We Tried It: Keiki Republic
Jump into a ball pit, fight dinosaurs on a projector screen and climb a rock wall at this new indoor playground at Windward Mall.
What: Keiki Republic, an indoor playground on the Windward side of O‘ahu
Who: Two sets of parents and four energetic kids ranging from 1.5 to 6 years old
Where: Windward Mall
When: Saturday at 10 a.m.
It seems every parent and caregiver know about Kids City and its two luxurious locations over in Ward and Kapolei, but I wanted to learn more about Keiki Republic, a new play center over on the windward side. My family and I are fans of Windward Mall—we love how it’s already packed with fun things for the whole family like Pups of War, Glow Putt Mini Golf, Ko‘olau Pets and Fun Factory.
The name might be familiar, because Keiki Republic opened at Ala Moana Center in 2021, but closed in March 2022. It reopened a few months later at this new location.
We checked in at Keiki Republic at 10 a.m. on a Saturday, and there was no line to get in. I quickly signed a few waivers and put our shoes into cubicles. There’s also a space to park strollers. Pricing is as follows:
· 1-hour entry (1 adult free): $16
· 2-hour entry (1 adult free): $22
· Same day unlimited entry (1 adult free): $45
· Extra adult: $5
· Monthly pass (1 adult free): $160
· Socks: $2.5
· Grip socks: $4
Not bad, right? For our family of four, the entry prices seemed reasonable and I appreciated that my husband and I didn’t need to pay any extra fees to get in.
The space is colorfully designed with various play stations that are sectioned off by age groups. As soon as we got in, my kids dashed off in two separate directions to explore. I went to find my mom friend who was already sitting on a comfy-looking couch by the trampoline. Her four-year-old son is jumping into the ball pit, throwing the orange, white and yellow balls in the air. After saying hi, her 1.5-year-old daughter confidently heads over to explore an area that’s perfect for littles under two: a miniature version of the main ball pit, various baby toys (I spotted a Blippi doll!), small playground equipment with a slide, scooter cars and more. Over the next hour, it’s a blur of activity for all four kids!
SEE ALSO: We Tried It: Keiki Kingdom
My friend and I absolutely loved the couches and cushions placed conveniently throughout the space. The space is small enough that you can keep an eye on your kids at almost any time—you don’t have to trail after them like you might in larger play centers. The exit is also gated off so we didn’t worry about them making an escape.
Even though the space is smaller, there’s still plenty to do. My son Noah went straight for the ball pit because there’s an interactive projector screen where you can fight dinosaurs—the images are affected by shadows so you can wave your arms or throw balls at it to defeat the pterodactyls and T-Rexes. “Watch me, mommy!” he starts saying, on repeat. He soon discovers that the ball pit is connected to the obstacle course. There’s a small bridge to climb up and he proceeds to throw the balls over into the pit. My older child Anna sits herself down at the makeup table and plays there for a while before jumping on a Frozen-themed motorized car and riding it around the room. She parks it by the rock climbing wall. She struggles at first, but is delighted to be able to make it to the top.
There’s so much more:
· An obstacle course connected to a large slide into a giant ball pit
· The cutest mini boxing court, complete with kid-sized boxing gloves and a punching bag
· Miniature exercise equipment
· A merry-go-round
· Lego tables
· A sectioned-off area packed with dinosaur toys, excavators, dump trucks and monster trucks
· Motorized cars that you can drive along the tracks on the play mats
· Doctor, kitchen and various play sets
· A trampoline with foam boxes
The hour passed by fast, but it felt like just the right amount of time. We noticed that throughout the hour, employees were sanitizing and cleaning the toys that were used. The bathroom is co-ed and clean, with slippers provided since you won’t have any shoes on. As we left, all four kids were given a balloon, which made leaving much easier—zero tears!
- Keiki Republic is located next to Ross, so park on that side of the mall for a shorter walk.
- Adults and kids need to wear socks, so, bring your own (they don’t need to be grip socks, but those are helpful!). Don’t worry if you forget though, they have some for sale.
- Refuel at the food court! Our kids had cheese pizza from Papa Johns and hot dogs and French fries from Hot Dog On A Stick.
- Before you head over, call or check their Instagram at @keikirepublic to make sure they are open. Sometimes they are closed for private parties.