Sometimes we enjoy taking our little one to a place where they won’t be short of games, toys and stimulation. As much we enjoy giving the best fun to our little one, not all kids playgrounds are suitable for infants. Here are baby-friendly Kid Café’s that are suitable for babies (under 24months) that is also good for adults.
A day out at Mini Mars is not cheap, but then again it is also worth every yuan in your pocket. It is two stories of fun, balls and chutes. Although older kids may enjoy the climbing wall and the princess room, there is also a special section just for the under 24 months.
Entrance: RMB248 (1 baby, 1 guardian), additional guardian RMB50 ** memberships available for 5, 15, 25 and unlimited access per year
Environment: The Playzone is filled with two stories of fun and engaging activities. The first floor has a large ball pen for mixed ages. And there is a separate babies only corner (until 24 months) which has shopping carts and walkers. The second floor includes a lego and sandpit, a private party room and a princess corner.
Food: The menu is extremely varied and the food is impressive. Tacos to sandwiches and coffee. It has a great combination of savory meals and also sweet treats, like their milkshakes. They don’t offer much baby food, so if you go there during meal time you should come prepared.
Hygiene: Anyone who comes into Mini Mars have to check in their shoes in a locker. Socks are provided for everyone. You and your baby will have to wash and disinfect hands before and after entering the play zone. If you are worried about the playpen balls, they clean them once a week with water and baby detergent and replace all of them once a month.
MD Top Pick: It’s large, engaging and not unmanageably crowded (weekday and weekend). Also, the adults who accompany the baby are usually the parents. You won’t see many nannies here or grandparents.
Address: 428 Jiangning Lu
Tel: 021 6155 5725
Right in the middle of Jing’an District, Twinkle Café is both convenient to get to and with its location inside Shanghai Center getting on or off a taxi is a breeze. All you need to do is go up from within the hotel to the second floor and go around the back of the Ritz Bar. Not super friendly if you have a big stroller, but if you are using a baby carrier it is a breeze.
Entrance: The price for entry at Twinkle Café is RMB188 (weekdays) and RMB218 on the weekends for a baby with each visit not exceeding 3 hours. Kids under 6mos for free.
Environment: Twinkle Café at the Shanghai Center (there is also one in Pudong which we have not reviewed yet) is compact in size compared to the other locations, but the offering is essentially the same with different experience zones that cater to young toddlers. From a ball pen to a princess play, a private party room in the center and the highly controversial toddler manicure/pedicure spa.
Stokke beds are available so if you have a sleepy infant, they can nap at ease. There are no specific baby zones, so parents will need to be alert.
On the plus side, the staff can take care of your baby and play with them while mom or dad can enjoy their drink or food. We love how the café integrates with the play area allowing a much closer bond for parent and baby.
Food: The food menu and presentation is probably on the side closer to fine dining. They also have amazing cocktails for moms who need to unwind. After all, there are staff members on site that can play. Expect everything from pasta to ice cream and waffles.
MD Top Pick: We like Twinkle because the staff here are so friendly with the babies they will actually entertain your child, giving you time to enjoy a cup of coffee or a dessert.
Puxi: 1376 Nanjing West Road, Shanghai Center, Unit 212 (Tel: 021 6289 8569)
Pudong:1192 Century Avenue, Century Link Mall, 3 Floor (Tel: 021 58887 7577)
Ant & Grasshopper
Ant & Grasshopper is a swanky cafe with an extensive kiddie play area located inside Joy City mall that is next to JW Marriot Chang Feng Park, there is a lot there that this location has to offer. Gymboree is located (right upstairs), Pur Cotton and Babe Max is just around the corner
Entrance: RMB188 per baby. Unlimited hours during the weekday, 3 hours per visit on the weekend.
Environment: The bottom floor has a crawling racecourse space that is perfect for the little crawlers. And there is the standard supermarket and baby pizzeria. If you allow your little one to go into the ball pen, there is a gigantic one (workers told me they clean and disinfect every day and replaces the balls every month).
Food: The menu offers spritzes for adults, pizzas and sweet things like crepes. As well as pastas which are quite delicious.
Hygiene: We are quite impressed with how clean everything is and also the set up of the space, which provides a multi-dimensional environment. What we felt could be improved is the smell of cigarettes outside the fire exits. But, we do enjoy this place overall because of its proximity to shops, which allows for a multi-dimensional experience for parents and, allow us to squeeze in errands while en route to playing.
