As you’ve probably discovered, drop-in childcare is not very common in Memphis. Mother’s Day Out programs abound, but drop-in care, not so much. That said, we’ve rounded-up several options. Some centers provide childcare so you can run errands, others offer respite, letting kids play while you enjoy a latte. Parents look for convenience, reliability, and safety in a center, and that’s what these outlets aim to deliver. They also provide a great option for birthdays.
Owner Julie Lewis opened the city’s first retail drop-in facility in 2007. “That first year, we had to remove the glaze from people’s eyes,” says she, since most were unfamiliar with this kind of business. Lewis even did a survey to find out how far people would drive for her services (most said 5 miles). Yet, “When we opened, we realized we were more broad-reaching than we realized.” Today, she’s still going strong and looks forward to celebrating her seventh anniversary in November. The center offers two, three-hour cycles of planned activities with amenities that include air hockey, dress-up, a small climbing gym, train tables, and a media room.
- Where: East Memphis (579 Erin) • 761-7529
- Rates: $10/hr. one child, $3/per additional child. $8/prepaid. Ages 12 mos. to 12 yrs.
- Hours: Mon.-Thurs., 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri. 8 a.m.-11 p.m. and Sat. 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Sun. closed.
The city’s newest drop-in play center opened March 2014. Kid City offers hourly care, a Mother’s Day Out program, and a full-week preschool program. Owner Stephanie Okhiria says she was inspired by her own need for childcare. “I loved Kid Station and decided to open a place that would provide a similar service.” Amenities include an electronic game room, a movie theatre, an art room, and a stage where kids can play musical instruments. Bring your own snacks or purchase a lunch.
- Where: Cordova (1605 Germantown Pkwy.) • 333-1010
- Rate: $10/hr. for one child, $3/per sibling. Ages 12 mos.-12 yrs.
- Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri. 7 a.m.-midnight, Sat. 10 a.m.-midnight
Pump It Up Bartlett
This room of inflatables is a great place for kids to blow off steam. In addition to inflatables, you’ll find vending machines, water fountains, and air hockey tables. The center also offers playtimes for preschoolers on Mondays and Tuesdays from 10-11:30 a.m. Parents on duty. Kids under 34” must be accompanied by an adult.
- Where: Bartlett (8000 Hwy. 64, 38133) • 386-8700
- Admission: $7.68/preschool jump, 1.5 hours
- Hours: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Parties and special events available with membership
This indoor funhouse features an 18-foot high play structure, jungle gym, a bouncy house, and inflatables as well as building toys and a train set. A café serves snacks, hot beverages, and you can order Mellow Mushroom pizza delivered. Parents must be on duty.
- Where: Germantown (9155 Poplar Ave.) • 758-1015
- Admission: $9/per child, all day play.
- Hours: Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Thurs. til 7 p.m. Sat. 9 a.m.-noon. Specials available.