15 Indoor Play Spaces for All-Weather Fun

Editor’s Note: We do our very best to make sure content is updated and current. As a result of constant changing restrictions and last minute closures at DC, VA & MD, we propose calling a destination before you pack up the children and haul them across town. Stay safe! 

Staying indoors doesn’t need to mean staying inactive. Some of DC’s best indoor playgrounds are now open and operating with additional precautions, so don’t forget your masks and hand sanitizer. Looking to shake off a bad case of cabin fever? Continue reading for the best indoor play spaces and playgrounds at Washington, DC.


Photo: Adventure Park USA

Adventure Park USA

Saddle up, pardner, for this Western-themed park near Frederick, Maryland–about 40 miles out DC. Open year-round, rain or shine, you don’t even need to pay entrance to enter the park . Instead, you buy a Fun Pass with credits that functions as a debit card (you can also add credits into your accounts online for return visits). Too chilly to go to the roller coasters, even tilt-a-whirl or go-karts? Head indoors where you’ll  find a virtual reality game, gentle playroom, ropes course, laser tag, arcade, bumper cars, and a rock wall. 

COVID-19 Update: Outdoor AND indoor attractions are now open. Face masks are necessary. 

Price: Pay-per-play11113 West Baldwin Rd.Monrovia, MD301-865-6800Online: adventureparkusa.com


Photo: The Wiggle Room through Yelp

The Wiggle Room

When your littles simply should get the wiggles out head to the play place with a not-so-subtle moniker: The Wiggle RoomWe love that Bowie, MD outpost for their free classes and their all-day open play (read: no moment limits here!) . Have a music course, take part in a fun lesson or learn how to create slime for no additional price.

COVID-19 Update: The Wiggle Room is NOW open for personal play. Make sure you book your time slot before coming. The Wiggle Room includes a state of the art menopausal ionization system on the HVAC system  turned out to neutralize COVID-19 in the atmosphere by 99.4% over half an hour.

Price: $13/child, $7/additional siblings2225 Defense Hwy.Crofton, MD443-584-5905Online: thewiggleroom.com


Picture: Badlands through Yelp

Badlands

Calling all nature-lovers!  Badlands, a 30,000 square foot facility called after a national park in South Dakota, attracts the outside in.Think: mountains, grass, and birch trees–inside, which makes sweltering temps, rain days, and rainy weather that a stroll throughout the, well, park. From an indoor mountain to a workshop specializing in real life understanding, there’s something for every single outdoors-y (or indoors-y) child.

COVID-19 Update: Badlands is open for registration inside their brand new Enrichment program, aimed toward youngsters at first-eighth grade. 

Price: $5 20/kids 3 & up, $12.50/below 3, $5/adults5200 Randolph Rd.Rockville, MD301-618-0009Online: badlandsplayspace.com


Photo: Heather B. through Scramble

Scramble

Scramble’s focus is on play: physical play (on specially made gear ) and cognitive play. In real time play, children (maybe not grown-ups) choose what to do and how to take action, they negotiate the rules and agree how the play will move. It can take a few visits for families to become knowledgeable about the idea of simply playing freely, but when the imagination begins flowing, it’s difficult to make it cease.

COVID-19 Update: Scramble is open; bookings are required. Adults must put on a mask. 

Price: $5-$205412 Eisenhower Ave.Alexandria, VA 571-858-5064Online: goscramble.com

Picture: Ayren Jackson-Cannady

The St. James

The St. James, Springfield, Virginia’s off-the-charts destination for sports, wellness, and more, simply opened a brand new 20,000 square foot active entertainment center for children, known as Super, Awesome, and Amazing. The space is just as awesome as the rest of the St. James.  Super, Awesome, and Amazing is essentially a kids version of American Ninja Warrior, full with Nerf Battle Zone, Trampoline Court, Ninja Warrior Obstacle Course, Ropes Course, Clip ‘& bull rsquo; Climb plus a Virtual Reality Center. Cabin fever does not stand a chance here–your children can literally climb the walls. It’s possible to climb together. . .or chillax from the spa/gym/restaurant/basketball court/etc. P.S. Ask about using one of the seven party suites for your children next birthday shindig.

