The Wishing Tree Play Café Offers Indoor Play Place for Kids, Relaxing Café for Parents
A time-out for a latte, a moment of peace, and a chance to sit down with a good friend and catch up are what busy moms dream of. Thankfully, The Wishing Tree Play Café in White Bear Township is a place they can do all of the above, all in the company of their kids.
That is the vision that Bryan and Jennie Enloe had in mind in the process of making the café a reality. Parents of five boys, ages 2 to 19, they realized just how challenging parenting could be. “We’ve been in the trenches at every level; we’re judgment-free—been there, done that, and still doing it with having a 2-year-old,” Jennie Enloe says.
With that in mind, they decided to create a place where anyone in the community could enjoy a relaxing venue, and one that was uniquely geared toward kids and families.
“We wanted a place where kids can be kids, and a place that embraces and encourages a family-friendly atmosphere,” Enloe says. The Wishing Tree Play Café is versatile enough for friends to come and chat over a cup of coffee, where moms can connect and come for play dates, or where community members can find nutritional items when craving healthy foods.
After brainstorming for several years about what that special place could be, the Enloes decided in January 2016 to make it happen. “We signed our lease within 30 days,” Enloe says. The process moved quickly and the next few months involved creating a design and developing the café’s concept with marketing and creative director Melissa Gacek. The Wishing Tree Play Café opened in mid-September.
“It’s comforting when you come in here, it’s calming; it’s like a parenting retreat,” says Gacek, who designed Coco, the strawberry-colored squirrel and mascot, Mi Amore, the hedgehog, Professor Hoots, the owl, and Miss Crema, the bear.
One of the first things you’ll notice is the beyond-spacious play area that every kid dreams of. The giant floor mat provides a place for kids to race across the room in little cars. And a large play structure spans the far wall for kids to climb in. With the puppet tree that allows kids to create a puppet show, a sensory pit for jumping in and even a miniature basketball court, kids will have endless hours of play. There is also a designated area for kids younger than 2, with large-muscle toys, climbers and relaxing seating for parents.
The café’s menu is filled with organic, nutritious choices that parents can feel good about feeding their kids, and themselves, too; the café was expanded earlier this winter to have more space for a nut-free bakery. Teas, coffees and espresso drinks for parents and caregivers to enjoy are also an option.
Enloe, who has added enrichment classes and workshops, as well as private and semi-private birthday parties to the mix, has witnessed numerous benefits the unique setting has provided families. “You see cell phones put away and people connecting; that’s rare nowadays,” she says. “There are lots of parents playing with their kids or relaxing while watching their children play.”
As families leave, you’ll see Enloe and staff waving goodbye. Enloe concludes with a smile: “We always say, ‘Thanks for coming over.’ ”