Coffee shop with indoor play space just right for Gahanna, New Albany


Peapod Play Cafe recently opened its doors in northeast Columbus, joining a string of indoor play spaces in central Ohio offering fun for youngsters and a coffee-shop atmosphere for parents.

Peapod, at 4874 Thompson Rd., fills a void, says owner Chien Shu Cho, who opened her spacious, modern gathering place in November.

“There are no indoor playgrounds in the area to serve New Albany and Gahanna,” said Shu Cho, during a soft opening in late October. “Moms here need a place for their kids to play, especially in the winter.”

What makes Peapod different?

Shu Cho, originally from Taiwan, offers an assortment of unique toys and play items, mostly from her home country. There’s a sturdy, plastic bowl that several children can sit inside and rock. There are also four-wheeled riders that children pedal while standing up.

“Toys are important,” Shu Cho said. “I want to offer something that kids never see and want to play with.”

Shu Cho and her husband, Tengyin Hu, built a wooden playhouse and an ice-cream truck for the cafe and even created ice-cream treats out of fabric.

The duo are graphic designers by trade. Shu Cho moved to Columbus 17 years ago to attend the Columbus College of Art and Design. After being laid off from a design job one year ago, she said she felt the need to reinvent herself.

Having two young children, the couple was drawn to the play cafe business and saw an opportunity in northeast Columbus.

Their cafe is geared toward an age range of children beginning to walk through 7-year-olds. Other play items include rubber balls, train sets and a metallic wall for sticking magnetic letters. There’s also a lot of carpeted space for children to romp around.

For the parents there is a separated space with seating and free Wi-Fi. Coffee and healthy snacks also are for sale.

How does it work?

Just show up, sign a waiver, pay and allow your kids to play and yourself some “me” time.

Cost is $10 per child. Price decreases with additional children ($6 for second child, then $4 each additional child). The cost for crawlers is $4.

Half-priced admission is available during the last hour of playtime.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed from 1-2 p.m.), Monday through Friday; and 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Saturday.

The space also is available for parties during after hours.

For more information, visit www.peapodplaycafe.com.