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Play in Chicago

We Chicagoans have to put up with a lot. Freezing spring days, rainy summer days, windy fall days and let’s not even talk about winter. Thankfully, there are loads of indoor playgrounds throughout the city for those times when a day at the park just won’t cut it.

We visited every single one with a 17-month-old girl so you could simply use our guide to figure out the best one for your itty bitty. Click on the title of each location for more details about each one.

Ah, Chicago. Freezing springs, rainy summers, windy falls and let’s not even talk about winter. Thankfully, there are loads of indoor playgrounds for those times when a day at the park just won’t cut it.

Cost: $7.50 first child, $3.75 siblings.

Best for: Kids 5 and under.

Special activities: Indoor/outdoor play areas, plus storytimes, performers and other kids entertainment.

Children will love: The train table and the construction area, complete with a work bench, blocks and tubes for building.

Mommies will love: In addition to being able to relax with coffee and free wi-fi, moms will like Nibbles partnership with Creatively Caring. Families can work on family service projects together.


Cost: Free, pay per attraction or buy an unlimited ride pass.

Deals: Discounts for wristbands and coupons for family meal deals available on their website.

Best for: Go Bananas has rides and games that appeal to a variety of ages.

Children will love: The bumper cars and other carnival-style rides.

Mommies will love: Parents always ride free.

Go Bananas


Cost: $12 per child, $8 sibling.

Deals: For $20, staff will supervise your child while you stay on-site and work, take a classor chat with friends.

Best for: Age 2-5.

Special activities: Storytime and children’s concerts.

Children will love: The custom-built village with a firehouse complete with fire hoses.

Mommies will love: The chance to get manicures and pedicures when the mobile spa visits.

Little Beans Cafe


Cost:$14 per child, $10 per sibling during open play.

Deals: A 30-day membership is $105, a 90-day membership is $160. A 10-pass card is $115.

Best for: Age 2-6: There’s a small area for pre-crawlers, but most of the toys are more fun for walkers.

Special activities:Birthday parties.

Children will love:Marketplace, complete with kid-sized shopping carts and a cash register. The boutique is also sure to please, with dress-up clothing that will make any little girl swoon.

Mommies will love: Free coffee and the large parent room that offers magazines, a TV and low lighting for relaxation.

Kid City


Cost: $15 per child, $25 per family

Deals: $50 per month for unlimited visits, $35 per sibling per month for unlimited visits, $135 for a 10-visit punch card, $90 for a 10-visit sibling punch card.

Best for: Age 2-4. There are a few baby/toddler toys, but no separate area for non-walkers.

Special activities: Preschool, camp and parties.

Children will love: The first indoor play area in Chicago, around since 1996, and it looks like an indoor park. There are six slides, a “sandbox” made with rice, see-saws, riding toys and even a small basketball area.

Mommies will love: You can go home for a nap and come back to play without paying an extra fee. Plus, there’s ample free parking.


Cost: $10 per child

Deals: Sometimes offers special pricing for holidays. Check website for details.

Best for: Age 1 and up. There’s literally something fun for every age group-even adults.

Special activities: Parties, camp.

Children will love: My 17-month-old daughter has never had a better time in her life. There are two rooms (one for toddlers, one for older children) filled with bouncy spaces-including bouncy slides, bouncy playground and the traditional bouncy castle with basketball hoop.

Mommies will love: Parents are allowed inside the bouncy fun area, too. Be prepared for a very long nap when your child is done bouncing.

Pump It Up


Cost: $19, $15 kids 3-12, free kids 2 and under.

Deals: Save $5 on food with online coupon.

Best for: Ages 3-10.

Special activities: 4-D movies.

Children will love: Themounted laser guns to zap beastly skeletons and trolls while riding the Kingdom Quest Laser Ride.

Mommies will love: Seeing their future architects and engineers get started building.

Legoland Discovery Center



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