We all know the realities of raising kids in the Minnesota extremities: there’s got to be a place to go were we can escape the elements while still allowing those kids a place to burn off that extra energy. Enter our Twin Cities Indoor Playgrounds and Play Areas list. We hope you can use it to find a new space to wear those littles out — and perhaps catch yourself a break.
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Featured Partner: Music Together in the Valley
TWIN CITIES INDOOR PLAYGROUNDS IN THE SOUTH METRO
Open Play hours: 2021 Hours by Reservation: Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri: 8:30-11am or 3:30-6:30pm; Weekend: 9-11am.
Admission: $5/child ages 18 mos. to 12 yrs; 13+ & under 18 mos.: FREE.
Discounts: Purchase a 10-punch pass for $45.
Details: The Blast is not as elaborate as some of the other metro-area indoor playgrounds, but you can’t beat the price. And it’s got a pretty cool space theme going on, too. As an added bonus, the Eagan Community Center traditionally hosts Preschool Open Play each weekday from 9 – 11:30am. Included in the $5 admission fee is access to The Blast and free use of fun equipment in the gym (infants to age five only, please): plasma cars, hockey sticks, tumble blocks and more! We’ve enjoyed this deal a number of times. Preschool open play may not be offered at this time.
Details: There’s been quite a bit of buzz about this relatively new indoor play park in Eagan. It’s all been good stuff, too: parents loving the unique outdoor feel of the facility with its jungle gyms, unwalled pillow jumper, basketball court and plenty of open turf for family games. Further setting the park apart from other indoor playgrounds, Good Times bills itself as “self-use” park. Guests purchase day passes online (or at the guest kiosk inside the park entrance) and receive a code to enter the building. The code is good for the entire day. Families are encouraged to bring their own food and beverages to eat in the picnic area and are expected to clean up after themselves (as there is no staff employed by the family-run business).
Details: Admission to the Play Zone at Grand Slam Sports can be purchased separately from other packages. This area is exclusively for kids 11 and under and their is a separate section for toddlers and their parents. Of course its situated right next to the Trampoline area, which is not included in the $6.95. This may be hard for some younger kids to comprehend.
Details: The next best thing when it’s too cold or sloppy to be outside – ball away the winter blues on the court, get some air on the trampolines and pretend it’s park weather on the showroom playground equipment. Call 952-446-5858 to reserve a spot.
Admission: $16/60 min, $21/90 min, $24/120 min – includes admission to all attractions.
Discounts: Memberships start at $14.99/month.
Details: The FFTC kids are big fans of the trampolines, ninja course and rock climbing tower. Additional activities such as an inflatable warped wall, a huge 1800 sq ft inflatable obstacle course and dedicated play spaces for kids 6 and under are also included (ask about their 6 & under limited access admission). Safety grips socks are required and can be purchased at the park. Their parties are always a hit with the kids.
Chaska Community Center Playroom | Chaska.
Details: A small playroom that was fun for a first birthday party, but doesn’t include many features that excite the older kiddos. The ball pit and castle theme were a hit. Noteworthy if you plan to visit in the summer months: the Chaska Community Center’s got a pretty fun splash pad and – inside – a zero-depth entry swimming pool.
TWIN CITIES INDOOR PLAYGROUNDS IN THE WEST METRO
Details: Either be prepared to lose your children completely in the 37-foot main play structure or get an awesome workout trying to keep up with them! This is our family’s favorite metro-area indoor playground. The kids are entertained for hours running back and forth between the “peak” and the Great Hall, an activity room filled with balls, scooters and a bounce house. A small toddler area is included, but it’s tough to keep the littlest ones from straying into the massive “big kid” apparatus. Don’t forget the socks (or an extra $2.50 per pair)! Bonus: the lush indoor landscaping of Edinborough Park makes it feel like summer year-round.
Details: Large open space to do some serious large-motor play. A play structure, basketball court and soccer goals occupy much of the space plus there’s ample room for — get this — one of those jumping pillows adults usually must secretly eye wistfully from the sidelines. All ages are encouraged to play here, adults to the youngest users – who have a special spot reserved for them.
Details: This is the only remaining location in the Twin Cities of this national franchise. This indoor play area exclusively features giant inflatables — slides, obstacles, jumpers, and more. Pump It Up is well-known for its private birthday parties but also holds a number of open jump times mid-week.
Rainbow Play Systems | Bloomington
Pay to Play: Monday through Friday; 10am – 5pm.
