It’s raining, it’s pouring! You wish you were snoring, but your kids are bouncing off the walls and there are only so many laps they can run around the coffee table. Fortunately, the Bay Area is full of places where your little rays of sunshine can run, jump, climb and slide. Here are our top picks for indoor play spaces that make kids happy when skies are gray.
It’s all rainbows and smiles at the Peek-a-boo Factory. Their four story, rainbow-colored climbing structure features ladders, steps, slides, chutes and tunnels for kids ages 3-10. A play nook offers more mellow entertainment, such as books, LEGO bricks, a train table and a kiddie kitchen. An enclosed toddler/baby area boasts mini slides, plenty of musical toys to bang on and even a fun house mirror. Parents can catch up on work or relax at a seating area with free WiFi and a big screen TV. Best of all, Peek-a-boo Factory offers walk-in play at all times, so parents will never have to disappoint their excited kids.
2 West Portal Ave.
San Francisco, CA
House of Air
This place totally blows your backyard trampoline out of the water. It’s a huge warehouse filled with trampolines, airbags, dodgeball courts and a bounce house. Let your little jumpers (ages 3-6) bounce away in the Air Junior Bounce House, or go for a jaunt on the bigger trampolines during their Junior Geronimo Open Jump sessions (the new and improved version of their Mini Jumper Program.) If your bouncers get hungry, stop at the House of Snacks and pick up a little something to munch on (they have healthy snacks!).
926 Old Mason St.
San Francisco, CA
photo: Recess Urban Recreation Facebook Page
This is one place where the phrase “Rainy Day Recess” brings out smiles instead of sighs. With a total of 3,200 square feet, Recess offers plenty of space for little ones to shake the ants out of their pants. Walkers and runners can climb, run, slide and swing. Climbers have a separate gated area to play and thrive. Kids can take classes in cooking, singing and “messy art,” while parents can sign up for workshops on parenting, preschool and more.
Note: Drop-in play passes are available, but Recess is only open to members on rainy days. Memberships start at $39 per month.
470 Carolina St. (Between 18th and Mariposa)
San Francisco, CA
Peekadoodle Kids Club
Located in Ghirardelli Square, Peekadoodle lets kids explore the city without ever having to get wet. Their play space features a Victorian house, cable car, a mural of the San Francisco Bay and a giant Golden Gate Bridge. They also have an enclosed outdoor play space for when the sun shines. In addition to drop-in play, Peekadoodle offers free music and art activities, enrichment classes and preschool programs starting at 20 months.
900 North Point St . Suite F100
San Francisco, Ca
Kids Gym Berkeley
Formerly known as “We Rock the Spectrum,” this unique kids gym is more than just a place for littles to let off steam. It was founded by a mother after she discovered what a positive effect physical and sensory play had on her kids—one of whom is on the autism spectrum. The 10,000-square-foot facility has inclusive features such as a sensory-safe gym, a calming room, therapy equipment and gates at every exit. Trampolines, ziplines, climbing structures and even an arts-and-crafts area are designed to be enjoyed by children of all abilities. Helpful staff members are trained to deal with kids on the autism spectrum as well as neurotypical kids.
2920 7th St.,
Rain or Shine
East Bay favorite Studio Grow has a new name: Rain or Shine! Co-founder Tim Alley sold his Danville location and renamed his Berkeley location, but Rain or Shine has everything families know and love about the original. Large, well-lit spaces, creative play experiences, plus music and parachute times make this a popular destination whatever the weather. Drop-in play passes include in/out privileges, so families can rush out and grab a snack at the nearby Whole Foods to refuel for more hours of fun.
1235 Tenth St.,
The Rec Room
This play space packs in a lot of fun for the entire family. For tots and toddlers, the baby area and main play area offer a myriad of developmental play options. Does big brother or sister have the day off from school? They can challenge you to a game of chess or scrabble at the cafe area, or play with LEGO bricks and other board games in the back lounge. Parents can bond with their babies at Parent+Baby yoga class, then bond with other parents at the New Parents Meetup right after. You can even grab a few moments for yourself on Tuesday and Thursday mornings during Parent Time Out, a guided play program for littles up to age 5. Play coordinators will lead your kiddos in a variety of activities while you enjoy a well-deserved time out. Use those precious two hours to relax at the cafe, or sign up for a massage on select Thursdays—you deserve it!
