With its colorful built-in structures, multiple play stations and lots of nooks & crannies, Hideout Playground in Oak Park is a magical oasis for kids and their parents. “We love it here,” said Thousand Oaks resident Dottie Hutchens, whose been bringing her granddaughter, Hailey, 5, for the past two years.
Hailey agrees. “They have lots of fun activities,” she said. “I especially like jumping on the trampoline.”
Recently selected as one of the best indoor playgrounds in LA by Mommynearest.com, Hideout is not a typical indoor playground. Owner and artist Sherry Ehya designed the 3,100 square foot space from the ground up. “I wanted to make something for kids of all ages, something unique and different,” said the mother of three young children. “I didn’t want to bring in all these plastic toys. I wanted to build something.”
Ehya’s goal was to create a space she couldn’t find anywhere else, locally–a safe, clean yet fun environment for her then four-year-old and six-month-old. Even the business’ name and logo offers a whimsical touch. “My son loves the Sandra Boynton books,” said the Agoura Hills resident.”In the A to Z book, an owl represents the letter “O.” I loved how the owl is hiding behind the letter. It looked like he was hiding out. Then I thought that our playground would be like a hideout for kids.”
Working with a graphic artist, she designed the logo with the owl peeking through the “O.” “Now I’m known all over town as the ‘hideout lady,'” she said.
Opened in March of 2014, the space is divided into two rooms by a load-bearing wall, so Ehya crafted distinct areas for kids and their parents. One side houses a lounge/library with built-in picnic tables for food and parties; the other, multiple play stations replete with an art studio, musical stage (with instruments), dress-up vanity (with costumes), toddler room, a two-story treehouse. “I wanted the feel to be homey, very warm and cozy,” she said.
The playground’s centerpiece is the Treehouse, custom designed by an architect who is a family member. As you enter the premises, the Treehouse immediately draws attention. The expansive, box-like structure features a ladder, a climbing wall, slides and plexiglass windows.
In addition to the playground and its toys, Ehya offers weekly arts & crafts events which are included with the price of admission. “We’ll do everything from seasonal to science to holiday crafts,” she said. “For Earth Day, for example, we’ll make potted plants for the kids to take home.”
Ehya prides herself in paying meticulous attention to every detail, especially when it comes to throwing birthday parties. “No one else offers what we do,” she said. All parties are private and range in price from the $299 Value Package (bring your own food) to the deluxe Ultimate Hideout at $875. And Ehya is involved in every process, from setting up to creating personalized goody bags and specialized backdrops. “We want all of our guest to feel special, like VIPs,” she said.
Ehya’s fastidiousness also translates into cleanliness. “I guarantee you won’t find a cleaner place, not another school or playground, not even your house!” she said. “This is very important. First, I want to maintain our reputation. Second, I have small kids, and I don’t want to get sick and bring it home.”
Her clientele is very appreciative. “I have a 16-year-old who loves to come here with my [younger daughter],” said Robin Schaffner, who often brings her two-year-old daughter, Parker. “She keeps saying she wishes there was a place like this when she was little.”
Very involved in the community, Ehya often takes Hideout on the road, setting up tables at various events throughout the City of Agoura Hills and Oak Park. She also hosts events for charitable organizations like the March of Dimes, Stroller Strides and local schools. “I wish I could do more,” she said. “I love helping the community.”
For more information or to book a party at Hideout Playground, go to http://www.hideoutplayground.com/.