Truth: rainy days in San Diego are a rarity (what is that wet stuff falling from the sky?). But for those times you need indoor play, San Diego has a wealth of options. From play spaces with built-in cafes to spots that offer play times specifically catered to tots, read on for seven of our favorite play spaces you need to visit this fall.

 

Funbelievable-slide

Photo credit: FUNbelievable Facebook 

FUNbelievable
Tucked away in an industrial-like complex is a center that will especially please parents with children spaced multiple years apart. The main play structure that caters to those 4 & older features a four wide slide that requires no potato sack to slide down in record time. On the way up to the slide are multiple padded contraptions and obstacles that might make your climber feel like an American Ninja Warrior. Babies and younger toddlers have a section of their own that features ball pits, a mini slide and various soft toys that make being part of the younger set oh so sweet. From home snacks are welcome, but the “Snack Shack” offers a tempting menu including fresh popped popcorn and a variety of espresso coffees for you.

11655 Riverside Dr., Suite 155-157
Lakeside, Ca
619-456-2474
Online: funbelievableplay.com

We Rock the Spectrum
With a zip line and a generously sized trampoline, the main room of this gym for kids could keep them entertained for hours if you have enough minutes to spare. It’s fun watching the Olympiads-in-training be initially intimidated by the swinging rain drop shaped bean bag, but overcame their hesitation and go swinging again and again once they relish feeling like Tarzan or Jane. Various contraptions hang from the ceiling and there’s even a little tikes swing for the littlest gym goer to enjoy. In addition to the belt seated swing, the center’s various sized bouncy balls make for a fun, gentle romp for the babies. There’s even an arts and crafts room with a supply of coloring utensils and a standing easel that gives your tot the opportunity to pay teacher. The intimate size of the space promotes more parent participation and so there’s less worry here of unattended kiddos.

Insider Tip: A Jamba Juice just minutes away in the Carmel Mountain Plaza makes for a refreshing after play treat.

10175 Rancho Carmel Dr. A128
San Diego, Ca
858-798-5353
Online: werockthespectrumsandiegocmr.com

Rockin’ Jump
This indoor trampoline park is suitable for tots, tweens and teens, but they do something really special for the 6 & under set three times a week. For two hours and an affordable price, first graders & younger rule the air space Tues., Wed. and Sat. mornings. Although they call this segment Rockin’ Tots, you might find it hard to stand idly by when cool tunes are sifting through the speakers and little ponytails and superhero shirts are rocking in a continuous hop. The older tots and parents seem to especially love the two basketball hoops that are anchored on a trampoline platform and the foam block pits where children gleefully squeal as they’re tossed into and absorbed by the soft square blocks.

8190 Miralani Dr.
San Diego, Ca
858-693-5867
Online: sandiego.rockinjump.com

kidventures-guest-appearance

Photo credit: Kid Ventures Facebook page

Kid Ventures
With three locations to entertain little ones seeking adventure, your minis can be a firefighter, policeman, princess and pirate all in one day. Pirate hopefuls can hoist the Jolly Roger and use the entire poop deck as their personal crow’s nest. After they’ve shed their pirate garb they can shimmy into a fireman’s suit and ring the alarm. Once they’ve grown slightly weary of fulfilling so many rules in one day they can settle into the cafe area for a bite to eat. While no outside food or drinks are allowed here, the cafe makes this rule not so bothersome. A steamy espresso is waiting to be pulled for you and a juice and toasted bagel with cream cheese will fuel them for round two. Little feet often run rampant here and the noise level can be high, but it’s usually not an issue because parents are often inspired to play pretend alongside their little sprouts.

10760 Thornmint Rd.
San Diego, Ca
858-207-6088

851 Showroom Place
Chula Vista, Ca
619-651-8622

2865 Sims Rd.
San Diego, Ca
619-573-9625
Online: indoorplaysandiego.com

new-children's-museum

Photo credit: New Children’s Museum Facebook page

New Children’s Museum
The trolley can be heard rumbling from the balcony of The Wonder Sound exhibit as your voyager conquers the wide roper ladder, climbs up to the observation tower and makes their way through a dark, secret tunnel where dozens upon dozens of spoons dangle from the roof and await their turn to play music for its inhabitants. Across the hall is a Tot Studio for those 4 & under. The museum’s youngest visitors can steer the row boat away from the gushing water that flows in streams of fabric from the gigantic water faucet. Next, they can play on slices of fruit that resemble the cast of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. There’s also soft stackable tires, a room for bookworms and plenty of activities on the ground level patio.

Insider Tip: Arrive early to improve your odds of nabbing a spot in the back parking garage. $10 or $5 for members.

200 West Island Ave.
San Diego, Ca
619-233-8792
Online: thinkplaycreate.org

G3 Kids
This option may be pricier than the other indoor spaces, but its location is especially convenient for families in and around Pacific Beach and Clairemont. What takes this space to the next level are the balance beams, pit with foam blocks and trampoline runway that highlight a gymnastic-like environment. There are specific hours for the center’s Open Gym, so be sure to check out the website when planning your visit. Aside from Open Gym time, G3 Kids offers tumbling-like classes, dance classes and gym exploration classes that are organized by age. There’s even an indoor rock climbing wall that’s just high enough to make it an adventure and not something to be feared.

929 Garnet Ave.
San Diego, Ca
858-333-9009
Online: g3kids.com/g3kids

play-town-el-cajon

Photo credit: Lil C. via Yelp

Play Town
This East County spot is best suited for preschool-aged tots and younger. After one visit it’s almost for sure your moppet will be asking to come again because of the presence of toys and play structures that are usually too large or too pricey to have at home. There’s an interactive tree house, play house, inflatable, train table and various riding devices that will make every dollar of your paid admission well worth it. A range of classes are also offered throughout the week, some are free and some are at a nominal fee. The room’s tables and chairs make it easy for your young one to take a lunch or snack break so they can have more time for play instead of rushing home.

858 Jackman St.
El Cajon, Ca
619-447-7529
Online: goplaytown.com

What indoor play centers do you enjoy visiting? Let us know in the comments!

— Jeannette Swanson