The best indoor playgrounds in Philadelphia
This vibrant play space in East Falls already wins big with its zip lines, ball pits, slides and swings, but throw “safe” archery in the mix; and you’re suddenly parent of the year. In addition to a friendly and helpful staff, Kids at Play offers classes like toddler yoga and dancing as well as on-site early intervention services (occupational, speech and physical therapy). A comfortable lounge for caregivers is an added bonus.
A former music teacher opened this space in 2016, transforming an old public bathhouse in Fishtown into a community-minded family space catering mostly to the 6-and-younger crowd. The site is outfitted with a playhouse, lots of toys and a mezzanine-level “observation deck” that lets parents and caregivers encourage independent play while allowing them to keep an eye on their little troublemakers.
This family-owned space in Ardmore is known for its warm vibe and awesome playthings. (Locals say it’s like being invited to the house of a friend whose toys are cooler than yours.) Geared for little ones up to age 5, the casita offers a ball pit, play fort and walls of magnetic boards and LEGOs. For parents, the café offers La Colombe coffee and edibles with a Latin twist.
This nature-inspired setup boasts picnic tables, a playhouse, a tree for climbing, and a babbling brook (made of shiny make-believe water) that your Earth child can cross via a balance-beam log. The Center City location offers classes, babysitting, a retail store, a café for grown-ups and even a hairsalon for kids.
A hop, skip and a jump from Center City, LittleSPORT touts sports-themed play options for crawlers to 6 year olds. Founded and owned by a mom who wanted to work while playing with her kids, little athletes-in-training can shoot hoops and climb rocks, as well as slide, jump and ride on wheeled things in the arena. Daily drop-in rates are $10 per child, and $5 if you have a crawler.
For over a century, Philadelphia’s children have been enjoying East Fairmount Park’s Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse. Its 16,000-square-foot indoor play space offers young children aged 5 and under a train to drive, a kitchen for cooking and tricycles to cruise on. Kids play for free (though donations are accepted) at Smith, which means the playhouse can get crowded and chaotic.
Gymnastic equipment, such as tumbling mats, rings, trampolines, balance beams and a rock wall, keeps toddlers and school-aged children moving and bouncing at this Queen Village spot. Keep your eyes peeled for Family Open Gym days, when you’re whole brood—yes, even you, moms and dads, can get in on the fun. Drop-in prices are $12 or $15 per child for 45 minutes. Discounted packages are also offered when you purchase six, 12, or 18 visits. Word to the wise: If you live outside the neighborhood, prepare to take public transportation. Parking in the area is sparse.
Your little ones don’t have to live in—or visit—Center City to visit all the must-see Philadelphia attractions, such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, City Hall, Citizen’s Bank Park or Pat’s King of Steaks. You can see mini versions—created with Legos—at the Plymouth Meeting Mall. When you’re finished ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the tiny creations, head to Pirate Adventure Island where kids can climb, slide and walk a plank. Children can ride a train, dodge lasers and, of course, build with LEGOS. LEGOLAND is hugely popular, so it can be crowded and disorganized. Try to visit early during the week to get the most out of your experience.
Let your little kangaroo get all the bouncing out of its system at HFS City, which offers open run and jump times in its parkour, trampoline and ninja parks. Kids aged 5 and up can climb walls, swing on bars and jump into a foam pit. Adventurous tots ages 2 to 4 can get in on the action, too, so long as they have their brave and willing caregivers close by. Prices range from $12 for 30 minutes to $30 for 120 minutes of play time. Monthly passes and memberships are available, too.
Intended for novice as well as advanced rock climbers aged 4 and up, PRG offer challenging indoor activities (as well as instruction) for the whole family in a supportive and chill environment. Set in East Falls (there are also locations in Oaks, Coatesville and Wyncote), the 15,000-square-foot facility features 40 top ropes, lead climbing, walls for bouldering and roped climbing, and a full, state-of-the-art fitness center. Vacation-day programs for kids are available, as are individual, student and family memberships.