Children’s center with two-story playhouses opens in Gladstone Park





by BRIAN NADIG

An indoor play center featuring two-story playhouses for children 10 years old and younger recently opened in the Gladstone Park commercial corridor.

“They’re custom-built,” said Airish Solis, one of the owners of Mini City on 21, 5900 N. Milwaukee Ave. “ I just did a design and sent it to a company in Minnesota, and they built them. We painted them here.”

The playhouses include a salon, a pet store and a firehouse with a winding slide, and there also is a rock climbing wall, a waiting lounge for parents and a concession stand. The “21” in the center’s name refers to Milwaukee Avenue, which is Route 21.

Since the center’s opening on Nov. 6, reaction from area families has been overwhelmingly positive, Solis said. “They’re glad because there’s been nothing like this in the neighborhood,” she said. “They can walk over.”

Solis, a former art teacher, said that her motivation for opening Mini City stemmed in part from looking for places for her child to play and attending birthdays at play centers. “After the first one or two parties, I was thinking that I should have my own (playland),” she said.

The approximately 4,000-square-foot center is located in a building whose previous occupants included a real estate firm. Solis said that she was familiar with the area because her husband works about a block away and that sometimes she would help watch the children of the workers there.

Mini City is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays. On Sundays, the facility may be closed for private parties, Solis said.

The cost is $10 for the first child and $8 for the second, and parent/guardian supervision is required. The center is intended for children up to 10 years old.

The center’s Web site states that there are plans for enrichment classes, including, art, drama and fitness.