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!
For FREE Open Play on Fridays: Upper 90 Soccer
This super soccer center in Astoria (it has both indoor and outdoor fields) is a magnet for fans of the game both big and small. However, Upper 90 hosts Toddler Open Play every weekday from 9:30 a.m. to noon, and on Fridays, it's free! (It's $7-$10 other days.) They provide the cones, balls, and goals, the kids provide the non-stop energy. There's a cafe on site for snack and drinks as well.
34-23 38th St.
For a Huge New Place in Long Island City
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, and more. If your kid can't get enough, they'll also host your birthday party. Admission gets you play all day, and pricing varies by age and day (weekdays are $16.99 for kids 38 inches and taller; weekends are $19.99; for those under 38 inches it's $12.99 for weekdays and $15.99 for weekends. Parents pay $4.99 and get a complimentary beverage. Babies are free!.) Sign the waiver before you go, and bring socks!
Mon, - Sun., 9 a,.m.-6 p.m.
32-15 37th Ave.
Long Island City
For Really Big Inflatables: Bounce N Play
There's a whole lotta bouncin' going on at Astoria's Bounce N Play. Attractions include bounce houses, two giant inflatable slides, a rock climbing wall, a climbing structure, and arcade and even a play area just for toddlers. Bounce N Play holds open plays throughout the week for $12 per child (see the full calendar here), and even sets aside slots just for kids six and under. Birthday parties often take up weekend afternoons, but if nothing's booked, the facility is open; special family open play nights include a buffet and unlimited beverages for two hours, and cost $16.95 per adult and kids four and over, and $12 for kids three and under.
20-21 Steinway St.
For Play and Learning: Oxbridge Academic Center
This brand new education-oriented facility and events space offers kid’s lessons in Spanish, English, and Chinese, as well as creative art classes for kids. Since they just opened, they’re still testing the waters and experimenting with a variety of different classes—some for adults as well—but they do offer open play sessions for young children weekday mornings from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Open Play is in the morning, classes are afternoons and evenings in on-site classrooms.)
Currently, Open Play, held in the back area of the space, is $5.00. You can bring your own food and there’s coffee, tea, and water for adults.
The Open Play area has a bounce house, soft mats, riding toys, and more; it's best for toddlers and pre-schoolers. Check the Oxbridge Academic Center Facebook page for special events and info about renting out the space for parties. Note: Best to call in advance to inquire if Open Play is offered that morning.
77-34 Austin St., Suite 1
Online: Facebook page
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 Play Pit Like No Other: Good Day Play Cafe
A warm and inviting play space and café—with a full menu for both kids and adults—Good Day Play Café was loosely inspired by play spaces in Korea. There’s a cozy book nook next to the café, and the play area has mostly green and organic toys, a train table, climbing wall, slide, ball pit, kitchen nook, and much more. A major attraction at Good Day Play Café is the facility’s Hinoki cypress wood cube pit, which is popular in Japan and South Korea. The cubes inside the pit are super soft, made from a special wood that’s extremely gentle to the touch. The cubes were shipped from South Korea, so they’re authentic. Toddlers also like the mat-covered play area with baby toys. Currently, it’s $9 for one hour per child Mon-Thurs; $10 on Fridays and Saturdays; $14 for two hours Mon-Thurs and $15 Fridays and Saturdays; and three hours or more is $19 an hour during the week; $20 on Fridays and Saturdays. Check Facebook page for schedules. Best for toddlers to kids age six. Birthday parties available!
208-03 35th Ave.
To Cool Out in Corona: Preschool Place at NYSCI
While the cost of admission at the New York Hall of Science might be a little steep just to take advantage of the play space (you'll pay $15; kids ages two to 17 are $12) the complex's Preschool Place is pretty great – and on a rainy day, it might just be a lifesaver. The safe and protected area is for kids six years old and younger exclusively, and features enough multi-sensory activities to fill an afternoon, such as manually-powered conveyor belts, winding stairs that lead to a lookout, blocks, instruments, puppets, and more — including a blast of air that "magically" levitates beach balls. Tip: become a member and get free admission all the time.
