Playtime: In Lego heaven at Bricks and Minifigs; plus a play place for kids with special needs

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When my first son was an infant and toddler, we used to drive to Magnuson Park in Seattle to take Gymboree classes. His first preschool was a co-op in Lake Forest Park that we commuted to because one of my friends had her son signed up there. In time, and with the addition of another kid, I eventually signed my oldest up for Meadowdale Preschool, which is enrolling students for the 2018-’19 school year now and gets the highest recommendation from me.

In that time of keeping the “everyday” activities closer, we kept some of our longer-distance locations out of necessity and of course being “worth the drive.” Though we don’t travel weekly any longer, Seattle Drum School — now in Lake City — was always worth the drive for us. As our pediatrician described it, there are those instructors you’ll follow anywhere. Since we have a skateboarder now, we’re happy when skateboarding is only a 15-minute trip to The Muk at the Mukilteo YMCA to skate indoors, but we’ve been known to head to All Together Skatepark in Fremont and The Bellevue Indoor Skatepark as well, which are both “worth the drive.” Thankfully when it’s dry, the Edmonds Skatepark is a great local option — and it’s across from a place where EMTs work at the Edmonds Fire Station, which is a bonus for this nervous person.

Since one kid had a half day and the other a sick day, this week, the well child and I decided to head out and visit some businesses that we’d heard about.

Like many kid-friendly places I learn about, I discovered Bricks and Minifigs on Facebook. Both of my kids love Legos. They even voted to name their Uncle Anthony “Santa” because he bought them the Legos sets that I told them the actual Santa (you know, the one on second shift at Alderwood Mall) thought they were a bit too much. Bricks and Minifigs is in South Everett on Everett Mall Way. It was a quick trip up 99 to an easily accessible parking lot with what owner Brad Berman says is a popular Pho place next door.

My youngest son wasn’t completely sure about having to leave the house with me while his “sick” older brother played XBox — that is until we walked into Bricks and Minifigs. This store, open about three months now according to Bergman, has so many exciting things it is hard to know where to put your eyes first. There are built Lego Death Stars (yes plural) for sale, bins of mixed Lego parts, a minifigure assembly station, more Lego sets, a case full of assembled minifigures ranging from Storm Troopers to Lego Cats to E. T. urns out there is a Lego E. T.)

As a mom of a kid who wants sets almost exclusively for “who” comes with them, this case of minifigure after minifigure had me both thrilled it existed and happy he was the child home with a cold that day. Bergman also showed me the room set up for parties, which was a good size and away from the toys for sale. This room serves as a free play room, which is open to all so long as there is not event scheduled. You are welcome to call 425-374-8947 to check on the free play room’s availability.

Since they buy, sell and trade Legos, this is also a good place to go if your child wants to offload some of their Legos. Just this week, I opened FB and I saw that a friend had expressed interest in the Bricks and Minifigs International Lego Day Event, Sunday Jan. 28, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.. They will have games, coloring pages, and building activities in their party room, which has a Lego race track. They’ll also have some light refreshments and giveaways (while supplies last). If you’re interested in Brick and Minifigs, you can find them at 607 S.E. Everett Mall Way, 6C. It is on the left side if you’re headed north and the sign says “607,” which for me was relief with no other adult navigator on board. You can also find them online at BricksandMinifigs.com.

A play space at the Wee Fit Autism Center.

After coaxing my youngest out of Lego heaven while I carried a bag of Legos the Brick and Minifigs (which the owner wanted me to offer to the business on our next stop), we headed to downtown Everett to check out the Wee Fit Autism Center owned by Melissa and Casey Wren. The Wrens have a son named Cooper who is an “energetic and super funny” newly 6-year-old son with autism, sensory processing disorder, and a speech delay. Their “small family of three” felt isolated as indoor play spaces, which suited their son’s needs best, included not just a play area, but an “endless litany of explanation and apologies.”

After both Cooper and his parents made friends in a program at Providence Hospital, they realized others felt that same isolation and they collectively “longed for a place where their child could play without judgement” The Wee Fit Autism Center was born. This “interplay/sensory-based therapy facility and gym” is an indoor play space for Autistic Children located at 2405 Broadway in downtown Everett. My son, who is a sensory seeker, was thrilled with the options inside Wee Fit as it was like his former occupational therapist’s office times a million. Owner Melissa Wren, who is kind, welcoming, and clearly understanding, let my son try the climbing wall, sensory room, and slides, among many other options inside. The center offers the two-hour blocks for play, which can include siblings or therapists, and also offers a “Kids Night Out” and weekday three-hour drop-off programs with morning or afternoon options. Wren told me how difficult it had been at times to find appropriate care for her son. In addition to their pre-planned drop-off options, you can call to see if there is space on short notice for things like doctor appointments or responsibilities with other siblings.

This space is clean, organized, and has many options, including lowered lights and sounds if needed, but what struck me the most was the tone set by the Wrens. Melissa explained to me how the Wee Fit Autism Center is where attendees can be themselves and how one of their soon-to-be friendship groups, based on things like Pokemon or Legos, would be run by an 11-year-old boy on the Spectrum. If all of the options seem overwhelming or you have questions, I suggest you contact the center as Melissa either had answers for any question or was in contact with someone who did. They can be reached online at WeeFitKids.com or by calling 425-610-4066.

Funko headquarters

As we headed out of town, we decided to stop at one of our new favorite places, Funko Headquarters, also in downtown Everett. I worked across the street from the location of the Funko HQ for nine years, when it used to be a college. Now it has mega-sized Batman, among other Funko figures, outside the building, and a store- meets-Disneyland vibe inside. While admission is FREE inside the store — which features Funko Figures for Star Wars, Harry Potter, Marvel Characters and many, many more — we’ve yet to get out of there for less than $11, which is about the price of one typically sized figure.

It is still very fun to visit without a purchase and there is much more than just the toys. The store’s Batman selection features a replica Adam West-era Batmobile you can sit in, and the Harry Potter section is modeled after Diagon Alley with a particularly big Hagrid character. The Star Wars and Marvel sections have great sound and light effects along with the larger-than-life characters we love. Parking has been easy each time we’ve visited the location at 2802 Wetmore, and this trip we got the spot almost directly in front of the automatic entrance doors. For more information on how to visit Funko HQ you can  click HERE.

HIgh Trek Adventures

High Trek Adventures is the last location I wanted to share with you. We have driven past it a bunch of times as it’s near our most frequented skate park. Located at Paine Field, 11928 Beverly Park Road, it is an aerial adventure park, equipped with a zip line, a rope course high above the ground, and — I see via their Facebook page — laser tag. They offer hourly options, as well as birthday parties, and the first I heard of this location, my friend (the world’s best team manager) was planning on bringing her son’s hockey team for a team building party. The ropes course features three levels from 15 feet to 50 feet and has over 60 challenge elements and also access to ziplines.

High Trek Adventures calls themselves “a vertical world full of fun, challenges and excitement” and when I was looking up their Facebook page, I see that a friend took her three kids there, tweens at the time, and fully suggested it. If you’re looking for something that gets the kids moving, this is a great option. When we head to this area, it’s about 15 minutes once we turn right on Olympic View Drive in Perrinville. For more information you can visit them online at HighTrekEverett.com.

— By Jennifer Marx

Jen Marx, a mom of two young boys, is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time. You can find her on Twitter trying to make sense of begging kids to ”just eat the mac n cheese.”

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