COVID-19 Update: The St. James is open, however, Laugh, Learn & Play remains temporarily closed. 

Price: Free-$25 (members); $15-$38 (non-members)6805 Industrial Rd.Springfield, VA 703-239-6870Online: thestjames.com


Picture: Katelyn H. through Yelp

Once Upon a Dream

With 2 locations serving Northern Virginia, Once Upon a Dream bills itself “a indoor children’s entertainment center with a concentration on creativity, creativity, and advancement. Peek inside either place and you’ll see pretend grocery shop, an ice cream cart, a castle, a “treasure chest” (bursting with costume jewelry), a giant pirate boat, and a horse-drawn carriage. Costumes, arts and crafts, giant foam building blocks and LEGOs, and a climbing wall around out the pleasure. There are also a plethora of fun classes (cooking, dancing, songs, and more) that are usually free of $10 entrance to start play.

COVID-19 Update: Once Upon a Dream is still open. 

Price: $10/person (free/under nine months; includes 2.5 hours of open drama )46321 McClellan WaySterling, VA 703-956-9192

527 Maple Ave. E, Suite 200Vienna, VA 703-255-2220Online: onceuponadreams.com


Photo: Austin G. through Yelp

National Building Museum

You still haven’t been on the funding gem? Hightail it Metro into Judiciary Square, also pack a picnic while you’re in it. The National Building Museum has turned into one of the city’s go places for young families by incorporating two perfectly-appointed play spaces for youngsters (and the enormous, high-ceilinged atrium makes for a delightful spot to lunch and frolic). The Building Zone caters to kids under six years of age and features cubes and LEGOs, costumes, a Book Nook, a brand new “hardware shop ”, and a custom-built, life-size “green” home.  Be sure you swing by the museum’s gift store after the play is done to have a look at the trendy toys, stationary and home goods; from some reports it’s the best museum store in the city!

COVID-19 Update: The Museum is now closed until further notice. 

Price: $10/adults; $7/kids 3-17; free/under 2401 F St. NWPenn Quarter202-272-2448Online: nbm.org

Photo: Meghan Yudes Meyers

Play N’ Learn

With locations in Chantilly, VA and Columbia, MD, this play equipment super store boasts an intimidating 14,000 square feet of combined showroom space filled to the brim with swing sets and jungle gyms, trampolines, and basketball goals. Of course, the play equipment is all for sale, but the stores’ main draw is their free and open play sessions that give kids warehouse-size space to run, jump, and climb. Adults can take a break on the ample patio furniture while the kids have at it!

COVID-19 Update: Play N’ Learn shops are open for purchasing appointments only. Kids are not allowed to play equipment. 

Price: $8/child 9033 Red Branch Rd.Columbia, MD 

102 Pepsi Pl.Chantilly, VA Online: playnlearn.com


Photo: Ashley D. through Yelp

Hidden Oaks Nature Center

(Live) turtles, snakes, and frogs–oh, my! This Fairfax County-funded character center is stuffed to the gills with puzzles, games, costumes, and learning tools for younger kids. A wooded and well-marked horizontal route that circles the building is ideal for the tiniest of hikers. Photo ops about with a sweet butterfly seat out and toadstool tables and chairs and hollow logs such as crawling from the indoor play space.

COVID-19 Update: The nature center is currently open! Be sure to also check out the Virtual Exploration Center

7701 Royce St.Annandale, VA Online: fairfaxcounty.gov


Photo: Del Ray Baby

Alexandria Soft Playroom in Chinquapin Park

Alexandria’s soft playroom from the Chinquapin Recreation Center is carried with a ball hole and all sorts of other squishy gear, including a soft slide, ramps, wedges, arches, cylinders, and cubes. Designed for children five and below, this is the place to take fidgety tykes (especially those vulnerable to carrying a few tumbles!) On a rainy day.

