Ritz Kids a Joy for Children and Parents

I hadn’t seen my West Hollywood gal pal Freddie in forever, so when she decided to come spend a week in the desert, well, naturally, I suggested that she and the kids stay at the most recent arrival on the Rancho Mirage resort scene: The Ritz-Carlton. She agreed on the spot.

As wonderful as Freddie’s brood is—Phalin is now 17, Farnsworth 8, and Fronkie 7—we girls needed to do a lot of catching up one-on-one. So, on the second day of their visit, we sent the young trio to Ritz Kids, the onsite club where children of guests can stimulate both body and mind in a fun, fresh, and creative supervised environment. Currently operating from Thursday through Saturday, the Ritz Kids program has two options: full-day (from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for $140, lunch included) or half-day (from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. or 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. for $75, snack included).

We chose the afternoon half-day so that we could spend the morning with the kids before enjoying a civilized Ladies Who Lunch meal at signature restaurant State Fare Bar & Kitchen, and when we met up with the two sisters and their brother at the end of their adventure, each was extraordinarily effusive about their time spent at Ritz Kids. Phalin, being older than the 12-year-old maximum age limit, hightailed it to the Teen Center, where she befriended a handful of other teen guests and played pool, pingpong, and foosball. Farnsworth and Fronkie immersed themselves in activities and learning—all of which are guided by the four pillars/themes of “Water,” “Land,” “Culture,” and “Environmental Responsibility”—under the expert guidance of Ritz Kids recreation attendant Frank Sheckler.

What most impressed the younger ones, of course, was Ritz Kids mascot Draco. A beautiful, 2-year-old pogona (or bearded dragon) measuring 19 inches who thrives on a diet of kale, red pepper, mango, apples, peaches, and worms, he endlessly fascinated Farrnsworth and Fronkie, neither of whom could stop telling us how wonderful it was to spend time with him and feel his exquisite scales.

So pleasant was their experience that all three kids told us that, before the week was out, they’d like to return to Ritz Kids for the full-day treatment. And here’s a fun fact: The facility boasts a mini movie theatre that seats 11—and even serves popcorn. Fronkie has already informed Freddie that that’s where she’d like to officially turn 8. The reservation is already set for this fall!