Brrring the Fun! The Coolest Places to Host an Indoor Play Date

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As fall and winter bring cooler temps and gray days, you’ll be ditching those parks for the warmth of indoor spaces. So we’ve collected some of the most unique places for an indoor play date. Pack up the kids and head to one of these city spots for a few hours of fun.

kids-laughingPhoto credit: hkahins via Flickr

Catch a Live Show at The Avalon Theatre
Weekend Family Matinees at the Avalon on Saturdays at 10 am include films for kids, live performances and music. Shows are family friendly and ridiculously fun.

Cost: $5.50; Free/Under 2
5612 Connecticut Ave., NW (Chevy Chase)

butterfly-face-kidPhoto credit: horizontal.integration via Flickr

Play Hide and Seek at the Butterfly Habitat Garden
Nothing brings smiles and builds friendships like the beauty of hundreds of butterflies. At the Smithsonian’s indoor Butterfly Habitat Garden, little ones can see the actual butterfly life cycle and gain insight into the miraculous metamorphosis of the butterfly species. Bonus: The climate-controlled environment is kept at 80 degrees, and 80 percent humidity.

Cost: $6/Adults; $5/kids; Free/every Tuesday
9th St. between Constitution Ave. and the National Mall (Capitol Hill)

fort-dupont-ice-arenaPhoto credit: Fort Dupont Ice Arena

Skate Out the Wiggles at Fort Dupont Ice Arena
This kid-friendly indoor rink opens to the public on Fridays and Saturdays at noon. It’s a fun way to spin circles with new friends or meet up with old ones. Just don’t forget warn socks, mittens and a hat!

Cost: $5/Adults; $4/Kids 2-12
3779 Ely Pl. (Fort Dupont)

artjamz-dcPhoto credit: Artjamz

Let the Creativity Flow at ArtJamz
Take your little Picasso out for an arty play date at Art Jamz where friendly, creative staff members set kids up with paint, while you sit back in the lounge sipping wine or beer with other parents. ArtJamz provides smocks, canvases, paints, palettes, easels and unlimited access to art materials. You can paint too, if you want. Reservations recommended.

Cost: $26 – $50
1728 Connecticut Ave. NW (Dupont)

national-building museumPhoto credit: National Building Museum via Facebook

Build Like Bob at National Building Museum
Meet up with other grown-ups and youngsters at the National Building Museum’s Building Zone where you’ll find a hands-on introduction to the building arts designed especially for the Museum’s youngest visitors, ages 2-6. Kids can build towers and brick walls, drive bulldozers, dress up in hard hats and tool belts, and explore the museum’s Project Playhouse, a life-sized, custom-built green house.

Cost: $3/Ages 3 and up
401 F St.,NW

climbzone usaPhoto: ClimbZone USA

Get a Leg Up at ClimbZone USA
This isn’t your mom’s climbing gym. Here, you can scale Jack’s giant beanstalk, Mount Rushmore, the Empire State Building, the bones of a T-Rex or any of 70 themed walls—all made of colorfully painted plywood, not plastic like the fake-rock walls at most climbing gyms. Also, hydraulic automatic belay systems mean Dad doesn’t have to help the kid(s) down. He can climb along instead. The 11,000-square-foot ClimbZone welcomes climbers ages 3 and up. No previous climbing experience—or gracefulness—necessary.

Cost: $12-$25/Ages 2 and up
13200 Mid Atlantic Blvd. (Laurel, Md)

Where do you go to stay warm (and have a ton of fun) during the cool fall and winter months? Tell us in the Comments section below. 

—Jamy Bond and Ayren Jackson-Cannady