Inside the family-owned Jumps & Downs, youngsters aged 1–10 tumble into a capacious ball pit, 5,000 balls strong—one of the many attractions that pepper the 3,600-square-foot facility. The indoor play center’s inflatables encourage airborne activities, building kids' motor skills every time they leap in one of the bounce houses, dive down the giant plush slide, or climb up the obstacle course. Groups of kids unleash cake-fueled manias on the playscape during birthday parties that come complete with all manner of festive accoutrements, including a private room, paper goods, invitations, and a copyright lawyer to make sure no scofflaw children sing "Happy Birthday" for free.
Currently celebrating its 45th anniversary season, the Children's Theatre Company remains among North America's premier children's theaters. Over the years, the theater has received a wealth of spirited cheers and distinguished honors, including the 2003 Special Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. In conjunction with the Kennedy Center, the Children's Theatre Company continues its current season with Barrio Grrrl!, a colorful pop musical penned by Quiara Alegria Hudes, the playwright behind the wildly successful hip-hop opus In the Heights. Ana, the plucky 9-year-old protagonist, bounces about her neighborhood with friends, family, an alter ego, and an invisible friend. However, the dynamic between Ana's projections and her person shifts when she realizes that she must deal directly with the reality of her circumstances, unlike the rest of us.
Named as an homage to one of the four historic theaters that once operated near what is now City Center, the New Century Theatre carries on the best of the stage. Whereas the original venue—which burned down in 1964—seated 2,000 and focused on vaudeville, the modern-day jewel creates an intimate space for theatrical performances with seating for 300. Since 2011, it has hosted local and touring performers as well as educational initiatives such as the Broadway Confidential series and an acting demonstration on how to cry your way out of a parking ticket.