Written by Melissa Wise
I love Urban Jungle. My son loves Urban Jungle.
My first piece of art that Kane ever made was from his free trial class at Urban Jungle that he took with my husband when he was 8 months old. He had the best time painting, looking at the aquarium, hogging a beach ball, and playing with his little friend, Ava.
A lot of options do not exist for drop-in classes or open play and no options for all-day open play exist outside of Urban Jungle. It's a godsend for me with a very busy child! When I was working from home, it was helpful to get out of the house on slow days and now, as a stay-at-home mom, when it rains outside, it pours in my house!
As soon as we get there, he runs for the "fishies", he heads inside to tackle the age 3 and older slides (he's 16 months), color at the easel, run around, swing in the hammocks, and visit all of the sensory stations as fast as he can. Typically, when we leave, he's crying as I bribe him with snacks or a balloon, because he wants to live there.
When we started this blog and I had the pleasure of speaking with Cathie (the owner), we instantly were able to come up with a super fun way to collaborate for the first time.
Mother's Day was coming!
Last Mother's Day, I was so jealous of my friends who had little projects come home from daycare or pretty art they had made with their nannies. And those with school-aged kids had crafts and tea parties. My son was home with his dad and they were not crafting! Cathie and I came up with a fun Mother's Day tea party complete with crafts, coffee/tea, delicious local snacks, open play, and photos by the super talented Nadia Mian (see previous post for more information and a sweet deal!) all for a low price tag!
Make sure you RSVP as tickets are selling fast and space is limited!!
I sat down with Cathie to plan out the aforementioned event, but also to learn more about her and Urban Jungle.
What inspired you to create Urban Jungle?
I was soul-searching about making a career change and while socializing with friends and Hoboken residents, a gap for parents and kids living in our urban setting became clear: families have crazy schedules and there was a major need for an activity center with flexible scheduling. I started nannying for 2 local families to confirm this insight and flesh out the business plan. It was a challenging road: getting the SBA loan, leaving a great career but I feel very fulfilled.
Tell me a little more about the philosophies behind Urban Jungle and the different program options available.
Our focus is on experiential learning or purposeful play. That playtime isn’t wasted time and children should be engaged to learn while they play. We offer Open Play 7 days a week, drop-offs, classes, Date Nights, a Preparatory School, parties, playgroups, and camps. We regularly have events or themed activities in the space to keep things fresh and current. The only program with set “scheduling” is our Preparatory School as its purpose is to get children used to the upcoming routine of school. In general, we try to be very flexible to meet the needs of parents, nannies, and grandparents, as each child’s routine is different- especially if you add siblings to the mix! No membership is required, all services can be purchase a la carte and we do sell parking passes for $5.50.
What are some future plans for Urban Jungle?
For the short term, we’re gearing up for our Summer Camps, outside classes, and releasing discounted summer pricing.
Long term, as a start-up business we’re always challenging ourselves to grow our services. We’re working to strengthen partnerships with other local business to bring great offerings to our clients and promote community. We’re also looking to add new interactives in the space. We are very receptive to feedback from our customers (that’s how the Prep School started) and look forward to their continued support so this location thrives and there is the potential to further expand.
What is your favorite thing about Hoboken?
The waterfront. And for that reason, I couldn’t be more thrilled about our location. The other boroughs haven’t capitalized on having restaurants, bars, parks right there where a billion dollar view of NYC is. Year round the waterfront has a good glimpse of 3 sides of Hoboken’s culture: the college kids, people starting their careers and the families/long term residents. The sense of peacefulness at Pier 13 during the summer or playing in the snow in the winter is palpable. It’s an empowering view and amazing place to socialize.
As a follower of Little Hoboken, you can mention us to receive $5.00 off of your next Date Night drop-off booking! Contact Urban Jungle for more information at 201.653.4212.