Five words for you: Meet me at Little Prince!
Little Prince is a Korean-born chain of kid-centered cafes, and it is basically the healthier, cleaner, saner alternative to Chuck E. Cheese's. Instead of cacophony, consumerism, and chaos, kids can play in a variety of settings: an indoor jungle gym and ball pit for the more active tykes, a dress-up and pretend play area, and a library. All areas are supervised by attentive staff who speak both Korean and English, and you can also keep an eye on your little ones from your table thanks to the video camera feeds displayed in the dining area. Littler kids can stay close to their parents by playing in the middle of the dining area in a quieter, more padded zone.
The menu is eclectic, highlighting Korean-style cafe food. There is pizza, pasta, and house-made chicken nuggets for the kids, and more sophisticated fare for the parents such as hamburger steak, galbi, ddukbokki, and "grown-up" pastas. My personal favorite is their kimchi fried rice with cheese, washed down by a couple glasses of their iced coffee.
I am not exaggerating when I say that Little Prince has greatly expanded my social life. It's the perfect spot to meet up with old or new friends who are in town.
Do your friends have other kids that aren't quite the same age level as your own? Send them all on their merry way to play with the unnis/nunas/oppas/hyungs at their own pace. Chances are, they will start playing with each other as well.
Is your friend childless, but they would like to meet your kids and hang out with you? Again, perfect venue: your kids can be around to say hello and be hugged and adored, but then they can zoom off without either party being antsy or nervous. Then you and your friend can catch up in peace.
They also offer packages for birthday parties, and I think it would be a perfect venue for a dol, or any year up to about age 6. It's especially handy if you expect a mixed crowd of kids, older and younger siblings, and adults without children.
Food is pretty pricey, but the servings are HUGE. In addition, you pay a per-hour fee per child. So, if you are in the southern CA area, you should definitely try it out. Awesomely enough, Living Social is offering a deal with Little Prince right now (and for the next 6 days). You get $25 credit for $12, which amounts to 52% off!
So, am I going to see you there? We can do plan a formal Kimchi Mamas meet-up or just keep it small. Let's discuss.
Little Prince Kids Restaurant
5300 Beach Blvd. #118
Buena Park, CA 90621
(No disclaimer needed; I'm promoting them purely because I've been there a half-dozen times and I love them.)