Life at work: A Halloween parade and day care at the office

Company: Discovery Communications.

L ocation: Silver Spring.

Number of employees: About 2,000 locally.

There are many reasons Kristen Mainzer looks forward to going to work. But last Friday, there was one in particular: Seeing her daughter in a Halloween parade that made its way through Mainzer’s office at Discovery Communications.


The logo for Discovery Kids Place and Crikey Cove was designed by the child of a Discovery Communications employee. (Courtesy of Discovery Communications)

Her 3-year-old, who is enrolled at the company’s on-site day care facility, was dressed up as Rapunzel — complete with a wig, Mainzer said.

“There are hundreds of reasons I love this arrangement,” said Mainzer, vice president of internal communications. “It is just a phenomenal opportunity to have her near me. ”

Discovery Kids Place opened in 2008 and has had a waiting list ever since, says Evelyne Steward, a Discovery vice president. It accomodates 107 children between the ages of 6 weeks and 6 years.

“We have a lot of working moms and dads, so it just makes good business sense,” Steward said.

Parents frequently stop by to see their children throughout the day, sometimes as many as five times, said Christina Cross, executive director of the center.

The day care has 11 classrooms, all with sweeping floor-to-ceiling windows. Outside, there is Crikey Cove, a playground modeled after the Australian outback that includes climbing rocks, a gazebo covered with fake snakes and a treehouse. It was built in the memory of Steve Irwin, the host of Discovery’s “The Crocodile Hunter” television show, who died in 2006.

The facility, which is managed by Bright Horizons, offers tiered tuition based on household income. Monthly fees range from about $950 for older children to $1,500 for infants.

The day care is open from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. — a closing time that, Steward says, was a deliberate decision by the company.

“We didn’t want the message to be, ‘You should be living at work,’” she said. “At 7 o’clock, you should be out of here — especially if you have kids.”

Abha Bhattarai covers local banking, retail and hospitality for The Washington Post’s Capital Business section. She has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters and the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times.
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