Move over, Brooklyn! Queens is coming up behind you in the race for most family-friendly borough. Exhibit A: a new indoor play space everywhere you turn! From Long Island City to Sunnyside to Astoria, this borough has added even more fresh places to play inside to the mix recently, and the old standbys continue to offer tons of indoor fun. Low-key and cozy, massive and super-stimulating, for tiny tots or big ones, Queens has got it all. Read on to find your next inclement weather refuge! Looking for Brooklyn play spaces? Click here!
For a Favorite in Ridgewood: 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.
For Royal Playtime in Long Island City: Peekaboo Playground
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
For a Dreamy Space in Queens: 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.
For an Asia-Inspired Play space in Queens
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
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
For Every Kid in the Family: 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.
For Glow in the Dark Bounce and More: BounceU
BounceU of College Point offers lots of ways to bounce it out. The space includes a 16-foot Spider Mountain Slide, a Rock Climbing Slide and more. Check out the "Saturday Sunrise" Bounce on Saturday mornings ($13.99/child), the Pre-school Bounce for little ones on Friday mornings ($13.99/child) or get crazy at the Cosmic Open Bounce, which features lowered lights and glow-in-the-dark accessories ($18.99/child). If you feel the need to get some bouncing in yourself, check out the Family Bounce on Wednesdays from 6-8 p.m. ($13.99/person), and even have a pizza dinner there for an additional charge. Reservations are recommended to guarantee entry for any bounce session; click here to view the latest schedule.
132-25 14th Ave.
For a Little Bit of Everything: Sabrina's Play Studio
Another smaller, independent operation, Sabrina's Play Studio of Woodside hosts open play pretty much all day every day. This 1,900-square-foot play space has a lot going for it, including no lomit on how long you can stay. Admission is $14 for walkers/$8 for crawlers on weekdays, and $9 for walkers/$8 for crawlers on weekends.
Diversions include a climbing gym with chutes and slides, a padded baby zone, a very mini roller coaster, a play kitchen, costumes, puzzles, and much more. Hours are Mon. & Wed. noon - 7 p.m.; Tues. & Thurs., 9:30 a.m. - 7 p.m.; Fridays noon - 5 p.m., and Sat. & Sun., 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. Read our full write-up here!
52-07 Queens Blvd. (at 52nd St.)
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.
153 Main St.
For Sensory Overload: Funtopia USA
With a name like "Funtopia USA", you know there's a lot going on here. Just $7 on weekdays and $9 on weekends will grant you entry to this 28,000-square-foot play emporium and access to a three-level playground for big kids, and a toddler area with padded floor for little ones. (Plus: free re-entry within 30 days of your visit!) Chances are, however, you won't get out of there without spending a little more, thanks to many other attractions that can be enjoyed for an additional fee. Among them: bumper cars, an arcade, a make-your-own stuffed animal area, "Lazer Runner", a ball shooting game called "Balladium" and even a new game dubbed "Time Freak Playground" (it involved pushing a lot of buttons as fast as one can). Hungry? Don't worry: there's a concession stand on site, too.
66-26 Metropolitan Ave.
For a Triple Slide and a Bargain Membership: Kids Fun House
This Ridgewood spot features a triple slide, a three-story playground with mazes and tunnels, and arcade and gated toddler area. Bonus: there's a cafe to get snacks and drinks. For $60/month you get unlimited play for one child, free admission to special events, and a free pass for a guest. Got two kids? Get a second membership for $30.
6273 Fresh Pond Rd.