Before the pandemic, Jeff Eisenberg decided to scale back his outdoor rental business and concentrate on the indoor inflatables play space he owns on Long Island. He kept some of his outdoor equipment, "just in case," he says.
Then "just in case" happened.
The continuing pandemic has spurred him to bring back his outdoor options for this spring and summer — he’ll rent inflatable waterslides, bounce houses, even archery targets delivered to families. No need to wait for a birthday or special occasion to turn the backyard into a temporary fun zone.
Here are details about his offerings through Farmingdale-based Party Animals, as well as two other Long Island companies with backyard options — a brunch or picnic in an igloo-like tent from Posh-Nosh Picnics or a colorful Gymboree-style setup for babies, toddlers and preschoolers from Let Them Play.
"We call it a bubble tent," says Posh-Nosh Picnics owner Karolina Molnar of Massapequa, who launched her business during the pandemic. She brings the tent with seating and pillows, a table, a butler’s cart on wheels and an LED sign that displays the message of the renter’s choice if they are celebrating an occasion. If it’s cold, there are heated blankets; if it’s warm, the tent has two flaps that can be rolled up to let a breeze in, Molnar says.
Jennifer Tand, 37, an elementary school teacher from Merrick, rented the tent in January for her twins’ 9th birthday after seeing a post on her Facebook page. "I thought, ‘You know what, this is really cool. This would be something unique and a way for us to do something as a family that is different.’ I had exhausted all my parenting bag of tricks over the past year. I thought this would be a way for us to ‘go out to eat’ without going out to eat."
The family enjoyed it so much that Tand booked it again for her husband’s 38th birthday in April, this time in the evening for a different ambience. "We had so much fun, I was looking for an excuse to do it again," Tand says.
The tent fits four adults and four children, or six adults. It can also be booked for a romantic dinner for two. Tent (with seating and other accessories) is $375 for two hours on a Friday evening, or Saturdays and Sundays either 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. or 6 to 8 p.m. "We don’t do anything midday because we need to sanitize," Molnar says. Adding on extra time is $50/hour. Packages that include brunch or a charcuterie board and dessert platter have an additional fee. Bookings, available in Nassau and western Suffolk County, are done through poshnosh-picnics.com.
LET THEM PLAY
Alexandra Wolfe, 33, of Smithtown, who works in syndication distribution for CBS, rented Let Them Play’s soft gym setup for her daughter Greta’s second birthday. "We couldn’t go to a place to have her birthday, so we had it in our backyard," Wolfe says. "She really liked it. She really liked having the ball pit, things she could climb and the toddler roller coaster. We had it for four hours, the perfect amount of time."
Linda Melendez, 30, a bank branch manager from Holbrook, and her husband, Luis, also 30, a Spanish language interpreter at South Shore University Hospital, did the same for their son Raymond’s first birthday. "I was looking for something for him to really enjoy because it was his birthday," Linda says. She says the setup would be great for families who wanted to chip in for an outdoor play date.
"It’s like a magnet for the kids," says Let Them Play owner John Fiorentino of Deer Park. The soft equipment is geared to ages baby to 5, and because it’s in a contained area, "the parents can sit back and relax and the kids can play," he says.
Packages are for four hours, can be delivered to all of Nassau or Suffolk counties, and run from $275 to $425 depending on the amount and age-related size of equipment selected by the renters. Let Them Play, which has been in business since 2016, sanitizes equipment between users, including the balls in the ball pit, Fiorentino says. Rentals are done by phone or online; 631-219-7255, letthemplayrentals.com.
Turn the yard into an archery range with the newest option in Party Animals’ quiver. Shooters use Velcro-tipped arrows for safety that stick to the inflatable target. Other backyard rentals include tried-and-true favorites such as inflatable waterslides, bounce houses, and the popular 35-foot-inflatable obstacle course, says owner Jeff Eisenberg.
Options range in price from $225 to $375 for a four-hour rental. All units are sanitized after every party using an electrostatic sprayer and sanitizing solution, Eisenberg says. For more information: 631-605-4445, partyanimalsny.com.