In Celebration of Kids gives children a place to play in downtown Steamboat Springs |

In Celebration of Kids gives children a place to play in downtown Steamboat Springs

— Three-year-old Harlow Kuntz is a big fan of what the old Franklin Mall in downtown Steamboat Springs has become.

At In Celebration of Kids, Harlow has Mario Kart races to win, quads to drive around and birthday parties to attend.

She and other children get to play in this nearly 10,000-square-foot fun zone while their parents shop for their kids clothes near the front of the store.

The children can also get their hair cut behind the steering wheel of a miniature fire truck or have their nails done at a salon.

And nobody is telling anyone to keep it down.

“She can run around and be loud,” Harlow’s mother, Toria, said Monday as the girl played Mario Kart in the arcade. “It’s just such a great place for kids. In the winter, we get stuck in the library and pool rut. This gives us something new and fun.”

Toria Kuntz called In Celebration of Kids a community asset.

“We come here a couple of times a week,” she said.

Alexa Nachtweih and Cindy Hayek opened the business in December, and it quickly has become a new gathering place for local children and parents.

“I knew there was a need for it, but seeing the excitement has been great,” Nachtweih said as two children climbed into a toy helicopter ride behind her. “The feedback so far has been amazing. We’ve gotten oohs and ahhs, and ‘I can’t believe we have a space like this.'”

Parents can arrange themed or un-themed birthday parties and get a custom cake at the bakery.

There’s a cafe with a menu that appeals to both children and adults.

And a planned parent resource center will allow parents to get a wide range of local information geared toward children.

In Celebration of Kids primarily serves newborns to early tweens and their families.

Nachtweih said it was a fun place to design.

“It was all about fun. It was all about color and life and enjoyment, and the durability of furniture,” Nachtweih said.

Even the crane game, a machine that is notorious for gobbling up children’s quarters without spitting out a toy, has been modified at this place to ensure kids have more fun.

Nachtweih said the tension of the crane that grabs the toys has been adjusted so that children win more often.

“You have to remember you have to face the parents” if the kids don’t win, Nachtweih said.

To learn more about In Celebration of Kids, visit

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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