By Liz Witbeck
A new family friendly entertainment option for children has opened in Clifton Park Center Mall.
The Giggle Lounge offers a variety of fun, imaginative play activities for children. The space is designed for children ages 8 and younger.
It consists of an indoor playground that accommodates many kinds of activities. It stresses hands-on activities that allow for creativity. The facility features a car fix-it area, a bakery, a grocery store, wooden structures kids can play in, and more. There is also an art room that engages children in a variety of projects.
The space covers 1,500 square feet.
“My kids were my biggest inspiration” for starting the business, said owner Traci Montanino. She has two children, ages 11 and 2.
She said she had been considering the idea for a while and as her children grew older. It was her observation during those years that “the industry had not changed at all. There was nothing available for good old-fashioned imaginative play.”
Montanino blames a lot on the current focus on electronic devices designed to entertain kids.
"Children don't know how to entertain themselves anymore," he said.
She offers classes in creative arts, jewelry making, cookie and cupcake decorating and Lego building, among others.
The Giggle Lounge provides a space where children can engage in supervised creative play, while adults can also relax. There is a café that features coffee and espresso drinks, handcraft lemonades, smoothies and frappes. Parents are able to spend time chatting with people, while simultaneously keeping an eye on their children while they play.
"This is a way to meet other parents who have children around the same age group" said Montanino. "We have people come in and say 'Wow, finally a place for me."
The facility's location inside of the Clifton Park Center Mall also makes it convenient for families who are doing other errands or activities during the day.
The Giggle Lounge also offers birthday parties for children.
Prior to opening the business, Montanino worked as a nanny. She has more than 15 years of experience in event planning and in the fashion industry.
The Giggle Lounge has a sliding admission fee, with $12 for the first child and varying rates for each additional child. The venue is free for adults. There is all-day admission, so families are welcome to leave and come back throughout the day.
The business is open Monday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 383-3386 or visit their Facebook page.