Indoor places for kids to play in the Hudson Valley
Looking for active, indoor fun for kids with a rainy weekend ahead? There's no shortage of spots for Hudson Valley youngsters to run, climb, bounce and play when the weather outside is frightful.
Whether you prefer a structured class environment, a members-only kiddie gym or a drop-in play center, we've found more than a dozen places for indoor play where kids can get off the couch, away from screens and engaged in fun and challenging activities.
"Our goal is for every child to reach his or her full physical potential and develop a love of physical activity that will lead to an active and healthy life," says Zineb Truta, the owner Great Play in Scarsdale.
Here are 15 local spots, organized alphabetically within the regions of Westchester, Rockland and the Hudson Valley, where kids can have fun indoors.
Bounce U in Elmsford
Your little jumping beans can hop to their hearts' content at Bounce U, which offers a tantalizing assortment of blowup amusements such as bounce castles, obstacles, slides and games (150 Clearbrook Rd., Elmsford; 914-874-5200; www.bounceu.com). Although there's no specific toddler area, the facility welcomes everyone ages 2 and up for an hour or two of bouncing fun in all the attractions.
The equipment is sanitized daily, snacks are available from a vending machine and candy may be available at the front desk during special bounce sessions. Parents may drop off children as long as they leave an emergency contact number. Peanuts are not permitted on the premises, and the birthday cakes are nut-free and egg-free.
Cost: $11.95 for the two-hour family bounce session or 90-minute preschool session; $15.95 for a 90-minute all-ages session. Birthday party packages start at $299.
Great Play in Scarsdale
Infants through 12-year-olds can enjoy age-appropriate fitness classes at Great Play, a 3,500-square-foot gymnasium in Scarsdale (969 Central Park Ave., Scarsdale; 914-713-3470; www.greatplay.com/locations/scarsdale). Kids won't get bored with the ever-changing scenery, thanks to unique, patented technology that allows assorted murals and interactive games to be projected onto the walls to suit the ages and abilities of the class. Little ones can take classes that promote simple motor skills with fun games such as balloon paddle tennis; older kids can brush up on fitness and specific sports skills. Classes are led by coaches with expertise in such fields as early childhood education and physical education.
Drop-off service and open play are both available with membership. There are also parents' night out sessions, camps, sport clinics and private lessons. The facility hosts birthday parties; you supply the food.
Cost: $99 for four weeks or $199 for eight weeks. Party packages start at $400 for members or $450 for nonmembers.
Kids U in Pleasantville
Kids U offers a variety of cool classes for kids ranging from infants to age 8 (175 Tompkins Ave., Pleasantville; 914-747-7478; www.kidsu.com). Babies as young as 7 months can enjoy mommy and me class; tots up to 36 months can take mommy and me or music and movement class; active youngsters can use gymnastics apparatus in gym classes or learn martial arts; and creative kids ages 4-8 can collaborate with one another to design, build and test their own inventions in Lego class.
All members can use the 17-foot-tall PlayQuad -- a multilevel jungle gym in a 2,000-square-foot free-play area -- any time Kids U is open. The structure is designed to promote motor skill development, coordination, balance, flexibility and strength through active play. The facility also offers birthday party packages; drinks are included with birthday parties, but you supply the food.
Cost: Class tuition is $375 for winter sessions (Nov. 19-Mar. 16); midsession enrollments will be prorated. Party packages start at $399.
Leapin' Lizards in Port Chester
Parents know it's difficult to keep siblings of different ages entertained in the same place and at the same time, but Leapin' Lizards offers age-appropriate activities for everyone from 1 to 12 (421 Boston Post Rd., Port Chester; 914-937-5867; www.leaplizards.com). There are a designated toddler zone, ball pits and a foam forest for the younger set. Bigger children can burn off some energy in the elaborate climbing gym, which features tubes, tunnels and slides. Competitive kids can try obstacle course racing, pingpong and Skee-Ball.
There's no drop-off service here -- parents are expected to supervise their children, along with the staff monitors. Outside food is not permitted, but there is a snack bar that serves up light fare and beverages, including nut-free options. The facility is cleaned nightly, and is available for open play, birthday parties and camp outings.
Cost: Open play admission is $13.99, $12.99 weekdays for kids under 5 before 3 p.m.; annual memberships are $299, $249 for each additional child. Party packages start at $449.99.
The Play Place in Elmsford
Everyone 10 and under will find something fun to do at The Play Place (175-11 Clearbrook Rd., Elmsford; 914-347-5291; www.theplayplace.net). Multilevel activity zones will challenge kids ages 4 and up as they navigate through a playscape that features scramble nets, two 20-foot-long wave slides, squeeze rollers and a foam forest. There's a toddler zone for those 3 and under, and even an infant area with soft, baby-safe shapes and toys to play with. For the sports-minded, there's a 60-foot soccer field and two 10-and-under tennis courts, which feature lower nets, smaller play areas and lighter equipment than the adult versions.
