Winter is getting closer and frolicking at the park
for hours is no longer an option. Luckily Chicago is home to a
robust variety of indoor spots where kids can play and parents can
retain their sanity-and their clean homes. Here are 10 of our
favorites from 2012:
Why make a mess at home when you can Make-a-Messterpiece
elsewhere? And, oh boy, is making a mess at this Glenview gem fun!
An enormous painting area houses the necessities a budding Da Vinci
desires-yards of paper in every color and design accessories to
create the perfect work of art. The Lil Sprouts area helps budding
gardeners hone their green thumbs. The Creative Kitchen gives the
next generation of Charlie Trotters hands-on experience making
unique edible treats.
Children don various costumes for sliding, coloring and climbing
while parents relax with a delightful coffee drink. Snack time
options include chocolate pumpkin bread, veggie straws and organic
milk boxes. Kookaburra also offers "date nights" where parents can
drop the kids for a night of fun while couples rekindle the
With locations in Niles, Schaumburg, Buffalo Grove and Chicago
Ridge, this is the place to help kids sleep well at bedtime. The
themed inflatables-from Dora to superheroes to princesses-will find
a fan in every child. Areas for toddlers ensure tots don't get
This slice of kiddie heaven resembles a little town with a
firehouse, car garage, grocery store and a tiny house perfect for
tea parties. Parents will appreciate the option of plugging into
the office in the café area while the kids are supervised by the
The Exploritorium, part of the Skokie Park District, is a true
find: a water area where the kids can "fish," an elaborate maze of
tunnels and slides, a train table, a stage complete with costumes
for budding thespians and a separate area with ride-ons and a rope
bridge designated for toddlers.
Monkey Island claims to be the "largest indoor playground
with 40,000 feet of pure fun" and we can't argue. This immense
space ensures no kid could ever get bored-tons of bounce houses, a
structure filled with slides and tunnels and other attractions like
a hurricane simulator that will thrill with hair standing on end.
The attraction for parents? Tons of tables and seating within view
of the activities so there is no elbowing for room to keep an eye
on the kids.
Every LEGO enthusiast must visit this haven of building
adventures. New is the Kingdom Quest Laser Ride featuring a chariot
where brave kids set out to defeat the skeletons, vanquish the
trolls and rescue a captured princess.
This is still a stealth secret for many parents-and we
hate to break the code of silence, but the Lincoln Park Zoo has one
of the best indoor play spaces in the city. And it's free! Within
the Pritzker Family Children's Zoo area is a building containing
the Canopy Climbing Adventure, a mass of ropes and bridges that
keeps kids entertained for hours. And when they tire of climbing,
kids can watch through glass windows as the sea otters joyously
play in their own environment on one side, or witness beavers hard
at work on the other.
This family-run venue welcomes little grocery shoppers
with its extensive store. The dress-up room will make any child
longing to be a princess or fireman ecstatic. Especially appealing
to busy moms and dads is the drop-off camp on select afternoons so
parents can do errands in peace (or take a nap!).
A physician couple with three children of their own
founded this unique play space that has quickly become the buzz of
the Southport Corridor. Modeled with a children's museum atmosphere
in mind, the two-level venue includes a bouncy house, climbing
walls and activities to inspire creativity. Little readers will
love lounging in one of the two reading alcoves with a comfy
There are so many great places to play in the city and the
suburbs, we can't contain this list to just 10. Click to see more
options for your family to play indoors.