Admission: Rates are $8 per child weekdays and $10 when school is not in session
Details: Pay to Play includes a 2-hour block of playtime on the showroom equipment. Expect the usual suspects – slides, swings, ropes and lookout towers – all on clean, forgiving turf.
Details: Cheerful and colorful, this indoor playground within the Williston Fitness Center is perfect for the 5-and-under set. There are slides to suit both toddlers and preschoolers including one of those fun triple-laners. The Williston Fitness Center also features an indoor splash pad with a zero-depth entry pool and frog waterslide. Please call for splash pad fees.
Open Play: Closed Indefinitely.
Details: More than 3,000 square feet of indoor playground featuring slides, crawl tubes, cargo climbs, bumper balls, log rollers, cave crawls, and more.
Open Play hours: Reopening at a later date.
Details: Newly expanded, this multi-level indoor playground at the Eden Prairie Community Center has a mini rock climbing wall and a space dedicated to toddlers. Socks required.
TWIN CITIES INDOOR PLAYGROUNDS - EAST METRO
Details: SkyZone is a blast (and a great workout!) at any age. Wall-to-wall trampolines, a bouncy basketball court, and a fly-in foam pit also are the makings of a great birthday party! Activities vary at each location.
Open Play hours: Mon-Fri: 9am-7pm, Sat/Sun: 9am-2pm. Passes must be pre-purchased online.
Admission: $8/day pass.
Discounts: Monthly passes available. Discounts for multiple children.
Details: Giggle Factory is a multi-level play structure with a spread of features including slides and a giant ball pit. There is a dedicated space for kiddos ages 3 years and under as well as space set aside for parents that need a breather. Note: While the website does not mention they are closed, pass links are not working and the playground’s Facebook page is down.
Open Play hours: Tue-Sun: 10am-6pm.
Admission: $8.50/Ages 3-12; $5/Age 1-2. Chaperone’s and siblings 1 and under Free.
Discounts: Combine the playground with the mini golf to save on both
Details: Thanks to our reader, Shawn for this recommendation of this “indoor playground and imaginative play center, as well as blacklight miniature golf.”
Open Play hours:
Monday-Thursday: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m.-noon
Admission: $5.50/all children (including under 1).
Details: It must be the nature theme of this indoor playground that has left a more peaceful impression on me than other similar tot spots. There are cliffs and caves to explore, a giant tree to scale, wildlife murals on the wall and faint echoes of nature throughout. I should note that there are areas designed for toddlers, but they are not partitioned off. Good luck keeping them from joining the big kids! Lookout Ridge also gets extra points in my book for being located in a multi-purpose building that includes a branch of the Washington County library, lush indoor landscaping, and the Central Park Amphitheater, a venue that features special live entertainment and movie nights.
TWIN CITIES INDOOR PLAYGROUNDS - NORTH METRO
Open Play hours:
Monday-Friday 9:00 am-8:00 pm
Saturday 9:00 am-5:00 pm
Sunday 11:00 am-5:00 pm
Admission: $6.50/child ages 1-12, adults and under 1 free. Twilight Special – $3.50 after 6pm Mon-Fri.
Details: Eagles Nest was completely in 2017. An adjacent gym traditionally offers preschool open playtime on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10.30am – 1.30pm.
Open Play hours:
Monday – Thursday: 10am – 8pm
Friday : 10am – 10pm
Saturday: 10am – 10pm
Sunday: 11am – 7pm
Admission: $5.95/3 hours (Play Zone only).
Discounts: Get a 10-Wristband Punch Card for $42.95
Details: While this Family Fun Center offers a variety of other activities for additional fees, the indoor playground is reasonably priced for regular visits. This area is exclusively for kids 11 and under and it requires socks for entrance. Socks are an additional $2, but can be reused.
Open Play hours: Mon-Sat 9am – 8pm, Sun 10am – 7pm.
Admission: $5.50/resident or $6.50/non-resident ages 1-12, adults and under 1 free.
Discounts: Twilight Special – $3 after 7pm Mon-Sat and Sun after 5pm. Discounts for Military & MERSC.
Details: A 2011 renovation punched up the fun at this community gathering place. When I last visited with toddlers, the area devoted to them was pretty ho-hum; new additions give them more options for climbing and sliding if they’re not yet up to braving the “big maze”. The major play structure received updates as well. Four levels of new slides and obstacles to navigate have been installed, including pogo sticks and – will someone please explain this one to me – hoover rings? Parents (and kids) with sensitive stomachs should beware the multi-story orange-and-yellow spiral tube slides! Learn more about Maple Maze and all the Maple Grove Community Center has to offer here.