Pro tip: Finding parking around the neighborhood streets can be tough, but the Ashby BART station is just a 4-minute walk away.
3222 Adeline Street
Hop N Play
Located inside the Tanforan Mall, this tiny amusement center for the four-feet-and-under set is the ideal rainy day destination for kiddos who can’t stay still. What other play space in the Bay Area has play equipment that actually moves? Little ones four feet and under can run through a rotating tunnel, balance on a rocking platform and ride on a moving carousel. Everything is soft and bouncy, even the floor, so everyone stays safe and happy. Tots and crawling toddlers are free, so it’s an ideal place for baby to take his or her first steps! Take advantage of Friday night Date Nights, when parents can drop kids off for three and a half hours of supervised play.
Tanforan Mall, 1150 El Camino Real
San Bruno, CA
La Petite Playhouse
This 10,000 sq. ft. facility was dreamt up by the folks behind the Bay’s favorite swim school: Le Petit Baleen. Naturally, this kiddie wonderland has an under-the-sea theme with features such as the Whale Lookout Sphere, Shark Tank Pendulum Walk, Sea Weed Zig Zag Run and so much more. Older kids will love exploring the huge play structure and climbing wall, while little ones can stay in a separate under-threes area where parents can keep a close watch. Birthday parties are big business here (the playhouse is closed to the public on weekends, when the parties take over) and private rooms and simple, all-inclusive packages make planning a snap.
1264 Oddstad Dr.
Redwood City, CA
photo: Rockin’ Jump San Carlos Facebook page
The sky’s the limit at Rockin’ Jump! The main attraction is a warehouse-sized trampoline room, but kids go bonkers over the slam dunk corner, somersault foam pit and trampoline dodge ball. Both Bay Area locations offer Rockin’ Tots jump times for children up to age 6, so your toddlers aren’t bumping up against the big boys. Parents will enjoy the plentiful seating and WiFi while the kids bounce away the rainy day blues.
401 Quarry Rd.
San Carlos, CA
1901 Monterey Rd.
San Jose, CA
This sweet little spot is great for Palo Alto parents looking for a rainy day place to play. Best suited for younger preschoolers and toddlers, Wund3rkid offers a variety of creative play options: Tegu blocks, a play kitchen, an ice cream cart, an impressive array of puzzles and more. Gray wall paint, high ceilings and wooden, eco-friendly toys give the place a clean, modern look. Drop-in passes are available, but members get perks like free organic snacks, free coffee for parents and discounts on party packages.
559 College Ave.
Palo Alto, CA
photo: Tina Case Photography for Whimsy
What’s better than finding a place for your children to play? Finding a place for them to play while you relax! What sets Whimsy apart from other play places is trained staff members who supervise children in the play area at no extra charge. While your little ones are playing dress up, performing on the stage, climbing to the top of the wooden gym or getting messy with arts and crafts, you can sit back with a coffee or tea, do some work or catch up with a friend. Parents are required to stay on site, but they can take one eye off their kids and rest easy knowing that their little ones are safe and happy.
14510 Big Basin Way, Ste. 3
Need a few hours of child-free time? At KidsPark, your child gets the fun of a drop-in play place while you get the convenience of a drop-off. They have two locations, both adjacent to major malls (Valley Fair Mall and Oakridge Mall), making them an ideal solution for errands, appointments, or evenings out. Staff trained in CPR and Early Childhood Recreation lead play-based activities and interact with kids one-on-one. Kids who prefer to enjoy unstructured play can choose from book corners, art centers and a variety of play centers. The open floor plan allows parents to keep an eye on their kids should they choose to stay.
