Best indoor playgrounds
The retreat might be named for its tree house, but its main attraction is a water table. Toddlers give plastic animals a bath while preschoolers direct water jets to move balls and customize dams. Other offerings include a wide selection of classes, playgroups and birthday parties. This is a reservation-based facility, so plan accordingly before you make the trip. Ages 0–8.
Imaginations run wild in this custom-made 4,500-square-foot playspace, complete with interactive structures that’ll wow your little ones. There’s the stardust tree fort, which features a suspended tower with a netted bridge, plus a Red Hot Fire House that features a massive fire truck, stairs and a second-floor firehouse. Kids can also dress up in firefighter gear, help change fire truck tires and even play with the lights and sounds of the truck. Other special features include a graffiti studio, a construction play area, the General Store (a 1950s–style market complete with groceries) and a beauty parlor. (Williamsburg, twinkleplayspace.com). Ages 6 and under.
Kiddies can head to another universe without leaving NYC! This family-friendly space in Queens is a great way to make every day seem like an adventure. Tykes can enjoy playing in ball pits and foam block pits, shooting hoops and wandering across the space chain bridge. Not only will little ones fall in love with the venue, but parents will also be easily impressed. While their kiddies are having the time of their lives, they can relax in the cafe and snack on treats and sip coffee. Hey, mom and dad need a little r&r, too! All ages.
This Park Slope hotspot is a win-win for the whole family. The cafe and playground hybrid will give parents the opportunity to snack and socialize—a much-needed break—while their kids run wild. Youngsters will be able to slide into a ball pit, create masterpieces in the LEGO station, test their agility at the angled climbing wall, run around the matted play area and explore the wonders of the magnetic wall. Let the kiddies refuel with juice and cookies once they've wrapped up their adventures, and don't forget to explore the possible birthday party options available! All ages.
At this Kidville location, you’ll find a supervised indoor gym, tons of weekly classes such in dance, arts, science and more, plus a boutique and a café. But pampered playtime at these megaspaces comes at a price: Unlimited class membership costs $399 per month. (Upper East Side, kidville.com). Ages 0–6.
With Open Play classes offered daily ($20 per class, $50 weekly unlimited classes or $185 monthly unlimited classes), this addition to Brooklyn’s play landscape is definitely worth a visit. Little ones can climb a tiny slide and crawl through Busy Bodies' tiny tunnel with mom or dad's help, roll around on colorful mats, play with tons of toys and even ride along on classic play scooters. There are also organized classes like Spanish Music Sing-a-Long (all ages). As a heads up, this spot is really best for very young children, so leave the older kids home! (Clinton Hill, busybodiesbrooklyn.com). Ages 0–4.
Your seedling will blossom at this play space, which was created by children's museum designers. Apple Seeds includes an indoor playground featuring a soft-play climbing area and a shape-sorter garden. The space also contains a birthday room and classrooms at the facility offer lessons in music, art, cooking, science, yoga, dance, sports and Spanish. Ages 0–5.
Recess Dumbo boasts a jumparoo (which lets kids bounce around on a big tube), fireman poles, an alcoved nook with magnets, netting for climbing and of course, big and small slides. Grab a membership or drop-in pass (there are tons of options available) or sign up for a class (seasonal 50-minute sessions that run anywhere from eight—13 weeks). Ages 6 and under.
Founded by two sisters, this 3,000-square-foot play space offers an indoor jungle gym, a Broadway-themed room with amazing kids’ costumes and a “bodega” where they can play with shopping carts and plastic/cardboard foods. There are also ride-on car toys (a Bentley and a Mercedes) and a custom train table featuring a 6 train and landmarks like the Statue of Liberty. Ages 6mos–5yrs.
Ideal for kids ages 2–5, this unique Astoria spot packs in plenty of fun. There’s an arcade area (which is pay to play), a toddler room and a multi-level play area with fast slides, tubes and padded climbing spots where kids can climb and jump. Don't forget to bring socks—they're required! (Astoria, letsplayplayhouse.com). Ages 2–5.
This Long Island venue provides plenty of opportunity for kiddos to jump, climb, run and "xplore." It's the perfect location for them to release that pent-up energy, no matter what the weather looks like outside. The bright-colored room hosts inflatables perfect for bouncing, a multi-level soft playground, a laser maze that lets kiddos test their skills and even a wide selection of video games. Summer camp and birthday party options are also available. Ages 1–12.
During two-hour open play, let your kids explore the colorful gym that features a bounce house, inflatable obstacle course, foam pit, ball pit, basketball court, tunnels and slides. Looking for a birthday party location for your little ones? Kids 'N Shape Queens is an awesome venue for celebrations. It even provides camp programs with various themes each week. Ages 18 months—12 years.
All little visitors in search of an adventure are bound to find one at this newly-opened NYC venue. Options abound at every turn, including yoga, dance, music—you name it. Should your tyke be more interested in exploring the space's toys, there are train tracks, play kitchens and mats for climbing that he or she can dabble with after a yoga session. Be sure to spend time on the outdoor patio when the nice weather hits and plan your kiddo's next birthday at this awesome space! All ages.
Haven’t visited lately? What are you waiting for? This awesome space acts as a dedicated educational, play and classroom spot for local families. Two separate rooms are available to visitors during Open Play: One is an activity room with a padded floor that’s great for toddlers (it often has a mini bouncy castle and giant foam blocks), and the other is a sensory classroom that includes a magnetic chalkboard wall, a wooden playhouse and a custom-built wooden sensory wall with a bead maze, shape-matching toy, vintage telephone and a concave blowfish-shape mirror. There are even classes for expectant parents and the option to host a baby shower in the venue. Ages 2 mos–12 years.
More fun things to do
There are plenty of outdoor activities for kids in New York City—many you'll even love doing as a family! When you're not busy cuddled up with our favorite family movies on Netflix and our list of the best kids movies (come on—it's time to head outside!), you'll love exploring the coolest family attractions and the other amazing outdoor activities this amazing city has to offer.