A three-story playground will be one of the highlights at the new iPlay Experience, an indoor play center under construction in Kennewick intended for year-round use, but especially during cold winter months or sweltering summer days.
Standing 19 feet high and filling a large part of a 10,000-square-foot space, the indoor playground includes slides, tubes and other structures to crawl up, on and through.
In addition, there will be a virtual reality experience for up to four people at a time. The owners say this attraction will be the first of its kind in the state, with four different themes available, targeted to kids, teens and adults. The immersive experience recently won an industry award for best in category at an expo.
The idea for iPlay Experience, which is not a franchise, has been four years in the making, with an investment of $800,000 for remodeling work and play equipment.
“I wanted a mixture of activities that keep kids active,” said Alex Tasama, who owns the business with his wife, Lorena Santa. “We also wanted to combine it with new stuff, like art and sand tables. What we will offer is more interactive activities.”
iPlay Experience will be at 8524 W. Gage Blvd., Suite. B-110, next door to Fiesta Mexican Restaurant in Kennewick, in a building most recently occupied by Ares Athletic, about a block west of Columbia Center mall.
Tasama worked with the Tri-City Development Council, or TRIDEC, to create a business plan and get his dream off the ground. As a father and an engineer at Bechtel, Tasama said he saw the need for a place where children of all abilities would be able to move, play and be creative year-round.
The business is described online as “an upscale alternative for recreation and education of the children emphasizing socialization and producing unforgettable experiences.”
iPlay Experience will sell hot food and offer birthday parties that include pizza shaped like a cone, empanadas, desserts and beverages.
Tasama expects the entertainment center to accommodate at least 100 people at one time, based on the maximum capacity allotted to the previous tenant. He also expects to hire about 15 people.
Renovation work has been underway on the building since Dec. 1 with a targeted opening date in late January.
The couple signed a five-year lease for the property but expect to be in it for the long haul, or unless they decide to build their own building.
Tasama has been bolstered in his efforts to launch the business as a member of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. He says the nonprofit supports entrepreneurs and assists with getting a substantial investment like iPlay Experience off the ground.
“This is a homegrown thing. There’s nothing even close to this on the West Coast,” Tasama said. “None of this is put together the way it is in any other place. You might find something similar to the playground, but you won’t find that combined with the sand or the art, or the surprise attraction.”
Admission will be based on the height of a child, targeting those 36 inches and above with one rate, and toddlers below 36 inches with a discounted rate.
Two hours of play time Monday through Thursday will cost $20.99 for children and $14.99 for toddlers, and the price increases to $24.99 and $16.99 Friday to Sunday and holidays.
The virtual reality experience is an additional price, starting at $9.99 for those 48 inches and above, with discounts offered on combining admission with food or multiple admissions.
Prices apply only to children and not to the adults who bring them, though adults are welcome to play alongside the kids.
Annual family memberships cost $43.99 and will include a discount on regular admission and birthday parties. Discounts also will be offered to military service members. Caregivers will have the option of watching or dropping children off for supervised play for up to three hours at a time, including during after-school hours.
Renovation work has been completed by Western Restaurant Supply & Design of Kennewick and the marquee was created by Quality Signs of Kennewick. Artmil of Kennewick designed the graphics and webpage.
iPlay Experience plans to be open seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; from 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays; from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays; from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays; and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.
Follow updates about the business’ opening date on its Facebook page.
Daily and Monthly NewsSign up now!