Inside Scoop: NYC’s Best Indoor Playgrounds

The Play Lab

Indoor playgrounds are open in NYC, and like everything in the city there’s lots to choose from. From ball pits and bouncy houses to inspired imaginary play areas and even cafes where parents can chill, you can find a place both you and the kids will love. (Note that some indoor playgrounds are still requiring masks right now, so be sure to bring one along, as well as socks. To make your life easier, fill out the waiver before arriving. Reservations may be required.) If you need the best indoor playgrounds in Brooklyn, click here. For our favorite places to play in Queens, click here! And hey, if it’s nice out, head to one of our favorite playgrounds in NYC!


Videos From Tinybeans


For a Brand New Spot in Brooklyn: 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

For Montessori Play in PLG: The Hollow

iStock

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

For a Dreamy Space in Queens: Dream City

Dream City

A local mom of two is the founder and owner of this huge 6,200-square-foot Forest Hills, Queens play space. The fun is spread out over two floors here, and includes diversions for kids of all ages, interests and sizes. Play areas and activities include an obstacle course, a soft play area, a rainbow “climb and slide”, an ice cream truck, ball pit, small wood cube pit, a “hideout”, swings and beehive cubbies. And there’s more to come! There’s an on-site cafe where you can grab a coffee or juice and chill while the kids play. Current rates, which are subject to change are: $18 for two hours on weekends; $15 for 90 minutes on weekdays. Dream City is open every day 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Mondays, and yes, they will host your child’s birthday party! Click here to inquire. Socks and reservations are required. Reserve your spot here

108-48 Queens Blvd.
Forest Hills
718-880-2352 
Online: dreamcityfohi.com

For the Sporty Tot: Little Athletes Exploration Center

Chelsea Piers

The Little Athletes Exploration Center is a great Chelsea indoor play space. Located in Chelsea Piers, the center has drop-in play for kids ages six months to five years old. We love the two-story climbing gym filled with sensory play items, and the ball pit that we so wish we could dive into ourselves. Everything is padded and soft, so your wee ones can go wild without hurting themselves. The center is generally open seven days a week, but we suggest you call in advance for the daily schedule, as times often change. Rate is $20 for 90 minutes of play; $190 for 10-pack, and $360 for 20-pack. 

Chelsea Piers, Pier 62
23rd Street and Hudson River Park
Chelsea
212-336-6500
Online: chelseapiers.com

For Modern Play in DUMBO: Recess DUMBO

Recess DUMBO

A 2,200-square-foot play space 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 for the first child and $20 for a sibling, and memberships are available as well. You can also book a private playdate for a group of kids. Those start at $250 for one hour of play for six children. A separate room here hosts classes and birthday parties. Reservations are required. 

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

For a Favorite in Ridgewood: Lidia’s Play Cafe

Lidia’s Play Cafe

This independently-owned cafe and play space gets high marks from visitors for high-quality toys and play environments, good food (take your pick from tasty sandwiches and salads, coffees, a kids’ menu and more) and cleanliness. The play area for kids six and younger is spacious and stocked with natural toys geared toward child development including a play kitchen, a small slide, puppets, clothes for dress-up and wooden cars and trains. Classes like Jazz Baby and Toddler Art are held here, and they do a great job with birthday parties. Open play is $20 for 90 minutes ($15 for second child) and you can get 10 sessions for $175. 
 
71-06 Fresh Pond Rd.
Ridgewood
347-889-5001
Online: lidiasplaycafe.com

For Royal Playtime in Long Island City: Peekaboo Playground

Peekaboo Play Cafe

Originally located in Flushing, Peekaboo Playground moved to Long Island City in 2020. The large play space for kids seven and younger is pretty in pink and prominently features a big, bi-level castle play structure. Among the diversions here are a huge ball pit (which you can access via slide), a spiral slide, interactive screens and ball puzzles, a trampoline, a toddler area and a pretend ice cream truck. An on-site cafe offers basic bites and refreshments. Cubbies are available to stash stuff (although no locks) and socks are required. It’s a popular spot, so expect some crowds at peak times. Rates are $20 for one hour, $25 for two; $10 for an additional adult and $5 for an additional child. Monthly passes are also available, and Peekaboo offers several party packages, from basic to deluxe. 

4707 34th Ave. 
Long Island City
718-685-2283
Online: peekaboooplaycafe.com

 

For a Trippy and Fun Playscape: Twinkle

Twinkle

Twinkle  is a 4,500-square-foot creative play wonderland in the heart of Williamsburg for kids six and under. You must book your two-hour play slot in advance, which you can do here.  This play space is loaded with exhibits and play environments, with everything from the “Red Hot Fire Truck” (complete with hoses that spray real water) to “Graffiti Room” (a fully padded room for dancing and tumbling) to “How to Feed Your Dragon,” (which houses four colorful, 15-foot-tall dragons). New additions to the space include a Pet Shop and Tea Salon. Tickets for two hours of drop-in play are $20/kids, $15/adults, and children under 12 months are free. Hot tip: fill out the waiver beforehand to make your check-in faster. 

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

For a Playscape & Cafe in Bay Ridge: Fairy Tale Island

Fairy Tale Island is Bay Ridge is another indoor playground and play cafe. 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, 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! Cost is $20 for two hours of play for one child; it’s $17 per child for three or more kids. You can also throw a birthday party here. 

