ST. CHARLES – Kids have a new place to play in St. Charles.
Sisters-in-law Mansi, Shreya and Jigna Patel teamed up to create Fun Republic, a place that offers attractions for children of all ages, including those younger than 2.
The women, who are mothers themselves, said they have spent much of 2016 working on making their idea a reality.
They got the keys to their venue – Unit 16 at 731 N. 17th St., formerly home to family entertainment center Under the Big Top – in July and opened the last weekend in August, they said.
As Mansi Patel gave a tour of Fun Republic on its fourth day of business, she said it was “like a dream come true.”
Fun Republic – which has a tagline of “Where fun rules!” – offers an enclosed play area for kids 2 and younger; a bouncy house; an inflatable slide; a soft play area that features slides and a hand-powered train; and a play village where kids can dress up in outfits depicting various professions, including veterinarian, firefighter and construction worker.
Henry Bishop and Isla Pittard, both 4, were among the children who on a recent weekday afternoon assumed the grown-up roles of police officer and postal worker, respectively.
Mansi Patel could relate to the costumes’ popularity.
“My daughter loves dress up,” she said.
Additionally, Fun Republic features a place for stroller parking; free lockers and cubbies for shoes; packaged snacks for purchase; and a room where parents can change dirty diapers and nursing mothers can breastfeed or pump.
Three party rooms also are available and can be rented in two-hour blocks, Mansi Patel said, noting people started reserving the rooms before Fun Republic even opened.
Visit www.funrepublicplay.com for information about Fun Republic, including its party packages.
If you go
What: Fun Republic
Where: 731 N. 17th St., Unit 16, St. Charles
Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday; 1 to 5 p.m. Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Cost: $7 (toddlers) and $9 (ages 2 and older) on weekdays; $10 (toddlers) and $12 (ages 2 and older) on weekends; free for adults