2858 Stevens Creek Blvd (by Valley Fair Mall)
San Jose, CA
5440 Thornwood Drive (by Oakridge Mall)
San Jose, CA
The Duck Pond
For just $10, your kiddo can explore a variety of different play areas, imagination stations, a jump house, a pretend theater, a large and clean play area filled with toys, and lots of Playdough crafts. Need some kid-free time? Drop-off play rates for ages two and up costs just $25 for five hours, including lunch. The Duck Pond is open daily from 9:30am to 2:30pm, so it’s a great way to kill a few hours before heading out on your next rainy day adventure.
GateWay Community Center/GateWay City Church
5884 Eden Park Place
San Jose, CA
With two locations to choose from, Safari Run is a great spot for little monkeys who want to run around in a safe, contained and clean environment. Older kids love the animal-themed climbing area and running track, while toddlers get their own separate play area. Your admission gets you open play time and it does get crowded, especially on school holidays (your best bet is to get there when it opens). Weekends are often reserved for birthday parties so check the online schedule before heading over. In the summer, the San Mateo location has drop-off summer camps for kids.
1180 Kern Ave.
341 North Amphlett Blvd.
San Mateo, CA
With so many things to see and do, it’s no wonder Billy Beez has all the kids buzzing. Older kids will love exploring the hive-like network of tunnels and rope bridges. Make sure to save some time to go down the wavy rainbow slides and blast some balls into the air! Tot and toddlers have a separate structure to play on, away from the bigger bees. They can also hop on wiggle cars and make their way around a charming pretend play town, complete with tot-sized grocery store, gas station and pizzeria. Your entrance fee gives you in-and-out privileges so make the most of your time there by taking a break at the mall’s food court or movie theater before heading back for a second visit at Billy Beez. Check out all the nitty gritty details in our post here.
Westfield Oakridge (entrance near Sears)
925 Blossom Hill Rd.
San Jose, CA
photo: Silver Creek Sportsplex Facebook Page
Silver Creek Sportsplex
For two hours of non-stop bouncing fun, head to Silver Creek Sportsplex and their enormous inflatables! Open play runs pretty much all day (call first to check the hours) so pick your two hours, pay your $8 per kid ($15/child after 4 p.m. and on weekends) and get bouncing! Take the sweaty kids over to High Five Pizza (also located within the sportsplex) to grab some pizza and burgers while watching hockey practice through the windows.
800 Embedded Way
San Jose, CA
photo: Efraimstocher via pixabay
This Mill Valley spot is the perfect option for a rainy day. Bonus—it is drop-off so you can get the afternoon to yourself! The Planet offers drop-in classes throughout the year—during they school year they are offered after school hours on weekdays as well as Saturdays from noon-5 p.m. During school breaks they are open weekdays from 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. There’s no reservations needed, just drop off the kids for as much time as you need. They will enjoy the flexibility to participate in hands-on activities like woodworking, LEGO building and sewing, or they can simply do nothing! $14/hour, ages 6 and up.
220 Redwood Highway
Mill Valley, CA
Play-Well Engineering Center
Play-Well is a LEGO builder’s paradise. For just $10, your child gets access to an incredible array of bricks and hours of open ended play. The collection of bricks is amazing; boxes are stacked form floor to ceiling in every imaginable color and shape, including new collections like EV3 Mindstorms and Star Wars. In addition to drop-in play, Play-Well offers classes and camps for ages 5-12.
216 Greenfield Ave.
San Anselmo, CA
Much like the House of Air (only smaller), Play Land has four unique jumpies, the largest being a 40-by-20 foot inflatable sports arena, perfect for dodgeball, soccer, basketball, and volleyball, and jousting contests! Two slide jumpies and jumpies with a basketball hoop, climbing wall and play zone for the younger ones. Once they’re tuckered out, kids can head to the art room for crafts, play with toys in the tumble area, or play for points at the air hockey tables (they have two!) Best of all, every activity is designed to keep kids 0-6 warm and dry.
610 Coloma Street (in the MLK Gym)
Where do your kids like to go for some indoor fun? Let us know in the comments below!
—Ana Picazo, Kate Loweth, Erin Feher and Sarah Bossenbroek