Gimme Shelter: Brooklyn’s Best Indoor Playgrounds

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Looking for a place to play inside in Brooklyn? The borough is full of kids, so you can be sure there are lots of indoor playgrounds for kids to explore. Whether you’re looking for a rainy day activity, it’s too darn hot, or you just need a change of scenery, here’s where the kids can play inside!

The Play Lab

The Play Lab

A new eco-friendly, Montessori-inspired playspace for children nine months to seven years old has arrived in Greenpoint. (It's right across from McCarren Park.) Super cool features include a treehouse slide, rock wall and rope area, as well as a LEGO pit, construction zone, and soft toys for the tiniest of visitors. The Play Lab is designed to encourage independent and cooperative play through a variety of creative and sensory-rich activities. The space's educational components have been designed to grow with kids as they work through different developmental phases. The Play Lab does it all: open play packages, drop-in passes, classes (music, French, little gym, etc.), birthday parties, as well as a store featuring French-designed Moulin Roty toys. 

Rates are $35 for two hours of drop-in play ($50 for two kids); $320/monthly pass ($270 for two kids), and $250 for a pack of 10 ($200 for two kids). 

31 Nassau Ave. 
Greenpoint
718-387-2071
Online: theplaylabny.com

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The Hollow

Located on the second floor of a brownstone in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, The Hallow offers two thoughtfully designed spaces for kids ages five and under to explore. "The Meadow"  is filled with open-ended materials and toys, allowing kids to be in charge of the play narrative. "The Den" provides children with opportunities to engage in practical life activities that encourage the development of fine motor skills, problem-solving, focus, perseverance, care of the environment, respect for others, and more. The serene vibe is no accident; the space was created to be a place where both kids and parents would want to hang out. The Hallow also offers an infant class, drop-off, Play School and birthday parties. Open play is $25 for 90 minutes. No shoes, please, and kids should wear grippy socks or bare feet when playing. 

425 Rogers Ave. 
Prospect Lefferts Gardens
Online: thehollowbk.org

Twinkle

Twinkle is back open and ready to party! (Safely.) Far from your ordinary indoor playground or play space, Twinkle offers its visitors 4,500 square feet to run, jump, and embark upon some seriously imaginative play. The popular play space is debuting two new play areas, a Pet Shop and Tea Salon. Other setup include the "Pretty in Pink" beauty salon, "Brooklyn General Store" (it's styled after a 1950s market), and "Gently Down the Stream" water play area. Open play is by reservation with two-hour slots, and masks are required for all guests ages two and up. Additional safety measures include a new air filtration system and sanitizing procedures. Twinkle is only for kids ages six and under. 

144 Frost St.
Williamsburg
718-349-1300
Online: twinkleplayspace.com

Good Day Play Cafe

This Brooklyn play and snack destination is the second location of Good Day Play Cafe, which opened a spot in Queens a few years ago. This one, recommended for kids six and younger, can be found on 5th Avenue in South Park Slope. There’s a lot to keep kids stimulated here: a mini climbing wall, a slide into a ball pit, magnetic wall, play marketplace, puzzles, a mat with sensory toys for the very young, and more. And, as with the original Good Day, a Hioki Cypress wood cube pit, a supposedly more germ-free alternative to sand, etc. You'll need to make a reservation to play here; open play is on Mondays, and Wednesday through Saturday. You can also book private play sessions for a group, or host a birthday party here.  Read our full review here!

Good Day Play Cafe
591 5th Ave.
South Slope
347-294-4334
Online: gooddayplaycafe.com

Recess DUMBO

A 2,200-square-foot indoor playground for kids six months to six years of age, Recess DUMBO features a custom-designed modern and streamlined playscape of wood, rope, slides and more. Young ones get their own tiny slide and climbing area, as well as books and soft toys for early exploration. Bigger kids can duck inside a cubby with a ladder to another level, slide down a fireman pole, knock around a wall of pool noodles and even scale to a height and ring a bell at the top. Drop-in is $30, and memberships are available as well. A separate room here hosts classes, singalongs and more.