The play structure is cleaned at least twice a day, and the entire place is continually swept and mopped. Drop-offs are not permitted. Snacks such as cookies and chips are available, and guests can also bring their own food. The facility is not nut-free, but the play area is a no-food zone.
Cost: $9 for 4 and under, $11 for age 5 and up; 2-hour limit on the playground. Party prices start at $500.
WeeZee in Chappaqua
WeeZee is an indoor health club and sensory playground for kids ages 12 months to 12 years (480 Bedford Rd., Chappaqua; 914-752-2100; weezeeworld.com). In addition to active physical play, there are a number of activities designed for sensory exploration. There's water spraying in the jungle and rain room, warm air blowing along a wind wall and a jittering train in the vibration station that will tickle children's sense of touch. Sight activities include a glowing ball pit and light-up interactive games. For olfactory discovery, kids can sniff yummy scents such as vanilla and cinnamon in an oxygen bar; karaoke, dance games and "tickling earphones" are designed to delight the ears. Sensory coaches play with and supervise the children.
The staff keeps the place clean throughout the day, and a cleaning crew washes everything down each night. Kids ages 4 and up can be dropped off for up to three hours, depending on the membership. Parents can also stay and relax in the Zen Den, which has massage chairs and iPads at the ready, or enjoy coffee and healthy snacks in the Swing Bean cafe, which offers nut-free and gluten-free snack options. The facility and staff are equipped for children with special needs, and there's an adjacent "village" of clinical professionals.
Cost: $300 for 10-visit passes; visit WeeZee for information on membership packages, after school programs and birthday parties.
Bounce! in Valley Cottage
Even if you're new to the sport, the whole family can spring into action on the trampolines at Bounce! (612 Corporate Way, Valley Cottage; 845-268-4000; bounceonit.com). "This is a place you can come into right off the street. You don't have to be a professional or know how to jump on a trampoline to get great exercise and good physical activity," said Michael Gross, one of the owners of the venue.
The 25,000-square-foot facility features five jumping courts where guests can bounce around, launch themselves from trampolines into foam pits and test their skills at trampoline dodgeball and slam-dunk basketball. For kids ages 2 to 6, there's a Bounce! Jr. section, which has a separate jumping court and inflatables. Drop-offs are permitted with a signed waiver; referees and monitors keep watch over the courts and make sure rules are followed.
The courts are cleaned weekly. A snack bar, coffee bar and vending machine offer healthy choices, including nut-free options. Bounce! is available for open play and birthday parties.
Cost: Open bounce is $12 for the first hour and $10 for each additional hour; $10 per hour for ages 4 and under. Party packages start at $350.
Wee Play in Nanuet
Children ages 1-8 can flex their imaginations at Wee Play, which features an interactive play village with a make-believe market, a pizzeria and a play house (33 Route 304, Nanuet; 845-624-0114; www.weeplayusa.com). There's also an indoor track for pedaling pint-size vehicles around complete with a pretend gas station, and a cute toddler zone, which is enclosed by a white picket fence. Children can also dig and play in a 256-square-foot sand pit, or monkey around on colorful, multilevel climbing structures with tubes and slides.
Wee Play is cleaned daily and offers open play as well as birthday parties. While the staff monitors the play area, parents are required to stay and supervise their children. Lunch and snacks are available for purchase and outside food is not permitted. The venue is not a nut-free facility (peanut butter is on the menu), but nut-free options are available.
Cost: $10 per day for members, $14 per day for nonmembers; $25 per family yearly memberships. Birthday party packages start at $300.
Jumpin Jakes in Fishkill and Middletown
These two Jumpin Jakes locations offer inflatable amusements, including bounce houses, obstacle courses and slides that will keep kids ages 2 to 11 having fun (982 Main St., Suite 1, Fishkill; 845-897-1744; fishkill.jumpinjakes.net; 360 Route 211, Middletown; 845-343-5867; middletown.jumpinjakes.net). High-tech entertainment includes video games and an interactive light floor, and the Fishkill location even offers laser tag. There's a separate toddler area for the youngest family members.
Both Jumpin Jakes are cleaned constantly throughout the day, and each night the bouncers are vacuumed, the play floor is cleared and mopped and the video games are wiped down. Drop offs are not permitted, but the staff is watching and playing along, as often as not. Snacks such as popcorn, chips and candy are available, and party food is ordered from Planet Wings. These are not nut-free facilities, but nut-free options are available. Jumpin Jakes is available for open play and birthday parties.
Cost: $10.25 on weekdays and $11 on weekends (tax included), $5 (plus tax) after 5 p.m.; $19.99 (plus tax) for a monthly membership. Party packages start at $189.