47-01 111th St.
photo: NY Hall of Science Facebook page
For Little Ones in Long Island City: City Owlets
The new kid in town when it comes to Queens play spaces, City Owlets was launched by a local mom in January 2017. It’s both an indoor and outdoor play space, as well as a cute cafe. At City Owlets, there’s so much to do and so much to see, all organized in neat sections. Kids can enjoy the pretend pizza shop, grocery store, ice cream truck, and much more. There’s also a dollhouse, dress-up corner chock-full of costumes, bins of toys, construction tables, a train set, you name it. Story time and classes are offered on-location as well; just check the Facebook page and Web site for details. You can drop-in during the week for Open Play ($25), but it’s probably best to register for Open Play online in advance. All children must be accompanied by an adults; socks only inside play area! Space can also be rented out for birthday parties. Note: No strollers inside; they can be stored in the outdoor space behind the venue.
1042 Jackson Avenue
Long Island City
For an Artsy Vibe: Sunnyside Plays
A wide open play area that’s quite colorful, Sunnyside Plays feels like a cool artist loft…but for kids. The personalized artwork on the walls drives the vibe home. The indoor play gym has slides, monkey bars, a fire pole, and spaces to crawl through, but you'll also find tunnels and soft gym equipment. There’s a little kitchen area, train table, a coloring and reading table, and various toys found in abundance, so no child will be bored here. The on-site cute cafe sells juice, water and healthy snacks. Best for babies to kids approximately age 7, Sunnyside Plays does have Open Play during the week and some weekends, but the times vary due to special events and birthday parties. Drop-in Open Play for 1 Child is $15; siblings and babies under one year (crawlers) are half-price each. You can register online for Open Play. Check the Facebook page for Open Play times and updates. Special events include story time, Pineapple Explorers Club singalongs and even parent/child knitting circles. (Sunnyside plays also hosts events for adults in the evening, which range from infant CPR, wine and cheese tastings, tango lessons, and more.)
43-09 48th 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 Daily Open Play and Classes: iPlayTek
Located in Glendale at The Shops at Atlas Mall, iPlayTek is both a large and spacious play space for kids (approximately age 5 and under), as well as a learning facility. The front area is stocked with riding toys, large blocks, mini slides, a bounce house, climbing equipment and more, while the back area features a large classroom. For newborns to kids 5 years old, a monthly membership is $99, which includes one class per week and unlimited open play during open play hours. (If you have a second child or add a second class, it’s $60 extra.) They also offer Open Play for non-members; the fee is $20 per child and siblings are $10 each. (Bonus: you can stay the whole day!) Open play is Tuesday to Friday, generally from 10 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., but call ahead to double check, or peek at the Facebook page for updates.
Onsite classes available for kids and teens include iOS Game Design, Minecraft, 3D Printing, LEGO Robotics, Kerbal Space Program, and much more.
The Shops at Atlas Park
80-16 Cooper Ave., Ste 3-111
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.
For Sensory Play and a (Small) Bounce House: Raising Astoria
For a more intimate space that will still engage and tire out little ones, check out Raising Astoria. This resource for all-things-parenting in Queens holds open play for kids seven and under throughout the week for $10 per family. A front room with a padded floor features foam blocks, balls, and even a bouncy house on select days for more active play. In the rear, a custom-made sensory wall, magnetic chalkboard wall, wood playhouse, and an area for books and drawing provides sensory and cognitive stimulation. Raising Astoria also holds dedicated open play for infants two and under.
26-11 23rd Ave.
For a Huge Space, Lots of Toys, and Even a Zipline: Kids N Shape
This 6,000-square-foot facility offers a multitude of ways to tucker out the kids including a bounce house, an obstacle course, ball pit, basketball court, oversized balls and blocks, scooters — and even a zipline! Two-hour open play sessions are held in the mornings and afternoon, and cost $10 per child. For parents, there's free wifi! See the full open play calendar here.
162-26 Cross Bay Blvd.