Rainy days do little to dampen kids' energy—if anything, a downpour (or other home-confining weather like snowstorms or oppressive heat) makes little ones even more antsy. What to do? Museums are always a good option, but if they really have ants in their pants, let them run wild in one of our favorite indoor playgrounds. Bonus: Many of them offer coffee and other treats for weary parents.
Best indoor play spaces
The fun spans two levels at this Southport play area, a favorite spot for Southport mom and nannies. Welcoming kids up to eight, Explore & Much More has a play kitchen, dress-up area, and toy-filled nooks that encourage creativity and discovery. It also offers art and music classes, plus Mommy & Me and storytime.Read more
Too cold or rainy to hit the beach or playground sandbox? No problem. Take your kids ages 10 months and up to Kid's Island, which has the only indoor sandbox in the United States. In addition to its large playspace, Kid's Island will watch your kids while you get a spa service next door at Wellness Nail Spa. This spot also boasts a café serving lunch and snacks, and a Julius Meinl coffee shop.Read more
The second location of this indoor playspace is much larger with plenty of things for both little and big kids to do. A gym, karaoke room, art room and library complement the little and big play areas. There is also a full cafe with drive-thru window, and kids can participate in classes, camps and birthday parties.Read more
Located between Lincoln Park and Bucktown, this popular play space ($12/visit) and cafe has a fire station, grocery store, tons of costumes and so much more for the kiddos. Even better: There is wireless for parents who need to get some work done, plus tables and couches inside the play area. There's also an indoor café next to the windowed playroom that serves food and coffee.Read more
Pickle's Playroom combines a large interactive playroom, an inviting cafe and a fun children's salon. Kids love the huge slide area and the air traffic control tower, and parents love the café that serves lunch and coffee. As an added bonus, you can get your kid's hair cut in the kids’ salon, which also sells hair products and accessories.Read more
The 1,500-square-foot storefront playroom, aimed at newborns through preschoolers, boasts a crawl-through tunnel, toy trucks, costumes for dress-up, a train table, DUPLO table, dollhouse, books, ethnically diverse dolls, rocking-horse-type riding toys and more. The youngest babies get their own area, separated by a low wall. On the bigger-kid side of the divider, some of the train toys don't meet the toilet-paper-tube threshold, so (duh) keep an eye on your orally fixated infant. A communal table offers a great spot to serve snacks from home, or you can buy individual prepackaged items such as organic milk, water, juice, applesauce, etc. The bathroom has a potty seat, a stool and a changing table. Free coffee and wi-fi for the parents.Read more