In the past few years the Long Beach area has gone from nearly zero indoor play spaces to at least a couple opening up a year. Parents of preschoolers may remember when GIGIL first opened in Cal Heights in 2017, after some administrative issues and working out licensing issues with the city, they were forced to close after a super popular, but short opening. Good news, GIGIL fans: it’s back!
GIGIL has reopened in a super cute new space at 3430 N. Los Coyotes Diagonal in Long Beach. Inside you’ll find small climbing structures, sensory play opportunities, and lots and lots of imaginative and pretend play activities. (Not sure what it is about pretending to sell ice cream, but toddlers are OBSESSED with it.)
The space is owned and operated by Long Beach local mom and entrepreneur, Michelle Davis. She’s definitely an all-around badass mom of Long Beach and is able to wrangle multiple businesses while also wrangling her two toddlers. “My goal for GIGIL is to create a space for parents and kids to be themselves,” she explains. “It can be difficult to find your village while parenting young kids, I hope GIGIL can help open up that opportunity for parents in Long Beach.”
While GIGIL will offer drop-in play opportunities, the space is so much more than just and indoor play area. The first thing you’ll notice upon walking in is the detail to design with chic floors and art throughout, certainly not the type of space you’ve seen elsewhere covered in Minion and Elsa decals. Not here. They also offer lots of classes throughout the day, including yoga for kids, pilates for parents (while their kids play in the play space), breakdancing, art sessions, storytime sessions, and much, much, more.
As a long-time freelancer and entrepreneur, Michelle has sought to provide a service she has longed for as a work-from-home parent: a collaborative workspace geared for parents. That’s right, GIGIL will have wifi, coffee and a whole area for grown-ups to pop open their laptops and get a couple of hours of work done while the kiddos are keeping busy in the play space. (As I write this article my toddler keeps trying to “help me work” by pulling my laptop, so I’m CERTAINLY looking forward to this coworking space for parents feature of GIGIL.
They officially open on Saturday, December 15th, and they recommend booking ahead of time on their website to save time at the door. Diversity, acceptance and friendship are cornerstone’s of the GIGIL philosophy, one which Long Beach has embraced wholeheartedly.
If you’re not familiar with Steelcraft, they call themselves an “outdoor urban eatery,” entire built with repurposed shipping containers. They have consistent programming of live music, shopping pop-ups, and even have played host to LB Littles events.
We’ve always been big fans of the fair, and for us the OC Fair is a bit easier to get to than the LA Fair in Pomona. Good news: the OC Fair is open and will be running every Wednesday–Sunday until August 12th with the theme “Free Your Inner Farmer.”
It’s no surprise that a kid-friendly brand has popped up for the month of July in one of the two retail spaces at The Hangar. If you’re not familiar with Youth Independent Party (YIP), you’re missing out.
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