It’s no secret that we here at Wee HQ get excited anytime a family-friendly ANYTHING opens in the city. But parenting centers — or anything resembling a community-building gathering space for moms, dads, littles — get us really jazzed, because they tend to be so accessible to so many people, and such good connectors for us parents. (Plus: Classes! Playgroups! Guidance!) Lilypad –– the new space at Broad and Wharton — promises to be no exception. The space is a brick and mortar outpost from the people who run the Kids South of Washington list-serve and the fantastic CityKids Consignment Sale, and it’s obviously a big boon to the neighborhood, though it isn’t just South Philly families who can take advantage of the place. (Side note for those familiar with all of this: Lilypad board was formerly the South Philly Parents Resource Center board — there’s just been a name change with the advent new center.)
Anyway. Here’s how it works: Families anywhere in the city with kids under 18 are invited to pay $100 for a year’s membership (so that breaks down to roughly $8 a month); that membership means you can get into any of the playgroups or discussion groups on offer, at any point. (This is helpful, because sometimes you need, say, a Saturday playgroup, and there’s not one in your hood!) Currently, Lilypad has a handful of playgroups going: One for kids of all ages that meets a few times a week, one for early risers, a family happy hour; and a new-mom meet-up. A membership applies to an entire family (including caregivers and grandparents), so it’s pretty flexible. Down the road (read: very soon!), classes are going to be added to the offerings — members will get discounted rates on those, as well. ALSO: Members can rent the space for birthday parties for $100 for a couple hours.
“We’re so excited by all the babies in the area, all the kid-friendly businesses around here,” says Karen Aranda, the board’s treasurer. “We really want to work to retain that community of families so people don’t move to the ‘burbs once they have kids.” (Amen, amen!)
Want to check it out? You can attend the first playgroup for free before you decide on a membership. You can also read more about Lilypad here!