Indoor Activities

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Get Out and Drop In! Best Queens Play Spaces and Gyms for Kids

From Queens' formerly industrial waterfront to deep in the borough, family-friendly spots and amenities are on the upswing. There are wide-open spaces to run with abandon, playgrounds aplenty, and indoor play spaces with open play hours are strong in number: In fact, Queens has more indoor play zones than Manhattan and is gaining on Brooklyn.

We found 20+ indoor romping locations in the borough that offer drop-in sessions open to the public (no membership required). Bonus: All of these spots host birthday parties, too, and most are much more affordable than their Manhattan competitors.

15 Best Indoor Birthday Party Ideas for LA Kids

There is a special kind of stress—both emotional and financial—that planning a birthday party can cause if you have kids born between the months of November and March. Oh sure, everyone struggles with the great birthday party question, but those moms who gave birth in LA in August are pretty safe claiming a corner of a public park or throwing down some blankets on the beach. If you have a December baby, you may have tried that, but at some point probably cried "Never again!" LA might not have a proper winter, but it has a proper Indoor Birthday Party season, if only for the sanity of the parents. Allow us to share some of our favorite options for entertaining the masses without stressing about the weather.

Go-Kart and Slot Car Racing Destinations for LI Kids

Want to go for a spin? Then check out one of Long Island’s go-kart or slot car tracks.   

Parents of kids who love being in the driver’s seat will love what these high-speed destinations offer. Inexpensive and thrilling, they’re ideal for kids who refuse to take a back seat to anyone. Gentlemen (and ladies), start your engines. 

For more indoor fun, see our guide to play spaces and fun zones. If your kids prefer to pedal, our guide to Long Island biking trails offers great rides in Nassau, Suffolk, and the East End.

7 Cool Escape Rooms for NYC Kids to Conquer

For parents, life in a tiny New York City apartment can feel like a constant escape game. The clutter is closing in on you and you've got to locate two toddler shoes, a missing must-have accessory for your tween, and your own MIA cell phone before you can unlock the door to take on the mean city streets.

If your clever kids don't see the game in that routine, they might be up for a different kind of challenge. Consider splurging on an afternoon in one of these kid-friendly escape rooms, where their puzzle skills (and yours!) will be put to the test. Most offer birthday party packages, too. Be aware that most spots require a reservation to get locked in, so plan your outing in advance.

The Paley Center for Media: A Fun Trip Down TV & Radio's Memory Lane

Does having kids bring back memories of TV shows, cartoons, and jingles from your own childhood? Wouldn't it be cool if there were a place where you could watch them? Enter The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills. Whether you're making peace with some weekend screen time, or you've simply exhausted the other great LA museum and library options, this place is worth checking out. With an archive of more than 160,000 radio and television programs, this small but mighty museum offers a fun (and free!) way to connect with the family over TV past and present. 

These 8 Trampoline Parks Offer LA & OC Kids Wall-to-wall Jumping

Bounce and repeat. What else do we need to say? Big kids, little kids, they all like to jump. Even Mom and Dad can occasionally enjoy trampoline time (though they might just prefer the trampoline park below that offers massage chairs on the sidelines). Bring a pack of kids for a birthday party, and they'll all sleep well afterwards; bring an antsy one on a rainy day, and watch the mood change for the better. Note that the 8 jumping gyms below can get seriously rambunctuous, but most offer special times or areas for toddlers and preschoolers. And if there's a stuntkid in your family, these are definitely addresses you need to know.

Indoor Gardens Where Boston Kids and Families Can Escape Winter

Could your family use an escape from the New England chill? A warm, green space is closer than you may think. Several fabulous indoor gardens around Boston keep their greenhouse and atrium doors open throughout the winter. With controlled balmy temperatures—be sure to bring a bag for stashing ski jackets!—these sunlit spaces feature exotic plants and animals as well as plenty of space for children for roam, discover, and daydream.

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