12 best indoor play places in Chicago


Whether it's hot and ridiculously humid or so cold it would put a polar vortex to shame, Chicago's weather rarely cooperates with what your family has planned. Lucky for Chicago parents, this area is bursting with variety of indoor spots where kids can play and parents can retain their sanity and their clean homes. Here are a dozen of our favorites.


Little Beans Cafe - Evanston

The spacious facility, located in a former supermarket, is centered around the Little Beans play area for kids 0-6, a mini-village that boasts a Kids Clubhouse, ninja obstacle course and more. Other attractions include a half-court gym, classes such as dance, yoga and baby sign language, a karaoke room, and air hockey and ping pong tables. Think the Little Beans Cafe you know and love, with an added focus on older kids from 5-12.


Sod Room

Looking for an eco-friendly and healthy play environment for your kids? Sod Room has just what you need with its play center made of safe and sustainable materials and toys. Located in the South Loop neighborhood of Chicago, this indoor wonderland features drop-in play as well as a private event space for parties.



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 trampled.


Little Beans Cafe

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 energetic staff.



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

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.


Legoland Discovery Center

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.


Lincoln Park Zoo's Canopy Climbing Adventure

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.


Kid City

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!).


Explore and Much More

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 hammock swing.


Go Bananas

Kids of all ages will have a blast at this carnival-style play place. Bumper cars are a family favorite, and parents always ride for free. Families can either pay per attraction or buy an unlimited ride pass. Check out their website for discounts and coupons before you go!


Pump It Up

No need to worry about your littlest ones getting trampled by the big kids at this bouncy haven. Separate play rooms for toddlers and older children, both filled with bouncy slides, playgrounds and castles, mean fun for all ages. Parents can even bounce with their kids if they wish. The cost of entrance is $10 per child.


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