7110 3rd Ave.
Bay Ridge
646-667-9096
Online: fairytaleisland.info

For an Asia-Inspired Play space in Queens: Mini Play Land

Rachel Sokol

Opened in 2018 by a local mom, Mini Play Land is fashioned after similar play spaces she saw in Asia. Measuring 3,000 square feet, the Long Island City, Queens play space features several moving play structures (a small dolphin carousel, for example), as well as stuff to climb, soft bouncy surfaces for exploring, mazes, a trampoline, slides, and yes, a ball pit. Drop in for unlimited play on weekdays for $15; two hours of play on weekends for $20. Check out our full review here! 

5-28 49th Ave
Long Island City
929-208-2886
Online: Minilandplay

To Play Like the Swedes: The Heimbold Family Children’s Play and Learning Center

Tina Buckman, Scandinavia House/The American-Scandinavian Foundation, 2011

Editor’s Note: The Heimbold Family Children’s Play and Learning Center is temporarily closed. 

It’s probably not a shocker that Park Avenue’s Scandinavia House has one of the most aesthetically pleasing play spaces in the city. The Heimbold Family Children’s Play and Learning Center is only open to the public on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (for a modest $15/child fee), but it’s worth the trip. The bright and playful space features two distinct yet complementary areas – an activity room and a sensory room. Highlights include a reading theater, sensory tunnel, custom LEGO corner, landscaped BRIO train table, indoor climbing corner, mushroom house, a “please touch” wall, light landscape, and imported Scandinavian educational elements. If you fall in love (which you might) you can gain access to the space all week long by joining Scandinavia House. One note: kids must be walking one their own to play here.

58 Park Ave.
212-779-3587
Midtown
Online: scandinaviahouse.org

For a Huge Place in Long Island City: Kanga’s Indoor Play Center

Part of a chain, Kanga’s Indoor Play Center, Long Island City’s newest indoor venue for kids is huuuuge!  Designed for kids ages 1 to 11, Kanga’s offers tons of diversions for kids while the parents grab some food and coffee at the on-site cafe. There’s a giant jungle-gym style crawl and play structure, numerous Merry-Go-Rounds, an inflatable bouncy house, huge ball pits filled with plastic balls, a separate toddler area for the younger kids (ages two and under), and more—including the twirling teacup ride shown above. If your kid can’t get enough, they’ll also host your birthday party. Admission is $20 for two hours on weekdays, $27 on weekends. First adult is free, additional adults $10. You can make a reservation, or just walk in. 

Mon. – Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Weekends, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.
32-15 37th Ave.
Long Island City
718-606-2216
Online: longislandcity.kangasplaycenter.com

For Every Kid in the Family: Bounce ‘N Play

Bounce ‘N Play

This Queens kid destination is a favorite for obvious reasons. Bounce ‘N Play’s features include a special toddler area for younger patrons; an oversized playground for children three to 13 years old, and a jungle gym, slides, play sets and a rock climbing wall for older ones. But what really won us over were the specially-tailored open play sessions, like one for kids ages six and under, one for all ages, and one for the whole family on Wednesday evenings (which includes a buffet!). It also frequently hosts Open Bounce when school is out. Admission gets you play all day. Rates are $17 weekdays, $20 weekends and holidays. Check out the open play calendar here. Sign the waiver before you go, and bring socks! (P.S. you can drive. There’s parking for $6 next door.) 

20-21 Steinway St.
Astoria
718-777-7529 
Online: bouncenplayny.com

For Recurring Play Dates: 14th Street Y

Bridget Badore for 14th St. Y

Editor’s note: Drop-in play was suspended during the pandemic, but Family Programming, and any updates on the return of drop-in classes can be viewed here.

Kids ages two months to five years can run, jump, slide and play in the 14Y’s indoor padded playroom. Sessions are typically held on Saturdays and Sundays in 1 1/2 hour slots, and classes are $85 for five for members and $100 for five for non-members. Drop-in rate is $25. Call for the latest scheduling info or visit 14StreetY.org/DropInClasses.

344 E. 14th St.
East Village
212-780-0800
Online: 14streety.org

For the Older Set: Kids ‘N Shape

Have your ninjas-in-training turned the sofa into a booby-trapped bridge one time too many? Set them loose on the indoor playground at Kids ‘N Shape, a play space that specializes in unstructured fitness play—or, to put it another way, all the cool stuff you wish you got to do in P.E. class. (Not coincidentally, the family-owned business—now with locations in Howard Beach and Tottenville—was started in 1989 by a longtime gym teacher and coach.) Don’t be surprised if your high-energy charges are torn between wobbling around the bounce house, racing through a 40-foot inflatable obstacle course, diving into a ball and foam pit, or whizzing down a zip line. (For us, it’s the zip line, hands down.) But it’s best to keep younger ones at home—open play here is designed for ages six to 12. Check the online calendar for detailed open play times and booking. Rate is $15/child for a two-hour session. 

162-26 Cross Bay Blvd.
Queens
718-848-2052

153 Main St.
Staten Island 
718-227-8300
Online: kidsnshape.com

RELATED STORIES:

Culture Club: NYC Museum Shows for Kids
Inside Story: Brooklyn’s Best Indoor Play Spaces
Royally Good: Queens’ Best Indoor Play Spaces

Advertisement

Trending Now


Advertisement
Welcome to our Tinybeans family!
Be sure to check your email for new activities, recipes and parenting hacks – and to see if you’ve won!

 

 

 

 

 

 

FALL FOR TINYBEANS!

Enter to Win a $250 Gift Card!

Enter your email and zip code below for a chance to win a Mastercard Gift Card. We’ll pick one winner per month through December 31, 2022 – 9 lucky winners in all!

I agree to the official rules and to receive email communications from Tinybeans. By providing my email address, I agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.