Brooklyn Drop-In Play Spaces and Kiddie Gyms
Brooklyn can't be beat for indoor play spaces. While Manhattan and Queens have about a dozen drop-in indoor playgrounds apiece, Brooklyn boasts nearly twice that number, from Recess d.u.m.b.o. in DUMBO to Fairytale Island in Bay Ridge.
While we've included a couple of the more mellow tot spots with crafts or storytelling, this best-of-Brooklyn list is focused on active play spaces, where toddlers, preschoolers, and even bigger kids can conquer multilevel mazes, swoosh down slides, climb up rock walls, or just turn around in circles until they fall down exhausted and ready for a nap. Due to the pandemic, most of the play spaces we've highlighted are operating at reduced capacity and all of them require and/or recommend reservations. Several that we've included in this list have temporarily closed, so make sure to check back for updates. If you want the play space to yourself and your pod, check out these places that offer private playtime (include link).
Editor's Note. All the play spaces require adults and children (over age 2) to wear masks and maintain social distance when possible. Due to the ever-changing nature of the pandemic, please call ahead or check on the play space's website to confirm hours, pricing and availability of space.
Read on for the best drop-in indoor romper rooms for kids in Brooklyn. Find more play spots in our Indoor Family Fun Guide to Play Spaces.
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Kids can dive into the ball pit or climb aboard the train at Fairytale Island.
Brookyn Play Spaces Open Now
1. Fairytale Island — Bay Ridge
2021 Update: Currently open on the weekends and a few days during the week but changes week to week. Best to call ahead and confirm hours.
7110 3rd Ave. between 71st and 72nd Streets
No age limit, but best for kids ages 7 and under
This epic play zone offers a giant ball pit, two-level train, trampolines, swings, a rock climbing wall, and plenty more to keep kids occupied for hours. You can even get food here—light lunch fare such as pizza and popcorn chicken is available, as well as smoothies and a full ice cream bar.
2. Good Day Play Cafe — South Slope
2021 Update: Reservations for a 2-hour time slot must be made on the website in advance. Open Monday and Wednesday through Saturday.
591 5th Avenue, between 16th Street and Prospect Avenue
With Stumptown coffee and cold brew, a cypress wood cube sensory pit, and a clear view of the entire play area from the minimalist-chic cafe, this spot is a favorite of both parents and kids. There is plenty to do for kids who like to get physical—including a ball pit, slide, and climbing structures—as well as options for those who prefer quieter games and imaginative play, from Legos to costumes to a pretend kitchen and grocery store.
3. Kids 'N Action — Borough Park
2021 Update: Open Sunday through Thursday, 11am-6pm; Friday, 11-3pm; Saturday evenings only, 7-11pm.
1149 McDonald Avenue, near Avenue I
An indoor amusement center a la Chuck E Cheese's, this activity zone has attractions for all ages, from soft play tunnels, mazes, and a ball pit for preschoolers to a roller coaster, train ride, go-karts, and video games for older children. The upside: If you have kids of varying ages you can satisfy them all here. The downside? The more activities you try, the more you pay. Party packages are offered.
4. Little Lola and Tots — Bed-Stuy
2021 Update: Open Monday through Friday, 10am-5pm. Book in advance via the website or email, email@example.com.
503 Dekalb Avenue, between Franklin Ave and Skillman Street
Along with its "parent and me" classes, there is open play for kids to slide, read, climb and explore during daily drop-in sessions. Beautifully curated and mindfully constructed, the space offers plenty of play opportunities for kids to get physical and use their imaginations.
5. PLAY KIDS — Greenpoint
2021 Update: Not offering drop-in open play hours but private play time can be booked. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
33 Nassau Avenue, between Guernsey and Dobbin Streets
This play space has undergone a lot of changes but is still uber popular. Preschoolers can hit the play sets and activity stations, including a food market and laundry set, and romp around the tumbling gym. There's also a separate baby area, where infants can safely crawl and explore.
6. Recess d.u.m.b.o. — Dumbo
2021: Reservations are recommended because there is a maximum capacity of eight children. Book on its website, email or call.
81 Washington Street, between Front and York Streets
Ages 6 months–6 years
Opened by a pair of neighborhood moms in June 2015, this play space features gorgeous, custom-made equipment, including a wooden climbing wall, hidden ladders, and tunnels made from rope netting. Drop-in play is offered seven days a week. Read our full review for more info and pics.
7. Totally Tots at the Brooklyn Children's Museum — Crown Heights
2021: Play sessions available only on weekends by reservation.
145 Brooklyn Avenue, between St. Marks Avenue and Prospect Place
If you've got a preschooler who needs to get the sillies out, Totally Tots is for you. The Baby Hub features colorful padded structures where infants can crawl, cruise, stand, or just sit. Children ages 18 months to 5 years can romp at a variety of stations, including a water play area, a multilevel climbing structure with instruments to pound and play, a building zone, and a theater.
Brooklyn Play Spaces Temporarily Closed
8. Brooklyn Arts Exchange — Park Slope
421 Fifth Avenue, between Seventh and Eighth Streets
Known as the BAX Playspace, this under-the-radar gem is a favorite of local families. Toddlers and preschoolers navigate hoops and tunnels, color, play with balls, and read books.
9. Congregation Beth Elohim Tots Drop-in Center — Park Slope
274 Garfield Place, near Eighth Avenue
This is another popular Park Slope tot spot, where the littlest ones (note the age range, above) can tumble and play with educational toys in the congregation's large social hall.
10. Sundays@Senesh — Carroll Gardens
2021 Update: They hope to reopen in the fall.
342 Smith Street, at Second Street
Jewish day school Hannah Senesh opens its spacious, sunny gym to neighborhood kids for playtime on Sunday mornings all winter long. Kids race around the gym with pals while parents chat over coffee and bagels. Ride-on toys and mini climbing structures keep everyone busy, but there's also a music session and art-making station.
11. Twinkle Playspace — Williamsburg
2021: They hope to reopen in May.
144 Frost Street, between Graham and Manhattan Avenues
Owned and operated by a longtime local family, this 4,500-square-foot tot spot features creative, custom-designed, hands-on activity stations, including a water table, firehouse, salon, general store, and a barnyard. It's a great option for preschoolers who love to pretend. Party packages are offered.
Photos courtesy of the spaces
A previous version of this post was published in January 2017, but it is regularly updated.