Distinctive Concept Opens for Youngsters and Adults Alike
Photographer / Jim Hunt
Sweet Peas Play Café, located on South Plate Street, is truly an all-ages concept. It’s an innovative idea that combines engaging play areas for children up to age 12 with a space for parents to catch their breath as they enjoy a great cup of coffee or tea. In addition to being a great venue for birthday parties, the leaders of the business have invested in the community by constructing a new facility and forging ties with several local businesses.
The business is a vision brought to reality by Krystyne and Kirt Wilson. The couple, who were sweethearts at Northwestern High School, are military veterans. Both were deployed to Iraq – Kirt did one tour alone, and then they completed a second tour together. Later, after having two children, their family was stationed in South Korea. In 2013, the Wilsons returned home to Kokomo.
Krystyne, who is expecting her fourth child this spring, distinctly recalls the family’s experience in South Korea.
“The Korean culture is very family oriented,” she says. “A friend told us about the play cafes that were in the area. We visited them and thought they were a great idea. After we returned home I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if we could go to a play cafe?’”
When the couple decided to build a play cafe in Kokomo, they investigated existing buildings before deciding to build a new structure. They were able to design a space according to their own specifications, which include age-appropriate slides and two BEAM interactive projection systems that allow participants to play games with light images. The sizable play space has two distinct areas – one for infants up to age 5, with a small section for crawlers, and another area designated for ages 6 to 12.
Part of the area for ages 12 and under consists of three separate playhouses. The science, technology, engineering and math “home” is sponsored by Jarrell Orthodontics, and includes a building area supplied with LEGOs and other toys. There is also an imaginative playhouse with a pretend kitchen, a restaurant and plenty of baby dolls. Floyd’s Designs sponsors another playhouse, which is filled with arts and crafts supplies.
The Wilsons have partnered with Button Motors. The company’s courtesy vehicle will transport their customers over to Sweet Peas, allowing youngsters to play while parents are waiting on auto service. The area for infants up to age 5 has a Button Motors-themed station, allowing children the chance to “service” cars. If customers at Button Motors don’t have children with them, they can opt to visit Sweet Peas just for a beverage.
In fact, some people within the community and employees from nearby businesses come in just for the coffee and other drinks. Coffee is sourced from Julian Coffee Roasters in Zionsville, and the menu also includes a variety of sweets from local bakers. Muggle Brew, which is a nod to butterbeer from “Harry Potter,” is popular with kids. A complete menu of hot and cold drinks can be found on the Sweet Peas website.
“Our private birthday parties are wonderful,” Wilson adds. “It’s just you and your family in a space that’s clean and new. Our staff attends to everything, so it is so easy for adults. Due to COVID, we are keeping our parties smaller in scale to be in compliance with current mandates.”
The cost for a day of play at Sweet Peas is $10 per child, and children under 1 year of age with a paid sibling get in for free. To ensure a spot, it is best to reserve a day online. Parents are required to submit a signed waiver for each child, and all participants must wear socks.
“I was honored to have the opportunity to serve our country during a difficult time of war,” Wilson says. “When it was time to come home, we wanted to return to Kokomo and be with family. Now we are so happy to bring our dream of a play cafe to life.”
Sweet Peas Play Café is located at 1825 South Plate Street in Kokomo. For more info, call 765-450-1825 and visit SweetPeasKokomo.com.