Sleepovers, team-buildings, arcade games: A magical playground comes to Prague

VR adventures, laser tag, and a grand carousel await at this indoor entertainment center.

Julie O'Shea

Written by Julie O'Shea Published on 27.06.2024 16:33:00 (updated on 28.06.2024) Reading time: 4 minutes

Arcade games, virtual reality adventures, a Venetian carousel, laser tag, a mirror maze and lots of butterflies – the setting of an epic summer sleepover, company team-building or other special event. You’re own private indoor “playground” in the center of Prague. 

Too good to be true? Not at all.            

The Playground, which took over the historic space occupied by Hamleys toy store at the beginning of the year, has spent the last several months transforming this prime spot along Na příkopě street into a unique entertainment and event hub. Surrounded by shelves full of toys, visitors are presented with a very special atmosphere – reminiscent of the magical toy store in the movie Home Alone 2.

But The Playground is no traditional toy store. "We are an indoor entertainment center, which combines selling attractions and toys to children and adults,” says Pavel Čmelík, CEO of Inexad, the company responsible for bringing Hamleys and a number of other British brands to the Prague market. The toy retailer left Prague after failing to reach a licensing agreement with the Czech operator. 

Fan favorites, like the mirror maze, butterfly house and a virtual reality spectacular based around the legend of the Golem as well as a new VR game called the Last Stand that involves shooting zombies in Prague, continue to draw big day-time crowds. However, The Playground is now focused on creating one-of-a-kind experiences targeting a new wave of visitors from age 3 to 99.

“Yes, we still have toy displays, but our primary goal is to give people unforgettable experiences when they visit,” says Čmelík. “Traditional toy stores are becoming increasingly boring, while traditional entertainment centers are often in plain, warehouse-like buildings. We believe that a combination of attractions along with the atmosphere of a toy store is what creates a truly unique experience.” 

And nothing could be more unforgettable than a night at The Playground with 10, 15 or even 30 of your closest friends.    

The store offers private, after-hour events, including children’s birthday parties and sleepovers, where guests have The Playground and its many attractions all to themselves.             

“These parties are really a big hit. The kids just love them. All the attractions are for free at night,” says Čmelík. “We usually set up these inflatable mattresses in a couple of select areas of the store. But to be honest, the kids don't usually sleep that much, because there are just too many fun things to do.”   

Pizza pies in the shapes of rabbit heads are ordered from Vapiano, which is right across the street from The Playground. There are organized activities and always a lot of chatting and giggling well into the early morning hours. The kids are watched by staff with certified first aid training. 

The Playground has also become a popular spot for corporate team-buildings.

“We close the whole place for companies. Our space can accommodate up to 300 people for these types of events,” says Čmelík.

Many employees show up a little bit skeptical. A team-building surrounded by toys? But they are quickly surprised by how much fun an evening at The Playground can be.” 

The Playground staff prepares various team competitions and team-building activities using the store’s many attractions.

“People don’t realize that these attractions are not just for kids, but adults as well,” says Čmelík, adding that some companies take the opportunity to invite employees and their families to these events.  

If arcade games, laser tag and virtual reality aren't for you, The Playground also offers a number of other attractions to fit any personality or energy level, like the mirror maze and the Papilonia butterfly house, which is home to 500 live butterflies. 

The Playground, housed in the former headquarters of the Czechoslovak Trade Bank in New Town, is one of the largest family fun houses in Central Europe. Spreading over an area of 4,500 square meters, you’ll find eight diverse attractions, a cafe and snack areas as well as many products for kids and adults on two levels. 

You can purchase your Playground Card online or at the information kiosk for easy access to all the store’s attractions.   

“Our plan is to add up to an additional seven new attractions in the short term,” says Čmelík. “We have a lot of space, so we can incorporate more experiences into our offer without cutting the product too much.” 

The Playground’s toy selection is similar to what was on the shelves during Hamleys’ eight-year Prague run, with just a few exceptions. The Lego and Brio railway tables are still here as is the spiral snake slide that takes you from the first to ground floor. The talking tree and the water station near the cafe, where you can enjoy a salty snack or sweet treat and still keep an eye on your kids, also survived the rebranding.   

However, Čmelík and his team have opened the floor plan up a bit more, giving visitors more space to wander. Product displays are spread out; the shelves less packed.

We definitely have a different product mix than a standard Czech toy shop, because we try to buy elsewhere and get people coming in who are quite keen on trying to find something new,” says Čmelík. 

It’s easy to spend a few hours exploring all the treasures here, not to mention the space offers a nice respite from the sweltering heat that envelopes Prague each summer season.

So come cool down. Plan a party. Tackle some arcade games. Let a butterfly land on your finger, or get lost in a virtual reality world. 

“The Playground really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” says Čmelík.  

This article was written in cooperation with The Playground. Read more about our partner content policies here.

Would you like us to write about your business? Find out more