Neither flurries nor rain, nor heat nor cold should keep New Jersey children from enjoying a day of play—especially when there are so many awesome indoor play spaces in Northern Jersey. From toddler play dates to teen outings, we've compiled a list of the best indoor playgrounds in Northern New Jersey where kids can drop-in for play. No memberships needed! If you're looking for sites that are a bit farther south, check out this listing of Central Jersey play spaces.
Note that many facilities have socks-only policies or height requirements for entrance, while others require waivers from parents prior to entry. Check with each facility about their rules and schedules for open play.
Giggles is an electronics-free play zone.
Giggles – Cranford
Intended for kids under 6, this indoor activity center lets little ones play and explore without over-stimulating electronic toys. Complimentary story times are scheduled on Tuesdays (3:30 p.m.) and Thursdays (10:30 p.m.).
Kidoolo – Springfield
This brand-new indoor play space has a playground for toddlers with a small climbing structure, a laser tag area for older children, a video game room, and a dance floor that becomes a virtual playground with games. Daily, monthly, quarterly, and annual passes are available. Read Mommy Poppins' review of Kidoolo to learn more.
Screamin' Parties – Springfield
When they're not hosting parties, this inflatable jump facility has open bounce and events for children. It has two rooms of inflatables, including slides, pits, ball launchers, and more.
Kidz Village – Kenilworth
This facility is a play town with lots of themed rooms to explore, including a grocery store, a hair salon, cinema, and a construction zone. There's also a small roller rink and play maze. Note that this play center can get very crowded during birthday parties, so you may want to consider visiting during off-peak times.
Funtime Junction – Fairfield
Funtime Junction invites kids to "climb aboard" its soft, two-story playground that will keep little ones occupied for a while. This play palace also offers a Sesame Street–themed bounce house, arcade games, laser tag, and even a helicopter ride. Closed on Mondays, but walk-ins are welcome every other day of the week.
JUMPnasium – Fairfield
Instead of bouncing off the walls at home, let your kids bounce at JumpNasium. This indoor inflatable playground provides 13,000 square feet of gigantic inflatables, including giant slides, climbers, a moon bounce, and trampoline basketball, plus arcade games and air hockey. Open jump is 70 minutes long. Time slots fill up quickly, so make your reservation online before you go. Kids must be 34” or taller to jump on most inflatables, but don’t worry; there's plenty of non-bouncy stuff for toddlers to play on, too. One great program at JUMPnasium is the Tuesday after-school, sensory-friendly bounce sessions sold in six-week packages. Run by an occupational therapist, sessions are intended for children with ADHD, low muscle tone, autism, social difficulties, or other special needs issues. While the kids are bouncing, a parent support group is held by a social worker.
Kidgits Indoor Playground – Livingston Mall
While you’re shopping at the mall, check out this gem right inside the shopping center. Located on the lower level near Sears, this carpeted playground allows kids to kick off their shoes and blow off some steam. The main slide structure is surrounded by several stationary climbers, including a bright blue car, tugboat, and rocket ship. Large puzzles and a mirror toward the back are great for toddlers and crawlers. Just outside the play area is a mini carousel for kids who want to be on the move. There’s also comfortable seating for grown-ups, a Dunkin’ Donuts a few feet away, and free Wi-Fi. There's also a Kidgits play center for Morris County shoppers at Rockaway Townsquare in the lower level at Center Court.
Jersey Explorer – East Orange
Staffed by children in the NJ Youth Corps, this children's museum in open to walk-ins on Saturdays, and the admission is free (donations appreciated). Here you'll find a child-sized town to explore, arts and crafts, a "time traveler" area where kids can learn about the Underground Railroad and other pieces of history, a two-level Egyptian tomb, and a spaceship.
Clown Around – Flanders
For kids ages 7 and younger, this jungle-themed play zone has been a family favorite for years. Always clean and bright, Clown Around offers a soft-play baby and toddler zone as well as a three-story play structure with slides, ropes, nets, and obstacles. There is plenty of seating for parents and a snack room as well. They have free Wi-Fi, and you can schedule play dates or attend open play.
The Funplex – East Hanover
With more than 100,000 square feet of attractions, there’s plenty to keep all ages busy at this family amusement center. The arcade features everything from Boardwalk classics like Skeeball and air hockey to the latest video games. Bumper cars, go-karts, and laser tag are perfect choices for older kids. And everyone can join in the fun with MagiQuest, an interactive game in which players follow clues to complete quests.
Gravity Vault – Chatham (also Hoboken and Upper Saddle River)
Rock out at this indoor rock climbing facility where children ages 5 and up can participate. No reservations are required for walk-in climbing, which is possible anytime during regular business hours. Kids can climb with a parent (if certified) or work with one of Gravity Vault’s instructors.
Imagine That!!! has many different themed areas for kids to explore.
Imagine That!!! – Florham Park
This hands-on children's museum has more than 50 exhibits and activities that are designed to spark the imagination of young children. They can "shop" at the grocery store, mail packages at the post office, and climb aboard the pirate ship. There's also a two-level play structure, a music room, and a vehicle showroom where kids can climb in and on a car, airplane, fire truck, and tractor. An arts and crafts area features seasonal projects and a sandbox. Special events are scheduled throughout the year.
