Update: 2/27/14 – I didn’t see the slide last time I went, but I left it in the pics below – who knows, it may return one day. Plus, I went at 9:30 am last week (the store opens at 10am) and the upstairs cafeteria was open.
IKEA (100 IKEA Drive, Paramus, NJ): IKEA has three areas where children can enjoy themselves (and they’re free). The showroom on the 2nd floor is great for kids to explore the model rooms and toys. Also on the 2nd floor, is a food court with kid-friendly (including healthy) food, high chairs, microwave and play area where you can eat at a counter while you watch your little ones play. Finally, there is a drop-off play area for older children. You sign your child into the play area and the staff matches your signature in order to sign out your child. If you are not comfortable with this there are couches right outside where you can sit and watch them through the window as your child plays.
Our experience: Andrea and I knew we had about 20 minutes before the kids would start to lose it so we started with what we had to get done…some shopping for a rug for my laundry room (1st floor). With a rug, some piggy puppets to entertain the kids, and picture frames in our carts, we made our way to the 2nd floor show room. Here’s a tip: We didn’t want to loop through the whole showroom, so we started at the end…just past the food court is the showroom for all of the children’s furniture. We started by letting the kids explore the rooms, beds, organizers (my son liked opening all of the drawers) and toys. After all of that running around they were ready to eat so we hit the food court, quickly fed them and relaxed while they played in the small play area. By the time we paid for our merchandise the kids were exhausted and both fell asleep on the way home. Success!