New to Phoenix, Whipples Fun Center is a family-run local business that offers indoor activities for children while also providing a comfortable atmosphere for the adults who accompany them. Owners Jeff Carl and Karen Sung have attended many children’s birthday parties over the years and noticed that all the child play places they’ve experienced catered only to the kids and not to the adults.
“After attending years of birthday parties at arcades and play centers, we started to think that the model for kids activity centers could be improved,” said Jeff. “We thought it might be nice to start a similar business that was not only geared towards children, but caters to adults as well.”
The couple was looking for a new venture and wanted to create a new experience for the community to enjoy. The general consensus of the atmosphere at child parties appeared to be parents following kids around to different activities and not having a place to just sit and converse.
“There was no opportunity to have adult conversations,” said Jeff of his past experiences at kids parties. “We wanted to arrange a more intimate party setting with lots of attractions for kids but also areas for parents to hang out and relax.”
“The property is actually designed from the adult’s perspective,” Jeff said. “The venue is painted with neutral grays with pops of color, rather than bold kid themes. The atmosphere is really very inviting for adults. The space is also laid out so adults have clear line of site of the property and can watch their children from almost anywhere in the facility.”
The venue has a sit-down café to provide a place for adults to sit, mingle, eat and enjoy their family time. There are also televisions for adults to enjoy while their children play. In the future, Whipples Fun Center hopes to expand with some outdoor space as well as acquire a liquor license to serve beer and wine to the adults.
For the kids (but also designed to accommodate adults), various attractions include arcade games, laser tag, a two-story climbing structure, trampoline, bumper cars and, of course, plenty of rooms for hosting birthday parties and events.
“Since opening, we have hosted many school field trips, 8th grade graduation parties, birthday parties and have even worked with the Boys and Girls Club,” Karen shared of their fast-rising success. “We are also very committed to our schools and participate in many school fundraisers.”
When the business opened in September, they averaged about three parties a weekend at Whipples Fun Center. Today, the business hosts about 20-25 parties each weekend.
“I love how we make people feel,” said Jeff. “I see smiles. I see Dads watching football on T.V. and families eating in the café. The most enjoyable part is seeing the adults sitting and visiting and feeling comfortable on our property along with their kids.”
Karen adds that she is very proud of their staff. “We have grown and they have been patient and have grown with us. I always remind them that this is a fun center! We work at a place where you have fun. The name of our business has ‘fun’ in it and our number one job is to make sure everyone is having fun while they’re here. It’s our mission to make everyone happy – kids AND adults.”
For more information on Whipples Fun Center, visit whipplesfuncenter.com.
Written by: Rebecca Zaner
Rebecca Zaner has written many stories throughout the valley and enjoys having the ability to share community news, journeys and achievements. Holding a Bachelor of Music, Rebecca’s favorite place to be is the stage. Having been a singer all her life, Rebecca is now in pursuit of a professional performing career, singing opera and musical theatre (rebeccazaner.com). Also an avid photographer, Rebecca owns a photography business, Rebecca Kaye Photography (rebeccakayephoto.wix.com/rebeccakaye). She enjoys the natural beauty of Arizona and can be found spending her free time exploring and traveling with her family.