AJ’s Play Date in Medina adds café, director of operations

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 15 May 2022 at 8:45 pm

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Bailey Papaj, who recently joined AJs Play Date as director of operations, sits in the main play room, where new things are being added all the time.

MEDINA – When Adam and Kerry Papaj needed to add more help at AJs Play Date, they knew the perfect candidate – daughter Bailey.

Bailey, who has a degree in public health and education and previously worked as a social learning specialist in Greece, has joined the family business as director of operations.

“I just had a baby and didn’t want to do the long drive every day,” Bailey said. “I wanted to be closer to home. And I had previously helped here as event coordinator, so it was obvious to me a director of operations was needed.”

As owner, Adam said he and Kerry had gone as far as they could, both having other jobs, as well. Adam drives school bus and Kerry is a speech pathologist at Lyndonville Central School.

The business, which opened in August 2019, has been a big hit. They recently utilized the north end of the building on West Avenue for AJs Café, which serves quick foods, such as pizza, chicken nuggets, snacks, cookies, beverages and ice cream. The area can accommodate families in a safe environment who come in for a party or special occasion or want to include a bite to eat in their play experience.

Bailey has plans to expand events, to be a destination for birthday parties and field trips.

Another added feature is massage chairs, where parents can pay for a massage in 15-minute increments while their children play. A six-minute massage is free on Massage Mondays when paying for a child’s entry.

Bailey also has a full lineup of special events planned during the summer. She has invited a firefighter,  magician, Challenge Island Steam Camp, someone knowledgeable in science and technology, arts and math. A children’s yoga instructor be available, as well. Special days will feature a “farmer-in-training” day, “super hero-in-training” day, “chef-in-training” day, “artist-in-training” day and a music and movement day.

Adam Papaj and his daughter Bailey sit in the newly opened AJs Café adjoining AJs Play Date on 627 West Avenue, Medina. Bailey just joined the business as director of operations.

Children can sign up for one special day for $25 or a package of three days for $70.

“We want to bridge the gap between June and September when children have nothing to do,” Bailey said. “We want to widen our ability to reach out to different people.”

“Besides being fun, these things will be educational,” Adam said.

The Papajs said AJs Play Date is a hidden gem. Kids with learning problems recognize the activities geared to them, and for children who aren’t challenged, the place is just plain fun.

A Pajama Club is being started for July and August and registration is required. Information is available on their website at www.ajsplaydate.com.

AJs Play Date also offers Drop and Go for a child 5 or older, whose parents want to drop the child off while they run errands. All the staff are CPR and first-aid certified.

“Coming here is an investment in your child,” Adam said.

He said it is fun to watch even a six-month old crawl among the play stations. Children under 1 are allowed free of charge.

Children up to 5 years old can enjoy Little Tykes Time on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Open play is from 9 to 11 a.m.

“Our goal is to make sure families feel safe and welcome,” Adam said.

AJs Café and Ice Cream Shop will be open all year, Adam said. He is waiting approval for a drive-thru window.