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Rainy day? Find indoor play at Kidz Kingdom in Binghamton – Pressconnects

When storms barrel through the Southern Tier or rainy days barricade families inside their homes, family fun options are limited.
That’s why Liya Struchen opened Kidz Kingdom, to bring the playground inside.
Tucked behind an auto service center on Upper Front Street in Binghamton, the custom-designed Kidz Kingdom is a high-ceilinged playground with climbing obstacles and sloping slides, inflatables and toys.
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On a recent Friday afternoon, small children in socks — you can rent a pair if you forget — run across spongy patchwork mat floor toward a multi-colored climbing wall. Each step is a different color and along the way, children encounter different shapes. It’s a teaching tool, Struchen says.
There’s other equipment too, including:
Struchen, 31, started looking for spaces to house Kidz Kingdom in October 2017, inspired by her 5-year-old daughter, Shavonne, who loves to play at the Chenango Forks playground near their home.

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But on those coldest days of winter, Struchen couldn’t find an indoor equivalent.
Originally from China, Struchen came to the United States through a culture exchange program with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, and studied at SUNY Broome and Binghamton University.
She, her husband and their daughter have done some traveling as a family, and they’ve seen indoor play facilities in other cities, like the Canadian Children’s Museum, Billy Beez in Syracuse and a number of facilities in China.
“I just wished Binghamton had something like that,” she said.
An added feature to the Kidz Kingdom park, which opened June 9, is parent involvement. Struchen says it was a conscious decision in their design to make all spaces — except for the crawl spaces — 7 feet tall, so parents could join their children if they wanted to and wouldn’t have to crawl to do it.
At the spider tower, a tall cylindrical structure with several layers of flexible netting for children to climb, Struchen says she’s seen kids struggle at first, but when they hear their parent encourage them, everything changes.
“Their parents encourage them and tell them, ‘You can do it!’ and then they get up really fast,” she said.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, play allows children to create and explore a world they can master, develop physical, cognitive, and emotional strength and is important to healthy brain development in children.
So while kids are bouncing in the inflatable castle or serving plastic food at the toy diner, they’re also learning.
Here are some other hidden teaching tools you’ll find:
“We just want to do something for the kids in the area,” Struchen said. “We just want to add something unique.”
Kidz Kingdom, at 1241 Upper Front St., Binghamton, is designed for children 12 and under and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, closed on major holidays. The facility is also available for parties.
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Admission for one child and parent is $12.99 for three hours, $12 for two children, $11 for three children and $10 for four children. Each additional parent is $5.
For more information, visit or call 607-237-0078.
In Stories to Share, reporter Katie Sullivan spends time with the Southern Tier’s most fascinating people. She’s looking for stories that will make you laugh, cry or be inspired. Know of someone who should be featured? Email her at, and follow her on Twitter @ByKatieSullivan.


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