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Friday, March 22, 2019

Sponge Bob brings smiles to guests’ faces.

The welcome desk is always ready to greet guests.

Owner Scott Lantzman.

The helicopter ride is a hit with younger kids.

Yeshiva Week is the perfect time for some quality family bonding…until it isn’t. After a few days, even the most patient parents start looking for ideas to fill the time, and some even start counting down the days until school starts again.

Of course, many families go away, and that change of scenery often provides enough entertainment to keep the kids occupied for the week. But what about everyone else? What is a parent planning a Yeshiva Week staycation to do for 10 days?

Scott Lantzman, owner and president of FunTime Junction in Fairfield, New Jersey, has the answer. “We have everything a family needs to keep the kids busy having fun, and we have a place for the parents also,” Lantzman told The Jewish Link.

Lantzman purchased FunTime Junction from its previous owners in April 2017 and has been busy overhauling and updating it since then.

“We replaced the bounce house and added basketball and a slide to it,” Lantzman described. “We made laser tag vestless so younger kids can easily play. We also replaced basically all the arcade games.”

One thing that Lantzman added was floor projection games. “The games switch every two minutes. Some are educational. All of them make the kids move around. The kids are learning and exercising and don’t even realize it,” he noted.

Upgrades not necessarily visible to his guests were new A/C and heat, new ovens and fresh paint. “The place looked dated. It needed painting,” said Lantzman.

As part of the upgrades, Lantzman switched from tokens and tickets to card swipes. “Everything is stored on the card,” he continued. “It’s just easier for everyone. I wanted to create a better guest experience all around.”

Improving the guest experience for parents was important to Lantzman, who wanted to make FunTime Junction a destination to which parents would be happy to bring their children. “We replaced the adult seating in the lobby and inside the facility,” he said. “We have rocking chairs and massage chairs in front of TVs; we have WiFi and charging stations. Parents can come, let their children play and do work. I wanted it to be comfortable for the adults as well as fun for the kids.”

Lantzman’s background is well suited to his current venture. He was a Judaic studies and communications major in college, and got his masters in camp leadership and administration. He began his professional career in the JCC world in the ’90s, working for the JCCA and then the MetroWest JCC in West Orange. He was the founding director of Gesher Summer Camp, an Orthodox day camp in Livingston, from 2002 until it closed in 2015.

“I just love working with kids,” said Lantzman, “and here I am a hands-on owner. I am here almost every day.”

While the kitchen is not kosher, there are a variety of items for sale that can be purchased by the kosher consumer, including bottled drinks, packaged ice cream and countertop snacks. The usual policy is that no outside food is allowed in the facility; however, Lantzman is sensitive to the dietary restrictions of his Orthodox patrons and will be accommodating, as long as the guests use their discretion.

FunTime Junction’s hours are usually Tuesdays through Fridays from noon until 6 p.m., with parties and groups often scheduled before those hours. On weekends it is open until 8 p.m. on Saturdays and from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Sundays. However, during Yeshiva Week it will also be open on Monday, January 21, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

The target audience is ages 4 to 11, but guests from ages 1 through 16 pay admission. Lantzman said there are many activities for toddlers, and teens typically gravitate to the arcade games.

For coupons or special promotions, visit localflavor.com

For more information, visit www.funtimejunction.com  or call 973-882-9777. FunTime Junction is located at 400 Fairfield Road in Fairfield, New Jersey.

By Jill Kirsch