The Beehive at Bok: A New Place to Gather and Play in South Philly
Bring the little ones to the Bok Building to gather and play!
There were no shoe cubbies left, and strollers flanked the door to this basement-level room in a former technical school. The Beehive at Bok hadn’t even officially opened yet; but on this rainy Sunday morning, families with small children filled the space with happy chatter and commotion, excited for a future of playtime.
Aesthetically, the Beehive most resembles a miniature version of Brewerytown’s Kith + Kin or Fishtown’s PlayArts– with wood floors, modern decor, and artistic flair. But for South Philly families with little ones, those treks up north are not the easiest to make. Owners (and local parents) Rachel and Hugh Daulerio opened the Beehive for this very reason. After difficulty finding classes within walking distance for their little girl, and then realizing that their neighborhood friends with young children were having the same challenges of having to drive across town for activities, they decided to create the Beehive. Now, South Philly has its own place to play, party, and meet for classes, right in the Bok Building.
Rachel Daulerio’s background in language (TESOL), literacy, and early childhood education makes her especially tuned into the needs of small children in play (and in the work of play), and she crafted a space that was inviting, stimulating, and eclectic. “Recognizing the young child as an artist, musician, dancer, gardener, cook, writer and reader of the world (and so much more!), Beehive reflects the many voices of children and provides opportunities for them to explore, play, and create alongside others in the community,” she explains.
The cozy subterranean space invites pretend play with a “rowhome” area (SEPTA bus coming soon!), movement with climbing structures, and sensory exploration with a variety of surfaces (and even a little nook just the right size for a toddler or two). The space is adorned by a bright mural sketched and painted by South Philly’s own Steph Kimmel.
The playspace will be open Mondays through Fridays from 9 am- 6 pm, Saturdays from 9 am- 4 pm, and Sundays from 9 am- 2 pm (as it is still in its soft-opening stage, check their social media in case of change). You can drop in and play for $12, buy a 10-day drop-in pass for $100, or sign up for an annual membership for $340. If you prefer to pay by the month, that will cost you $48 per month as you go, or $42 per month if you want to commit to the quarter. Annual members get 10% off birthday parties and 2 guest passes. You can also come for the very affordable $5 per family on Friday Happy Hours from 4—7 pm.
Take a Class, and Find your Village
The Beehive has an impressive schedule planned, with everything from toddler yoga to dance to Rhythm Babies music to preschool STEM to Spanish immersion, and much more. These classes are all offered on a drop-in basis for $13 per class (siblings pay just $5 to tag along), and the family can play before or after class for $5 as well.
In addition to the drop-in kid classes, there will also be Mommy and Me fitness classes, where parents can work out alongside their babies (and even use them for resistance!), and meet other parents along the way.
Playgroups & Gatherings are $10 dollars per child and include new parent meetups, baby playgroups, and even sensory playgroups.
The Beehive will also host birthday parties and other events. Private birthday parties or other special events can be scheduled on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. These start at $450 and include party helpers, decorations, and exclusive access to the entire space. Or you can do a “shared space” birthday starting at $295, also offered on weekends. Add-ons like live music by Rhythm Babies, STEM activities, special decorations, and goody bags are available for an additional fee.
The Beehive is located in the basement of the Bok Building at 1901 S. Ninth Street in South Philadelphia. Enter through the lobby and take the elevator down to the basement– the Beehive is room B03. Playspace hours are 9 am—6 pm on weekdays, 9 am—4 pm on Saturdays, and 9 am—2 pm on Sundays. See their website for class and workshop schedules, as well as special events.
Photographs by Laura Swartz.