KIDnetic – Montville
KIDnetic features a three-level play structure, a rock climbing wall, and mats of all different shapes and sizes. Kids can jump around in the ball room, visit the alligator pit, and climb over bridges and under tunnels. The rock wall is specially designed for children under 10 and offers a great introduction to climbing.
Riverside Kids – Hackettstown
This facility focuses on the physical development of kids ages 10 months through 10 years. During open gym time, kids can practice their balance and gross motor skills on the mats, bars, rings, and beam.
Laser One – Wantage
Laser One offers two stories of laser tag fun with ramps and towers. Special-effects lighting adds to the adrenaline rush. The facility also has a nine-hole mini golf course, arcade games, a laser maze obstacle challenge, and Highway 66 bowling.
The Great Story – South Hackensack
The Great Story lets children use their imaginations with the facility's costume closet, sandbox, props, a climbing structure with a small trampoline, shopping area, ball pit, and more. The cafe offers some interesting Korean specialties like bubble tea, rice burgers, and noodles.
Jump On In – Hasbrouck Heights
Bounce the day away at this indoor facility featuring inflatable bounce houses, obstacle courses, slides, tunnels and more! Preschool Open Jump and All Age Open Jump are offered regularly.
Bounce Safari – Waldwick
In addition to regularly scheduled open bounce times, Bounce Safari hosts innovative preschool and after-school programs. Classes for preschoolers combine physical activity and creative arts: themes include art, animals and LEGOs. If you’re looking for a little alone time, you can also sign them up for “Lunch Bunch”—90 minutes of bouncy fun, followed by a healthy lunch and story time. Registration is required for open bounce sessions, as well as all special programs.
Jumpin' Jax has loads of fun games for kids of all ages.
Jumpin' Jax – Paramus
This early learning center and indoor playground combination facility has open play for toddlers on up to older children. Kids will have a blast with foam ball shooters, hand-pedaled cars, a rock-climbing wall, a LEGO room, and imaginary play areas.
The Big Play House – Westwood
Kids ages 6 and under will feel right at home at The Big Play House, which offers imaginative play props, dolls, and trucks for building social skills. There's a play library, construction site, doctor's office, market, and more. Open play reservations are recommended.
CatchAir – Paramus
This underwater-themed space caters to families with children up to 12 years old. There's a soft play area for toddlers and a Tiny Town for kids under 4 feet, and a three-story play structure, ball cannon, and interactive dance floor for bigger kids. Find out what we thought about CatchAir in our review.
Liberty Science Center – Jersey City
Yes, it’s a museum, but Liberty Science Center can definitely qualify as an indoor play space, and it's always a good bet on a chilly or rainy day. A favorite of kids of all ages, the Touch Tunnel is a pitch-black, crawl-through maze. iExplore is geared toward kids ages 2 through 5 and offers a stimulating and interactive environment designed for discovery, complete with a climbing apparatus and a “sandbox” that is actually filled with rice. Kids taller than 42 inches will love the Infinity Chamber, a climbing jungle of sorts suspended two stories in the air. There are always new exhibits and events and, of course, the IMAX theater for an additional fee.
Hudson's House of Play – West New York
A sweet little space for kids ages 6 months to 5 years old, Hudson's offers a lovely, custom-built open play space created to replicate a traditional downtown city square. Each "building" has appropriate costumes, furniture, and toys. There is also a separate area for ages 2 and under and a small cafe for caregivers with tea, coffee, and baked goods.
Urban Jungle – Hoboken
This jungle-themed indoor play facility is packed with fun things for kids to explore, including a jungle gym, Imagination Playground blocks, a water and sensory station, arts and crafts, and a soft play area for toddlers.
Romparoo. Photo by Alexander Concepcion.
Romparoo – Hoboken
Romparoo is a preschool alternative that also offers drop-in open play, when little ones can socialize, climb, sharpen gross motor skills, build, stack, and enjoy a small ball pit.
Hudson Play – Jersey City
The whole family will love hanging around at Hudson Play, which is packed with fun and unique climbing, hanging, and swinging structures. You'll definitely get a workout here! Younger children will have fun building with the Imagination Playground blocks.
Planet 301 – Paterson
Catering to children ages 2 through 13, Planet 301 will cure cabin fever with its arcade, soft play area, basketball hoops, train ride, bouncy house, batting cages, laser tag, and more. It's located on the top floor of Center City Mall, so check with the facility about validation for underground parking.
Rack 'N Roll – Passaic
This family entertainment center will occupy kids of all ages (and their parents) with more than 100 video games, foosball, kiddie rides, air hockey, basketball, billiards, and more.
Bounce and Play Facilities with Multiple Locations:
PumpItUp – Secaucus, Randolph, Roselle Park
BounceU – Paramus
SkyZone – Mount Olive, Pine Brook, East Rutherford
Top photo: Giggles. All photos courtesy of the venues.