Walking through Detroit Kid City (with locations in Southfield and Clinton Township) is like stepping back in time – and straight into a dollhouse. You won’t see any plastic slides or ball pits at this indoor play cafe. Instead, you’ll discover a custom little town complete with a pint-sized automotive factory, bank, barbershop, post office, pizzeria and music studio, each designed to spark imaginative play.
Business is brisk, says general manager Garrett Dixon. “The community really needs something where parents interact with the kids,” he says.
Instead of zoning out on laptops while children run amok, adults are encouraged to join the fun. Duck through doorways and you’ll discover tiny rooms filled with Detroit antiques, vintage-inspired toys (many for sale in the gift shop), dress-up clothes and delightful surprises.
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In Hitsville U.S.A., your kids can rock out on acoustic instruments while you “record” them on vintage sound boards. At the miniature market, they’ll fill canvas bags with toy food, while you ring them up on an old-school cash register full of play money.
Sara Montgomery of Royal Oak sat on a soda-fountain stool one afternoon while her then-3-year-old daughter Veda served up felt pizza while wearing a gingham apron and oven mitts. Montgomery says they are regulars. “She loves all the pretend play,” Montgomery says. “And I always get inspired and think I want to decorate our own playroom like this.”
Parents can also spend some time drinking coffee or smoothies and eating snacks in the café area. Peek at the full menu on Detroit Kid City’s website.
In November 2015, Detroit Kid City expanded to include a second location in Clinton Township. This spot offers the same amenities as Southfield, but also features a mini Comerica Park baseball stadium and more cafe seating for parents.
Detroit Kid City is recommended for children 18 months-8 years old. Daily admission is $10, or free for adults and children under 12 months with purchase of any drink.
Visit from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays. Sundays are reserved for private parties.
This post was originally published in 2013 and has been updated for 2017.