COVID-19 Update: Alexandria’s recreational centers are open with restricted capacities & reduced hours. 

Price: $5/resident child, $7/non-resident child (includes ½ hour play)3210 King St.Alexandria, VAOnline: Alexandria.gov

ImagiNATIONS Activity Center

ImagiNATIONS Activity Center in the National Museum of the American IndianThis living room was designed for youngsters to not only tucker themselves out, but also to organically explore indigenous culture and lifestyle. Little ones can weave a massive basket, surf a virtual river at a tippy kayak, or hunker-down inside a true teepee. A library and kiddie craft center may keep bookish-types engaged. Even crawling infants may get in to the romping great fun–that the museum is largely carpeted, ideal for cruising on hands and knees. What’s & rsquo;s it for you? The Mitsitam Cafe downstairs from the memorial –serving indigenous foods from around the Americas–is well-known among the best place to eat on the Mall. During play rests, try the cheesy fry bread or even the heirloom corn and bean succotash, and wash it all down with a few prickly pear agua fresca.

COVID-19 Update: Smithsonian Museums are closed until further notice. 

National Museum of the American IndianFourth St. in Independence Ave. SWNational MallOnline: nmai.si.edu


Picture: Be With Me – The Playseum

Be With Me – The Playseum

Produced as a scaled-down replica of a real-life town, the Playseum includes 12 themed rooms like a grocery shop, restaurant, pizza parlor, art supply shop, and pet shop. Kids up to age 11 could let their imaginations run entirely by faking to become cooks, grocers, doctors, and shopkeepers. Each room also includes a few books relevant to the theme, also you’ll be able to buy Playseum cash in advance for special themed tasks (paint ceramics in the art room, have your nails painted from the salon, or decorate a cupcake from the bakery).

COVID-19 Update: The Playseum is now open. 

Price: $9/person (free/under 11 weeks )7000 Wisconsin Ave.Bethesda, MD Online: playseum.com


Picture: Maria V. through Yelp

Nook

This family hangout at Arlington, VA. is interchangeable with cool, calm, and collected. It bucks the overstimulate-to-wear-’em-out fashion (as much as we appreciate those options, also ), while managing to become an engaging experience for small ones. Bonus: The inside at this play space is the best background for a few killer mama-razzi shots.

COVID-19 Update: All Nook locations are closed until further notice. 

Price: $20/dayMosaic District2905 District Ave Suite 115Fairfax, VA 22031571-282-3028

Ballston Quarter4238 Wilson Blvd, Suite 1295Arlington, VA571-970-0338Online: playatnook.com


Photo: Kidville

Kidville

The centerpiece of the child space is the mega-roster of classes. Out of a construction-themed art course and hip-hop to a railroad-inspired music course and high energy barrier course entertaining, there is something to draw the attentions of every itty bitty on your family. Sometimes throughout the weekthey change their gym area to a supervised indoor playspace to get littles to conduct climb and leap around. After kiddo is settled in to his course, you can settle in to this hot area’s Sitn’ Snack cafe, where you can grab a snack and test out your text messages.

COVID-19 Update: Kidville is presently offering online classes. 

4825 Bethesda Ave.Bethesday, MD Online: kidville.com

Photo: Ayren Jackson-Cannady

Elemeno

The major goal at this play place is to spark kids’ (ages 0-6) imagination and play-inspired learning without the over-excitement and stimulation which ’s most frequently found in other indoor playgrounds. The founders, who are parents, reach their target with super=curated stations–think: a indoor wooden play structure, an indoor air table, and toys that need interaction and creativity. All classes and activities (i.e. sign language, infant hip hop( friendship workshop) are designed to boost growth and social abilities.

COVID-19 Update: Elemeno is now open.

Price: $59-$189/month709 8th St. SECapitol Hill202-763-7629Online: elemeno.club

–Meghan Yudes Meyers, Katie Brown and Ayren Jackson-Cannady

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