MD Top Pick: It is quiet, we like the fact you can play there for an unlimited amount of time during the weekdays and the place is engaging for play by the baby. We also liked how clean everything was and how they separated the bigger kids and the little baby area.
Address: 196 Da Du He Lu, Chang Feng Joy City, 2FL
Tel: 021 6124 5877
Entrance: RMB238 (weekdays), RMB268 (weekends) and any child who is under 12 months is half price (3 hours play)
Environment: It is spacious with every area extremely baby crawling friendly. Despite the tree and dangling sofa’s, there is a lot for the under 24months to explore without feeling they are trampled by older kids.
Food: Food is Chinese-styled western food. So expect a sweeter than most egg quiche or sweet creamed pasta. Overall, they do offer purées and soft kids menu which is great so you do not have to worry if you have packed enough for an afternoon.
Hygiene: The place is not crawling with kids and the ball pens are not in a dark area so we do find the place to be clean and the toys immaculate.
MD Top Pick: For the price (especially under 12 mos) is quite worth it. However, we find the normal price to be expensive. Their changing area plus bathroom area is spacious and inviting. One of the best of all the kid cafe’s we have been to.
Address: 810, Longhua East Rd, Area 8, 1st Floor
Tel: 021 5308 7116
If you live within the city but want something a little quieter on the weekdays, Balloon Island will be one to visit. Not only is it located inside Raffles City Changning Center, but you can also manage some adult shopping.
Entrance: The fees to enter is at RMB198 for weekday, and on the weekend it is RMB298 (which on Dianping includes two types of selected snacks)
Environment: The title says it all, it is all about balls. But don’t worry, we were told they clean the balls every night and sanitize the entire playground after closing each night. There are two stories, first is the ball pen and the second is a themed playroom.
Food: The food for adults lean towards the Chinese tastebuds, so expect the savory snacks like shrimp chips, skewers. The only highlight is the soufflé pancake, which is absolutely soft and delicious. Another plus is, their staff members are really helpful to engage your child so you can also have some adult time alone. But, this is only when it is in non-peak time. When we went it was a midday afternoon, so we had two to three staff doting over our little one.
Hygiene: There are a lot of balls…hence, the name Balloon Island. But we are assured they are cleaned and disinfected daily. Balloon Island in Pudong has a magnificent space which is almost akin to an adult playground with parent and me classes for kids to enjoy.
Puxi: Raffles City (Changning), East Block, 3FL, 12-13 (Tel:021 6230 0368)
Pudong: 680 Pudong Cheng Lu, 2FL, 202 (Tel: 021 5838 1866)
Located in Putuo district, Yummy Mummy is the neighborhood play area you can consider taking your little one. They offer the standard ball pen, miniature slide, grocery shop and even a princess dress up area.
Entrance: RMB88 (for under 12 months, it is free)
Environment: The café area opens into the play zone so babies can crawl around amongst the adults. Their high chair also comes equipped with inflatable cushions so tiny babies can squeeze in comfortably.
Food: There are even baby purées available so if your little one needs something to eat, you can have a light snack.
Hygiene: There is the standard temperature check as well as, hand sanitizing. The place looks clean and seems like it has been dusted. The only thing that would make this a cleaner environment is if it is located in another location where there is an elevator within walking distance to the cafe, and clear drop-off/pick up area for cars to stop.
Address: 1600 Jiangning Lu, 201-4
Tel: 021 6147 0017
Over 5,000m2 of play space, dining, merchandise and classes. This place is ginormous.
Entrance: RMB298 for one baby and two adults. Unlimited time for play.
Environment: This is an amazing set up with DIY station and, book corners (including books for sale), the set up is spacious. The restrooms are perfectly set up to have adult and kiddie bathrooms together and the playroom intertwines through the café via an inner tube, which has many kids, babies and adults crawling through it—we did it and absolutely had a blast!
Food: Food is best described as generic western and tend to be on the oily side. The pizza was drenched in oil but we did notice a good selection of kids menu and baby purées, which is helpful if you do not want to bring your own food.
Hygiene: Like other kid café’s, you get the thermometer check, take away socks and hand sanitizer. However, this place is packed. Apparently, they take kids here by the busloads! Not only are there babies, but they also have a lot of older kids (until 8) so it is really rowdy. And, adults that come enjoy taking naps inside the ball pens.
Address: 3788 Dou Hui Rd, Building 5
Tel: 021 333 60060
For more updates, click “here” for our Restaurant page which will be updated regularly to review new play areas.
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Last updated May 12th 2020