There’s nothing like an indoor play space to help fend off the cooped-up crazies on a snowy/rainy/too hot to move day. Brooklyn parents’ sippy cup runneth over with indoor playgrounds of all types for all ages. Water tables, towering treehouses, ball pits and slides, you can find all of this and more in the county of Kings. Below, our favorite Brooklyn play spaces — and don’t forget your socks!
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 5 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.
Where: 145 Brooklyn Ave., Crown Heights
Hours: Tues.-Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Thurs. until 6 p.m.; closed Mondays)
Cost: $11 (includes admission to the whole Museum; children under 12 months are free)
Ages: 0-5 years
Good Day Play Cafe
Perhaps the newest kid on the kid play space block in Brooklyn is the second location of Good Day Play Cafe, which opened a spot in Queens two 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. Food and drink rangers from Stumptown Coffee and smoothies to light bites like mac and cheese, sandwiches, chicken nuggets, etc. Rates start at $12/hour Mon. - Thurs., and $13/hour Fri. & Sat. (At opening it was closed on Sundays; that may change in the future.) Read our full review here!
Good Day Play Cafe
591 5th Ave.
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 storytime and crafts here, too. Drop-in for open play for $12 an hour, or go for an all-day pass for $36, which gets you play from 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. and/or from 2:30 - 5:30 p.m. The space also occasionally holds drop-OFF, when you can leave your child and get things done.
503 Dekalb Ave.
Fairy Tale Island
Bay Ridge got its own play cafe this year 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.
Curiosity on Court
This sizable play space in Carroll Gardens is big enough to have something for every kid and still have room for them to run around. The cornerstone of the space is a large, NYC-themed multi-level climbing structure with slides, passageways and tunnels. Nearby you'll find a train table, as well as a separate nook that serves as a little subway station, complete with turnstile, Metrocard vending machine and train announcements (for the actual neighborhood station.) Still other play areas include a magnetic wall where kids can use plastic tubes to guide balls from top to bottom, a play kitchen and a separate space just for crawlers and small ones. Take note: they also host parties in a nice downstairs space and host parent date nights on Fridays and Saturdays. Drop-in plays is $25; call or check the web site on weekends to verify hours, as afternoons are sometimes booked for parties.
278 Court St.
Busy Bodies Clinton Hill
Opened in June of 2016, Busy Bodies Brooklyn in Clinton Hill provides the area's tiniest residents with a wide range of activities, both structured and not. Designed to be a space for kids that adults will also want to hang out (bright, clean design; music you might play in your own home for yourself, etc.) Busy Bodies features an art area and open padded playroom stocked with a jungle gym, blocks, toys, arts and crafts, as well as an outdoor patio for frolicking when the weather permits. Serving primarily the four and under set, Busy Bodies hosts drop-in open play, as well as a guided playgroup for 2s and 3s and Spanish immersion playgroup. Additionally, the space holds ongoing classes and events such as yoga, Spanish-language singalongs, toddler yoga and more. Pay $20 to drop in, or get a weekly unlimited pass for $45, or a monthly for $160.
Busy Bodies Brooklyn
1004 Fulton St.
If you open a play space in one of the city’s trendiest neighborhoods, it had better be spectacular. And PLAY, located at the intersection of Williamsburg and Greenpoint, across the street from McCarren Park, really delivers. In fact, we named it one of the best play spaces in the world. The 3,000-square-foot facility has all the ingredients of a kid-approved good time: a sizable tumbling gym for mastering the somersault, a music and arts studio to get creative juices flowing, loud noisemakers that would never see the light of day in your apartment and a locally-made playset with slides (because Brooklyn). Separate from the happy chaos is a specially cordoned-off area just for babies that’s all rounded edges, cushiony surfaces, floor-to-ceiling windows and age-appropriate toys and books. Open play is seven days a week, except for parties and private events. Our advice? Call ahead before heading over.
33 Nassau Ave.
Hours: Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
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. Under the supervision of a staff member, little ones can jump through hoops and tunnels, bounce balls, or read books. BAX is a peanut-free environment, so parents of kids with food allergies need not worry.
Where: 421 Fifth Ave., Park Slope
Hours: Mon. and Fri. 9:30-11:30 a.m. (Note: play space opens for the season on Oct. 30 with a Halloween themed playtime party)
Cost: $10/single drop-in class or $80/10-pack punch card
Ages: 1-4 years
Far from your ordinary play space, Twinkle offers its visitors 4,500 square feet to run, jump, and embark upon some seriously imaginative play. Nine distinct setups 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. We love the flexibility of Twinkle's hours, and its comfy lounge area for parents to feed their kids lunch, check email (Wi-Fi is free), and chat with other adults, all the while keeping a close eye on their little revelers.
Where: 144 Frost St., Williamsburg
Hours: Mon. through Fri. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat. 8 a.m.-11:45 a.m.; Sun. 9 a.m.-11:45 a.m.
Cost: $35/daily pass or $300/3-month membership (siblings under 1 year old are free)
Ages: 0-6 years
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, and memberships are available as well. A separate room here hosts classes, singalongs and more.
81 Washington St.
Kids N Action
Located in the neighborhood of Borough Park, Kids N Action is both a major rainy day and birthday party destination for area families. The huge space contains a large, four-level softplay 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.
Spark by Brooklyn Children’s Museum
Another newcomer in the Fall of 2016, Spark, located at the very eastern tip of Brooklyn Bridge Park, is a small but rich outpost of the Brooklyn Children's Museum. Created with kids ages six and under in mind, the 1,800 square-foot space is filled with opportunities for inquiry-based, sensory and creative play. Drawers contain lots of natural items for consideration, while an extensive art area hosts different projects that kids can then take home with them. (Note: smocks, and clean-up sinks are on hand to contain any mess.) You'll also find books and cushions for storytime, an Imagination Playground for assembling play structures, drawing chairs, murals for collaborative artwork and a building wall. Spark is open daily from 1 - 5 p.m. except Mondays, when it is closed. Cost is $15 for one hour, and while you can drop in, online registration is recommended to guarantee a space.
Spark by Brooklyn Children’s Museum
Tickets: $15 for open play slot; free for museum members
1 John St.
Juguemos a Cantar
With two Park Slope locations, Juguemos a Cantar was established in 2001 as a destination for teaching and fostering bilingual kids. Both spaces are roomy with indoor and outdoor areas, play kitchens, blocks, trains, doll houses, puppets, soft play areas, ball pits, books, crafts, and more.
Where: 463 6th Ave. (at 10th St.), South Park Slope; 47 Sterling Place (at 6th Ave.), North Park Slope
Hours: South Slope location: Mon. through Fri. 9 a.m.-12 p.m.; (North Slope location is temporarily closed)
Cost: $10/visit (extra $2 for siblings) or $90/10 visit pass
Ages: Infants through age 4
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.
Where: 432 3rd Ave., Gowanus
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-12 p.m. 2-6, Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Cost: $15/2 hours, 11 plays $150;
Ages: 0-6 years
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. 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.
Where: 99 Schermerhorn St, Brooklyn Heights
Phone: (718) 694-1600
Hours: Tues.-Fri. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Cost: Adults $10; Kids 2-17 $5; (entrance is free to members, as well as kids under 2)
Ages: All ages, but probably best for kids 2 and up
Where in Brooklyn do you take your kids for some indoor fun? Let us know!
— Hanna R. Neier