Jumpin Jakes Discovery in Poughkeepsie
This Jumpin Jakes location is designed exclusively for younger children up to age 7, who can safely enjoy everything from low-key amusements such as games and puzzles to high-energy attractions such as bounce houses and climbers (2586-2600 South Rd., Poughkeepsie; 845-849-1075; poughkeepsie.jumpinjakes.net). There's also a pretend play village where imaginative youngsters can make believe.
The facility is thoroughly cleaned every day. Drop-offs are not available, but parents have the option to join in the fun on the play floor or relax and enjoy coffee, lunch and free Wi-Fi access. It is not a nut-free facility, but nut-free options are available.
Cost: Open play admission is $10.25 on weekdays and $11 on weekends (tax included); admission discounts available after 5 p.m. Party packages start at $149.
Jumpin' Jeepers in Mahopac
Parent-supervised open playtime is offered daily at Jumpin Jeepers, which caters to kids 1 to 9 years old (926 U.S. Route 6, Mahopac; 845-621-4922; www.jumpin-jeepers.com). In addition to a bounce castle, the facility features a two-level play structure with a maze, tubes to crawl through and multiple slides. Adventurous youngsters can even take a ride on a mini-zip line. For kids who prefer to keep their feet on the ground, there's also an imaginative play area where they can put on a puppet show or play dress-up. The play center also offers several scheduled classes, including instruction in arts and crafts, social skills and pretend play. There's a toddler zone, as well as toys and activities designed to accommodate children with special needs.
Cleanliness and health are top priorities here: The play space is cleaned throughout the day with nontoxic cleaning products, and the walls are painted with non-VOC paint. The Jeepers Cafe has all-natural and organic offerings, including gluten-free, dairy-free and nut-free snacks. Outside food is permitted as long as it's nut-free.
Cost: $10 per child for open play; $89.99 for a 10-visit pass, $149.99 for three months of unlimited play. Party packages start at $265.
Kids Kingdom Play Center in Poughkeepsie
Children ages 1-9 can bounce in a bounce house, roll around in two ball pits, climb to the top of a two-level jungle gym and slide to the bottom through a spiral slide at Kids Kingdom Play Center (36 Firemens Way, Poughkeepsie; 845-471-7529; kidskingdompc.com). Toddlers will feel safe and have fun in a smaller play structure sized just for them, and older kids can test their skills at air hockey, arcade games and even an indoor basketball court.
The ball pits are sanitized weekly, and the facility requires parents to stick around and supervise as they would at an outdoor playground. The Kingdom Café serves up casual fare such as pizza, hot dogs, fries, grilled cheese and soup, and outside food is not permitted. There are three private rooms for birthday parties.
Cost: Weekend admission is $9.25 per day per child; weekday admission is $5 per day; group rates are available for 10 or more. Visit the website for party options.
Kids Time in Millerton
It's a rare facility that can successfully cater to tots through teens, but Kids Time offers activities for ages 12 months all the way to 15 years (Thompson's Plaza, 208 Route 44, Millerton; 518-789-9643; www.kidstimeplayplace.com). When kids are tired of the bounce house, there are plenty of other activities to keep them engaged, says owner Ken Thompson, like the 12,000-cubic-foot custom-designed indoor jungle gym with two slides. There are also playhouses and a tot-sized climbing structure, an unusual ball pit challenge featuring eight giant exercise balls, and a small video arcade to appeal to tweens and teens.
Thompson says he prides himself on keeping the facility super-clean by personally cleaning it nightly. "I guarantee you won't find a cleaner place," he said. "I put every dime I could find into it, and treated it like a brand-new car." There's a two-hour supervised drop-off service for potty-trained kids ages 3 to 10 (parents must sign a waiver and leave an emergency contact number). There are also two private rooms for birthday parties. Only bottled water is available for sale.
Kids Time is only open on weekends.
Cost: $10 per child for two hours of play or drop-off service. visit the website for party package rates.
MAC Park in Kingston
"Inspiring kids to be more active" is the motto at MAC Park, a 20,000-square-foot indoor sports facility with several programs that are open to the public (Route 9W, Kingston; 845-338-2887; www.mac-park.com). Options range from after-school games of tag and Frisbee to sports and endurance clinics. Summer camp, school vacation camps and birthday parties are also available.
Three turf fields and a six-lane sprint track ensure plenty of space to run around, and parents can get their own workout at the adjacent health club.
The after-school program runs from 3:30 to 6 p.m. on school days, and transportation is included from schools in the neighborhood. "After snack and homework time, we get them active," said owner Lyle Schuler. "We play active games -- energy burning games, where they're up and moving and on their feet. ... We're not putting kids on treadmills. They're having fun doing things kids enjoy doing."
Cost: $200-$270 per month for after-school programs, depending on the number of days; $35 per day (8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.) for school vacation day camps; summer camp starts at $110 per week. Party packages start at $175.