Words and photography by Kelly Caster
If you are a Denton parent with small children then you have probably wondered why in the world there is not an indoor play area, aside from the library, that isn’t attached to a fast food restaurant in Denton. We love our dear sweet town but once we are knee deep in a sweltering Texas summer we find ourselves bargaining with the good Lord to help us get through summer with our kids without losing our sanity. Read on to find out how Amy and Brian Holt have come to rescue your sanity year round by creating an indoor space solely dedicated to pretend play.
The Holt’s saw a play-space shaped need in Denton and stepped in to fill it. After being inspired by playscape experiences, they found that our town was lacking a space that was both fun and safe for kids who may be overwhelmed by an environment like Going Bonkers or Kid Mania. Those businesses offer great opportunities for physical play but are often loud and can be overstimulating. The Holt’s mentioned how Denton Public Library has provided a place for pretend play when there wasn’t much else indoors in Denton. According to an article in Psychology Today titled “The Need for Pretend Play” imaginative play is a very important part of a child’s development.
Penny’s Playtown, which was named after the Holt’s dog Penny, is located in the Stonehill Center near Rose’s Costumes. There is ample parking and the lot isn’t overly busy, which is important when you are crossing the street with young children in tow. There is a small coffee and tea bar and comfortable seating for adults to sit while observing their kids engage in exciting dramatic play. The bathroom includes a changing table, step stools for the toilet and sink and even a child sized potty seat (all important things to have when you are in the throes of potty training). It is perfectly set up for parents with small children in a range of ages.
The Playtown is divided into several different sections that are jam packed with fun. There is a clinic, cafe, grocery store, library, gymnasium, camping, musical space, police/fire station, house, puppet theater, large blocks and small block play area, and even an arts and craft station. When we asked my 4 year old how he liked his visit he asked when we could come back and play again. He said he especially enjoyed playing dress up in the police station. The Holt’s and the staff were very friendly and welcoming. We recommend visiting Denton’s newest playscape and look forward to our next visit.
Admission price for open play at Penny’s Playtown is $8.50 per child Monday through Saturday 9:00 A.M.-5:00 P.M. If you have a larger family like mine you pay $6.50 for additional siblings after the first $8.50 admission price. Adults and infants not yet walking get in free. Penny’s Playtown officially opens it’s doors April 24th at 9:00 A.M. located at 5800 I-35 N #402 Denton, TX 76207.