Recreation • Fitness • Health Bar • Events
Finding good places for your kids to play can be tough, as parents and HudsonPLAY founders Ilana Libman and Jay Batra both know well.
Batra and Libman, who both have kids between ages 7 and 10, said they couldn’t find good local options besides city parks, which don’t always have safe, challenging kids’ areas.
“We felt like there wasn’t a whole lot of local options for kids in Jersey City,” said Batra. “We’d always have to travel to playground areas 45 minutes to an hour away.”
The two also longed for a place of community that encouraged parents to socialize.
“I lost my wife Lisa Weber-Batra a few years ago when my son was only 4 year old and a lot of parents and families in the Jersey City community helped me get through that phase,” said Batra. “As a way of giving back, I wanted to create a big place that caters to a lot of kids, has a positive impact on communities and brings people together.”
So the pair created HudsonPLAY, a 5,000-square-foot gymnasium and play center which houses an open-play ninja warrior course, climbing walls and a ropes course designed to encourage fun active play for kids during the day (and for adults at night).
“Our main focus is on physical rejuvenation,” said Batra. “We want to get the kids moving and hit all the body parts — the core, legs and upper body. These activities definitely hit all those areas.”
Families can purchase monthly or yearly memberships or buy two-hour play slots and come in with their kids anytime before 8 p.m.
Parents, who must remain on the premises with their children, can stay in a Mommy and Me lounge if they have kids under 4 years old. Those with Older kids, on the other hand, can stand nearby as their children enjoy physical activities under the close supervision of HudsonPLAY staff members.
“This place is a community hub for new mothers and fathers,” said Libman. “Parents can come in with their babies and get support and socialize with other families while their kids have fun.”
Batra and Libman also made it a priority to steer clear of the cheap, unhealthy options many kids’ gyms offer such as soda and chips. Instead, their health bar features juices, fruit, smoothies and organic snacks that are low in sodium and sugar. (They’re also prepared to accommodate kids with common food allergies!)
The two add that being part of the Brunswick Center and working alongside other businesses that place an emphasis on health, wellness and physical fitness is going to be important in forming the community they want to build.
Lastly, after regular hours, HudsonPLAY hopes to host live performances, educational talks, sports lessons and more from other local groups. They’re also available for birthday parties and space rentals for private events.