I know – including myself – had toyed with the idea of how to make that happen. But three city-loving families were the first to make it a reality, joining forces to open a kid-centric, parent-friendly enrichment center, and indoor playground located in the heart of Center City Philadelphia.
NEST creates an inviting childhood-meets-neighborhood oasis inside more than 12,000 sq. ft. on three levels. With room to park double-wide strollers, NEST’S easy-access ground level gives young urban families much to explore. The site offers a portrait photography studio, kids’ salon, specialty toy and clothing boutique (which carries Spit That Out!), a lounge with coffee and organic snacks, and a full-service Green Eggs Café serving up kid-friendly brunch. Hop one level down and there is a 3,000 sq. ft. nature-themed playspace “NEST Play” with dedicated party and playdate areas. The space also serves as an activity hub for developmentally rich educational programming where kids can take classes designed by local leaders in occupational therapy, early childhood development, and the arts.
So, of course, my first question: how green is it? While renovating the space the owners installed Flor carpet in the playspace that is “cradle to cradle” certified and uses no glue or toxic chemicals. They also used a recycled rubber flooring made to look like bamboo on the first floor. They even have longterm plans to do an urban roof garden, which would be pretty impressive!
They also use only Seventh Generation cleaning products – something that I like to credit myself for whether or not it’s entirely true. What I do know is that when the space first opened, I saw conventional cleaners being used and said something to a manager. The manager got in a small debate with me over the merits of botanical disinfectants, which I assured him were scientifically proven to prevent the spread of germs. The next time I came in, I saw a sign proudly boasting the use of Seventh Generation. I don’t know if I was the one who personally made the impact, but I do know that a business open to suggestion and sustainable change is a business I can support!
Fall Semester classes begin September 10 and include several new classes as well as popular classics like music, movement, cooking, and “mommy + me.”
The current membership pricing structure is $45/month for green members and $60/month for purple members, with a $100 enrollment fee. All memberships include unlimited play space access, something invaluable on cold, hot, or rainy days. Mention “Spit That Out” and NEST will waive your enrollment fee.