Recess DUMBO
81 Washington St.
DUMBO
347-987-3509
Online: recessdumbo.com

 

Totally Tots at Brooklyn Children's Museum

If you’ve never considered the Brooklyn Children's Museum as a little kids' play destination, think again. The Totally Tots area, dedicated to those ages five and under, offers a water-play space; an art studio; a theater; building zone, and more. There's even a "Baby Hub" to ensure safe, soft play for those under 18 months. (For outdoor play here, head to The Nest, located on the museum's rooftop terrace.)

You need to make reservations in advance to visit, and the museum is currently only open on weekends and select holidays. 

145 Brooklyn Ave.
Crown Heights
718-735-4400
Online: brooklynkids.org

little Lola & Tots

A play space for little ones (four and under) Little Lola & Tots offers open play as well as toddler enrichment classes (such as yoga) and preschool alternative. You’ll find a play kitchen, magnetic wall, lots of books, tiny climbing structures, a slide, lots of sensory toys and more here. They do story time and crafts here, too. Open play is $15/hour, and you must register in advance. Lots of Covid-19 precautions are in place, including mandatory masks and capacity limits The space also operates an outdoor learning program in warmer weather, and offers a "pod" learning space. 

503 Dekalb Ave.
Bedford Stuyvesant
718-484-7620
Online: littlelolatots

Fairy Tale Island

Bay Ridge got its own indoor playground and play cafe a few years ago in the form of Fairy Tale Island. The 4,000-square-foot play space, designed for kids ages eight and under features an elaborate climbing structure with slides and swings, a ball pit, a faux sand pit, and trampoline. You’ll also find a mini climbing wall, and play grocery store and several play kitchens in the rear of the space. Parents can join in the fun or take a seat in the cafe area and relax with some coffee or tea. Read our full review here!

Open daily, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
7110 3rd Ave.
Bay Ridge
646-667-9096
Online: fairytaleisland.info

BAX

Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX)

As a part of BAX's Early Childhood programming, the open play space offers a fun and creative environment for babies through preschoolers (and their caretakers) to play and socialize Monday and Friday, 9:30-11:30 a.m. Under the supervision of a staff member, little ones ages one to four can jump through hoops and tunnels, bounce balls, or read books. Drop-in rate is $10, or $80 for a 10-pack punchcard. 

421 Fifth Ave.
Park Slope
718-832-0018 
Online: homepage.bax.org

Kids N Action

Located in the neighborhood of Borough Park, with its impressive indoor playground, Kids N Action is both a major rainy day and birthday party destination for area families. The huge space contains a large, four-level soft play structure with ramps, slides, passageways and more. A separate, lower-key toddler area can also be found here, for the youngest of visitors, and thrill-seekers can take a spin on the mini indoor rollercoaster, which goes forward and backwards.  A more mellow ride is available on a tiny train, which snakes under the large play structure, and for the older/taller kids, there's even a small go-kart track. Other amusements include many arcade and carnival games (tickets can be redeemed for small prizes) as well as an on-site cafe with basic snacks and drinks. Softplay (the big structure and toddler area) is $8 on the weekdays and $10 on weekends; Softplay plus the rollercoaster, train and go-karts is $16 on weekdays and $18 on weekends. Note: Kids N Action is not open on Saturdays until one hour after sundown.

1149 McDonald Ave.
Borough Park
718-377-1818
Online: kidsnaction.com

Powerplay's

Powerplay Activity Center

While Powerplay is mostly a climbing gym and gymnastics facility for kids - they thrive on their classes for active tots - they also boast a unique play space. On the second floor, you'll find an indoor sandbox, playground including a tube slide, kiddie cars to drive, toys to push, a basketball hoop, play house, reading nook and more. While it's not shiny and new, it does have plenty to keep your tot enthralled. Recommended for ages 0-6 years.

432 3rd Ave.
718-369-9880
Gowanus
Online: powerplaykids.com

NYC Transit Museum Facebook Page

New York Transit Museum

Although not advertised as a play space per se, for kiddos who love to ride the rails, the New York Transit Museum is a great place to play. The museum recently reopened after a long, pandemic pause. Your would-be mini commuters can roam the wide open halls and explore all the trains, buses, turnstiles and other transit memorabilia that are on display. Kids can climb into the driver’s seat, run the length of a vintage train car, and maybe even learn a little something about our grand city's vast transit system.

99 Schermerhorn St.
Brooklyn Heights
718-694-1600
Online: nytransitmuseum.org

 — Hanna R. Neier

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