Ask any downtown family and they’ll tell you that the CBD has a dearth of child-friendly indoor spaces. Sure, malls like The Place have play centers but these tend to get dirty and overcrowded on weekends. They’re also not conducive to unwinding or getting to know other families.
The need for a safe, clean, and welcoming downtown space is what led New Zealand-raised mom Jennifer Ma to start little oasis (all lowercase), a “lifestyle club” for families with kids aged 0-6 in the new children’s wing of Parkview Green.
She wanted a center where parents wouldn’t just drop off their kids for a few hours but instead stay, relax, and spend quality time together. To this end, little oasis’ facilities include a central air purifier system, a cafe with healthy snacks and imported tea, a massage and nail salon, a classroom for children’s and adults’ programs, a golf simulation room, and a main room with a baby corner, play house, a mini-library, and soft padded seating.
When we toured little oasis in April, we were struck by the modernistic climbing structure that forms the centerpiece of the indoor playground. The architects are Luckey Climbers, an American company founded by Thomas Luckey in 1985 and now run by his son, Spencer. Luckey climbers can be found in public spaces and children’s museums all over the the US as well as Mexico and Ireland.
The specially-commissioned little oasis climber took 505 hours to complete and involved 45 people in the design and installation process. The structure contains nearly 6,450m of mesh cable and 22,000 j-clips (a type of clip-on assembly nut) installed by hand and filed down for safety. In Beijing, another Luckey climber sits within the China National Children’s Center near Beihai Park.
Though membership to little oasis is by invitation or application only, the venue is open for private events and birthday parties. little oasis offers complete event planning services with customized theme decorations, catering, cake, entertainment, and more. Families have the option of bringing their own cake, catering, and entertainment but a service fee equivalent to 20 percent of the venue fee will be charged.
The center can accommodate large parties, with different venue fees charged for groups of 1-50 people and 50-75 people. An extra entry fee will be charged for each guest at events with over 75 people. Maximum capacity is around 100 people. On average, a party for up to 30 families with a customized theme, activities, catering, cake, photographer, and venue would cost RMB 15,000-20,000.
There are plans to launch “Brunch and Play” and “Dinner and Play” events combining revolving food themes and family activities. To stay up-to-date, follow little oasis on WeChat at littleoasis01. See our interview with Jennifer Ma on p52.
little oasis 小绿洲
Playground access costs RMB 160 for two hours. The top-up card option (RMB 500, RMB 1,000 or RMB 2,000) offers varying discounts. Daily 10am-8pm. L3-02, 3/F, Bldg B, Parkview Green, 9 Dongdaqiao Lu, Chaoyang District (8563 0400) 朝阳区东大桥路9号芳草地B座L3-02
This article originally appeared on page 18-19 of the beijingkids November 2015 issue. Click here to read the issue for free on Issuu.com. To find out how you can get your own copy, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos: Courtesy of Little Oasis