I have been hearing about Jungle Java from my west-side relatives for years now. It started in Canton in 2003 and inched a little closer with a Farmington Hills location in 2006, but I still was unwilling to make the drive.
Imagine my delight, during this very cold and rainy spring break, when my book club buddy told me that last month, a Jungle Java had opened just east of Partridge Creek off Hall Road. Now, that's a drive I could do!
Welcome to the jungle
This past Friday had me loading up the minivan with my two children and their two playmates (two 7-year-olds, two 5-year-olds). It was an easy 20-minute drive on M-59, where the orange barrels were looming but not yet in place.
We arrived at 10:30 a.m., which I thought was plenty early, but on a rainy spring break day, it looked as if it had been packed by the time the doors opened at 9 a.m. After paying the children's admission (adults are free, as are children younger than 12 months; ages 12-23 months cost $3, and childrens 2 and older cost $7.50), we walked in to realize there was not a table left in the place.
Not that the children cared. The 5-year-olds ran immediately to the play structure to climb, slide, chase and hide. The 7-year-olds went straight to the Lazer Cave.
The Lazer Cave is a bit like a Mission:Impossible obstacle course. The individual (children go one at a time) selects a level — easy, medium, hard or expert — and enters a fog-filled room crisscrossed with laser beams. The child must press colored buttons on the wall within certain time limits without breaking the laser beams. A scoreboard keeps track of the child's time and how many beams are broken.
Best of all, anyone can watch the cave activities on a big screen above the entrance. For an additional $2, you get a wrist band that allows unlimited cave access; my "big" kids spent a fair amount of the day in there.
While the children were having a blast, I was circling the facility with an eagle eye, looking for a place to call my own. I spotted a line of four leather chairs, filled with men. (Funny how men gravitate toward leather furniture ... like moths to the flame.)
Just as I was walking by, one made the tactical error (weak bladder? crying child? needing java?) of leaving. I swooped in and nabbed my perch for the day. My book club buddy found me there shortly after 11; we set up a little fiefdom and didn't move.
The rest of the day
So while the rain poured down, my friend and I curled up in our chairs, drinks in hand, and talked for hours. And it's not called Jungle Java for nothing, offering coffee specialty drinks such as Turtle Mocha and Snickers made with espresso. There are also fruit smoothies, if you happen to go on a day that breaks 45 degrees.
Jungle Java prides itself in offering healthful food options. Snacks include fruit, cheese strings, yogurt and the always-popular Goldfish crackers. The Kids Meal costs $3.99 and includes an entree — your choice of chicken strips, macaroni and cheese, hot dog or mini-pancakes — a side and a drink.
Adult fare is made to order and includes sandwiches (such as turkey avocado) and salads.
The challenge is getting the children to stop playing long enough to eat!
In addition to the Lazer Cave, there is a basketball court. One net is low enough for the 7-year-olds to hang from the rim until their hands blister — that's considered quite the badge of honor in some tribes!
The play structure also includes an interactive sensor game that children of all ages couldn't get enough of.
I consider it a day well-spent when the children are worn out, and Jungle Java definitely does the job.
What else you should know
If you're heading to Jungle Java, you might also want to know that:
- There is a separate toddler area.
- There are water fountains near the restrooms, but no outside food or drink is allowed.
- There is a Wi-Fi counter and free Wi-Fi throughout the facility.
- Socks are required.
Jungle Java is located at 44595 Enterprise Dr. off of Hall Road. It is open from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 586-203-0500.
Get your Easter treat order in
Give Thanks Bakery has some incredible treats for your Easter table, including two torte selections: chocolate sponge with raspberry butter cream and yellow sponge with Bavarian cream and lemon curd with a daffodil decoration. The bakery also offers individual bunny mousse desserts, assorted Easter cookies and a dove-shaped Italian bread.
Whatever you choose, Easter treat advance orders must be placed by Thursday (April 14). The deadline for Easter bread orders is Saturday.