Downtown Los Angeles might not immediately spring forth images of the Brady Bunch, but if you go to Grand Hope Park on Saturday mornings you will see a group of parents that refuse to move to the suburbs just because children joined the family portrait. The conversations range from scoring tickets to the Yo Gabba Gabba show at the Shrine in November to whether we will ever see a set of swings in downtown L.A.
We do now, thanks to Little Barn, a new play place that is bringing bright colors, a glow-lit ball pit room and life to a sleepy street at the edge of Downtown.
Little Barn is your personal backyard where you can let your kids run loose. Let me say that again, Little Barn is a heavenly escape from having to run after your kids at home and ask them to please not play soccer inside your tiny loft.
For parents that are in desperate need for a break and don’t want to drive outside of Downtown to find a creative space for their children to play in, this is the answer to your dilemma. Bring along the computer (they have free WiFi) and enjoy a cup of espresso as your child makes new friends.
Jennifer Frizzell and Stephanie Raye each have Downtown roots. Jennifer can be seen with hubby Christian Frizzell at the Redwood Bar and Grill or their gallery “Federal Arts Project”. Stephanie is the owner of Bikram Yoga.
These two friends of 15 years came together to create a space where parents could bring their kids and have them play, join in arts and crafts and hopefully in the future participate in yoga classes. The plans started in the spring and by July they had started construction. The location at Beaudry and 1st, just west of the 110 freeway, is a stretch to the imagination but it works.
As you enter through the big red barn’s door your kids put their shoes and belongings away in their own cubby hole. The environment is clean and safe with no sharp corners in sight.
I took the girls to help me test it out and they went wild. The closest thing we have to a backyard is a Juliette balcony which means you have space for a plant and can look out the window longingly for a swing set. The main room provides that and more. There are John Deere trucks, bumper cars, a slide and toys to toss around.
For all of you that have young children and want to help them release their inner desire to write all over your wall – you can let those artistic urges take over on the chalk board/wall they have installed in the main room. Or they can run over to the other side and pull some paper and crayons to create a family picture. They can run into the ball pit room and you can rest assured that it is safe and clean as Jen and Stephanie have created a germ free environment with a special machine that sucks those balls in, sanitizes them and shoots them out for your little one to dirty again.
Little Barn is available for private party rentals and after having planned seven birthday parties in the last four years, having someone else do all the work sounds very tempting.
Little Barn is located at 130 S. Beaudry Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012. More information at littlebarn.org.
Published October 15, 2009