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Tickleberry Place, where healthy kids are happy kids

OW Staff Writer | 6/22/2017, midnight
Co-founders and twin sisters Lauren and Meghan McElroy are on a unique mission to provide a safe and eco-friendly play ...

Co-founders and twin sisters Lauren and Meghan McElroy are on a unique mission to provide a safe and eco-friendly play space that will transform their South Los Angeles community. And they need the public’s help to reach that goal.

Tickleberry Place is a fun and educational indoor play gym promoting active lifestyles for children and a comfortable spot for parents of South Los Angeles. And with a generous public contribution, they will be ready to open their doors by Fall 2017.

As young girls growing up in Leimert Park, Lauren and Meghan were faced with little more than a standard issue jungle gym at a park. As time passed, they noticed a growing number of children facing the same stale offerings.

The opportunity to create a safer and more rewarding play space is now here, at Tickleberry Place.

Lauren says, “All donations are being accepted now to help us reach our goal. Each donation will help reshape our community and, more importantly, help the children of South Los Angeles. We are designing the space to meet your needs. We’re excited for the future, and we want you to be part of it!”

Q & A with co-founder Lauren McElroy

What inspired Tickleberry Place?

A few years ago, I babysat a two-year-old boy on the weekends. I wanted to find enriching activities for him other than the same old park. After searching online for indoor play spaces, I discovered a serious lack of them in South Los Angeles. When I did find them more than a few miles away, I felt they were missing a lot of important elements.

Meghan and I put our heads together and decided we wanted to improve the indoor play experience for children within our community, and at the same time give parents peace of mind in a space that is clean, safe and consistently maintained.

What is the motivation behind Tickleberry Place?

We want kids in our community to be educated and entertained at the same time. We want the parents to be comfortable in a beautiful space while they watch their children.

Why South L.A. specifically?

When we were kids, our dad had to drive long distances to find safe spaces for us to play in and that hadn’t changed when I started looking after this little boy. We also witnessed the struggles many of our friends and neighbors had to endure. Cities that seemed mere minutes away by car were worlds apart to many around us. There has been a demand for this kind of space here for quite some time.

What should patrons expect from a Tickleberry Place experience?

When you enter our space, you will be greeted with a chic lounge area comfortable enough for parents to connect and relax in. They can also hang out in our small café area, get some work done with a cup of coffee and an organic treat while Tickleberry Place staff supervise their little ones.

The open play space will host a variety of activities such as yoga, mommy and me groups, and storytelling for kids. Our smaller rooms will include a reading corner, an art room, and even an eco-science lab. And because birthday celebrations are a MUST, we will have a designated room for Tickleberry Place parties while the space is open to the public for play.

What did you have in mind for Tickleberry Place’s design?

We’re all about simple, clean and contemporary design. Eco-friendly materials like wooden pallets, cork flooring and shipping containers will make up the design of the space. We will also have a custom-built playhouse constructed entirely from non-toxic materials. But above all, Tickleberry Place will reflect how excited we are about welcoming families of South Los Angeles. This is going to expand their horizons and we can’t wait!

What do you look forward to once Tickleberry Place is open?

We look forward to helping more and more local kids reach their true potential. And we really look forward to helping parents feel like they’re supported. We got you, moms and dads!

The goal for grand opening is fall 2017. We’ve assembled a great team and talked with our local city officials. With the public’s help, we can create this unique play space to meet the community’s needs.

Learn more about what Tickleberry Place has to offer, what young children (and parents) in South Los Angeles have to gain, how the donations can help make this dream a reality by visiting http://kck.st/2r5FU9b.