Is your tiny tot ready to bust down those baby gates and venture to a play space beyond your living room floor? We’ve rounded-up 9 kid and mom-approved indoor playgrounds that are developmentally appropriate and designed to give infants and tots their own space to learn, engage and have a ball… or an entire ball pit. Scroll down to discover you and your sidekick’s new favorite hangout.


Crawlers and new walkers can claim the corner lot of this Lakeside play spot. A ball pit, small blue slide and soft crawl-on toys are encased by a perimeter of soft foam blocks. The space is so cool that they'll unlikely feel the need to crawl off and see what else is out there. While FUNbelievable appeals to those 12 & under, the older set are thoroughly entertained by the neighboring play structure that includes taller slides and mazes. Your infant needs $6 for entrance and your older ones will require $12.

11655 Riverside Dr., Suites 155-157
Lakeside, Ca


New Children's Museum

If being downtown isn't cool enough, the unique features of the New Children's Museum's second floor's 'Wobbeland' is what draws in the babes in carriers and strollers. Little hands will find padded play toys that could be put together to make a fine fruit and cheese platter. They may set sail in a juicy slice of watermelon, crawl over some tomato slices or imagine the joy Remy from Ratatouille would feel if he also discovered the second floor's enormous slice of Swiss cheese. After playing in this 4 & under area, take them out front where they may add another coat of paint to the well-loved covered wagon. This locale has so much to offer that it's become a favorite for many local moms for impromptu and planned play dates–– so it's highly likely you'll soon be making new friends here. Admission is free for those under 1, but after a a couple visits you'll probably find yourself applying for membership.

200 West Island Ave.
San Diego, Ca

San Diego Children's Discovery Museum

The pirate ship and slide that's enclosed by a nautical-like gate is a hit with the diaper wearing bunch. They may prepare food in the ship's rear galley before venturing to the lot's backyard where bubble tables and a stage with foam blocks await. When they've grown hungry for snacks prepared by you, there are some picnic tables by the garden where they can fuel up before romping around the shaded archeological digging site. The indoor/outdoor aspect of this North County play center gives everyone ample play space even during its peak hours. The museum is known to run many specials so keep an eye out for periods of free or discounted admission. But on a regular basis those not yet a year are free, general admission is $8/person and military and veterans are $5/person.

320 N Broadway
Escondido, Ca 92025


Come and meet Gymbo the red-headed clown at one of San Diego's three Gymboree Play & Music locations. Classes here are arranged by age, so your tot will experience age appropriate activities with their peers. A class begins and ends with circle time and the middle is filled with themed activities that are played out with the playground-like structures that were constructed specifically for infants and young toddlers. Young babies will get the thrill of possibly going down their first slide; early explorers will crawl through tunnels and the nooks beneath the equipment; and they'll be gently schooled on just how to interact with others their age. Family gym is also available to those of us with multiple children and they host many events throughout the year like daddy play gym, new mommy meet-up and themed workshops.

4340 Genesee Ave., Suite 103
San Diego, Ca

12265 Scripps Poway Pkwy.
Poway, Ca

971C Lomas Santa Fe Dr.
Solana Beach, Ca

photo: Discover the Glow

The Glow Women's Center

This Pacific Beach storefront houses The Glow Women's Center––a gathering space for women in all stages of motherhood–– and it's certainly a bonus that they provide free child care while you break a sweat in any one of their many exercise classes. The littles love climbing up the steps to the elevated ball pit and then whizzing down the slide. Bins upon bins of toys are ripe for the picking and a variety of larger, interactive play toys are strewn about the play spot's floor for many sessions of make believe. Membership levels vary and the play area is usually always available for drop-in's, but be sure to check the website for the latest updates.

2710 Garnet Ave.
San Diego, Ca

Kid City at Fleet Science Center

Consider exploring Kid City on a Residents' Free Day, the first Tues. of each month, when admission is on the house. The second floor 5 & under play area is smaller than others on this list, but it's enough to keep the younger set well entertained. A grocery store with a moving conveyer belt sits prominently in the middle and little shopping carts may be seen whizzing down the room's main street. Now, this locale is more than just a morning or afternoon of entertainment, a majority of its components playfully challenge its visitors. Babies will gawk with wonder as their plastic ball gets sucked up by a tube and they'll eagerly watch as toddler learners watch their ball filter through wheels and various contraptions that carry them up, down and around the wall. Admission starts at $14.95 and the cheapest $69 membership gives a year access for two adults and up to 6 children under age 18.

Insider Tip: Try to arrive when the museum opens. With the adjacent Pepper Grove Park, Stroller Strides mamas that often use the grounds and the other Balboa Park attractions, parking can fill up very quickly.

1875 El Prado
San Diego, Ca

photo: Darren Soloman

Kid Ventures

If you're a fan of Liberty Station, it's likely your tot will want to romp around in the jumperoo and padded baby play area that are located near the corner castle of this Kid Ventures location. Little Jack or Jill may crawl through the arch of the baby lot, pause to watch a pal come down the castle's slide and then shimmy on over to check out one of the giant stuffed animals. There are plenty of pushable objects for beginner walkers, like tyke-sized shopping carts and activity walkers. And the toddlers will enjoy cooking up a pretend meal in the grocery area and they might even whip up a play java while the real thing is being prepared for you by the cafe's barista. Amenities at each location may vary, but they all offer a kidtastic experience.

10760 Thornmint Rd.
San Diego, Ca

851 Showroom Place
Chula Vista, Ca

2865 Sims Rd.
San Diego, Ca


This Carlsbad play spot might remind you of G3 Kids in Pacific Beach or We Rock the Spectrum in Carmel Mountain Ranch. Mats, balance beams and trampolines tell us they believe in bringing out the athlete in every visitor. The soft play shapes tell us they like to encourage our littles to build and use their imaginations with many mediums. You'll love the space for those not yet walking for its pint- sized slide and many baby toys you might not have at home. Prices start at $5 and peak at $13 for single admission. You'll get a cheaper rate of $8 if you choose to go anytime between 2:30 p.m. and closing time.

2375 Marron Rd.
Carlsbad, Ca

We Rock the Spectrum

The smallest of gymnasts will take a real shine to this Carmel Mountain Ranch locale. It's still a toss up as to whether or not the indoor zip line or trampoline is most favored by visiting toddlers, but it's a good thing that such a center exists to produce such a question. Other modules of entertainment are present like the various contraptions that suspend from the ceiling. An infant swing, tire swing, table swing and uneven climbing ladder are just a few that encourage them to test their balance and dexterity. When tots need a break from training for a future Olympics, they might take pleasure in the crawl through tunnel or train tables. Open play rates begin at $10 and membership cards range between $50 and $175.

10175 Rancho Carmel Dr., A128
San Diego, Ca

Where do you take your babies and tiny tots to play indoors? Let us know in the comments.

–– Jeannette Swanson



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