Business: Inside Recess

Location: Lenape Plaza, 6056 Harding Highway, Mays Landing

Owner: Susan Hitzel, of Belcoville, Hamilton Township

Employees: Daughter Natalie Hitzel, 18, of Belcoville

Phone: 609-837-2105

Inside Recess is an interactive children’s museum, with a gift shop and snack bar attached.

This is a concept I’ve been working on for about 10 years, a parent-friendly place to take kids up to about age 8.

We focus on creative play and role play, with different activity centers around the border of the room. In the center is seating, so parents can relax, enjoy a cappuccino and a snack, and watch their children safely play.

Parents can decide whether to interact with the children or just watch them engage with other children in the activities.

We hope we do a lot of birthday parties, which will start at $100. Parties can either be during our open hours or on Friday and Saturday evenings.

We will feature two dance shows a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

My daughter, who is a dancer, will perform a short dance and then hand out tutus or capes and bring the children up on stage. There she’ll do a little dance with them.

Twice a day we’ll have a story time in which I’ll read a story and discuss it with the children.

The activities are themed, with the largest a home setting with two kitchens, a restaurant and market, where children can pretend to shop and check out at a register.

We have a sand and water table with summer things, such as a picnic basket and beach setting. There’s a construction area with all kinds of building blocks, trucks and a workbench.

We have a Tot Spot with a padded floor and toys, safe for infants.

Another area is a school setting, with paper, crayons, computers and such. We also have a veterinarian’s office, with stuffed animals that need care and equipment.

The activity areas will change to keep the museum fresh.

Entry: I taught from preschool through fifth grade for 35 years. I always dreamed of doing something like this.

Opening today: We’re opening at 10 a.m. (today) Thursday, Sept. 12. Our admission is $6.50 for first two children, and $3.50 for adults and additional children. Infants under year old are free.

Worked as a reporter for various weekly newspapers in Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May counties before joining The Press many moons (and editors) ago as a business copy editor. Passionate about journalism, averse to serial commas.