As I was dropping my 3-year-old off at Fred Meyer’s Playland the other day, in anticipation of a quiet shopping trip (and maybe some breathing time at Starbucks), I heard some news that I thought worthy to pass along to my fellow parents: Fred Meyer is closing all its Playlands. That’s according to a Playland employee. It is a management decision, and it takes effect July 1.

For me, surely like other parents, it’s the end of an era. Once they came of age, my kids spent a lot of time in Playland while I shopped or sat at Starbucks (meeting friends, writing, or just spacing out). Sometimes it served as my only break during the day. Now that my kids are in school during the year, it’s gotten easier, but I relied on it a lot when they were younger. We were there yesterday. I used to cringe when I got paged back to Playland (usually because my kid had to pee). Now I’m going to miss it.

Brenda, the woman you most likely hand your children off to, will be holding “graduations” the last week of June (keep in mind she does not work Sundays). And, if you’re so inclined, call Fred Meyer headquarters and let them know your thoughts about the closures. I always saw it as a value-added service, and it kept me crossing the bridge into East Wenatchee for years. Either way, I wanted to make parents aware. The Playland era is coming to an end.