Open Play hours: M, W, F: 8 – 9:45 am & 10 – 11:45 am.
Admission to playground only: $6/per child ages 1-12, adults free.
Details: This playground loses points for lacking a dedicated area for toddlers. There are some soft obstacles that might interest them, but it might be difficult to keep them out of the paths of older children. Preschoolers might have a great time climbing through the jungle-themed apparatus with its customary slides and caves. Make a day of visiting the Shoreview Community Center by hitting Tropics Indoor Waterpark (extra charges apply). There are interactive water features to suit every age: slides, sprinklers, water sports and a zero-depth entry pool.
MONKEY HOUSE | WHITE BEAR LAKE
Open Play hours: Tues-Fri 10am – 3pm, Sat-Sun 10am – noon. Closed Indefinitely.
Admission: $8.50/child over 1 year, up to 2 adults free with paid child.
Details: Joy gives us all the details here on visiting this 5,000-sq. ft. indoor playground. It includes some great information about Monkey House birthday parties as well.
TWIN CITIES INDOOR PLAY AREAS & PLAY SPACES
MINISOTA PLAY CAFE | MAPLE GROVE.
Open Play hours: 2021 hours are inconsistent, but they are updating hours on Google regularly. Open by reservation and limited walk-ins.
Admission: 1- 9 yrs $12.00; 6-12 months $5.00; 0- 6 months $0.00; Adult 1-drink minimum ($3+)
Details: The newest of indoor playgrounds, this café has a Minnesota-themed indoor play area combined with a café for adults. If you live near enough to visit often, a membership may be your best option.
Open Play hours: Mon-Thurs, 10am-3pm; Fri 10am-8:30pm; Sat-Sun, 9am-5pm. Discovery Center closed.
Admission: $8/child for unlimited play or $6/hr drop-off ($99.00 Unlimited Play Membership)
Details: Open-ended building time with LEGOS bricks, K’nex and other open-ended building materials. Drop-in play times can be a good compromise if you are sick of stepping on tiny plastic toys, but still want to encourage designing and building toys.
THE ATRIUM AT PLAYWORKS | PRIOR LAKE.
Family Play hours: Mon – Fri: 8am – 7pm, Sat/Sun: 9am – 7pm. Family Play is currently suspended. Childcare is still available.
Admission: $6.50-$9.50/child, adults & under 1 year free. A “Family Play Special” is available for $35 and includes admission for 2 children, 1 large cheese pizza, a pitcher of pop and 10 tokens.
Details: Families are welcome to drop in at this contract and hourly childcare facility for open Family Play daily. Family Play takes place in the “Atrium”, fully equipped with a giant climbing structure, interactive games, daily art projects and much more. A full menu is available in the Playworks Grill.
MEMBERSHIP-WORTHY INDOOR PLAY IDEAS
These venues may be off our daily radar because of price, but with membership, they become another (and possibly less crowded) FREE daily option.
MINNESOTA CHILDREN’S MUSEUM | SAINT PAUL.
Family Play hours: Sun-Thurs: 9am – 5pm, Fri-Sat: 9am – 8pm
Admission: $12.95/pp; Family Membership: $129/year
Details: This is one museum where kids are encouraged to be active. With exhibits like the scramble, kids are sure to be tired out by the time they are done. The downside is parking, but if you live close enough to bus, this is a pretty good deal.
CRAYOLA EXPERIENCE | MALL OF AMERICA
Family Play hours: Daily 11am-5pm
Admission: $21.99/pp; Family Membership: $99.99/year
Details: You wouldn’t think “indoor playground” when thinking about the Crayola Experience, but it has the Color Playground for bigger kids and a tot area as well as all the craft stations.
ROCKIN’ JUMP | EAGAN
Family Play Hours: Open Tuesday-Sunday
Admission: $15/hour; Family Membership: $14.99/pp/month – If you plan to jump more than once a month, this is totally worth it.
Details: There is so much to do at Rockin; Jump, everyone – including mom and dad – can go home tired!
Where Are They Now?
Unfortunately, some of our favorite indoor play spaces did not survive the shutdowns. We will sadly miss these venues:
- Brown Family Adventure Park | Ham Lake
Details: This family owned and operated playground closed in June of 2020. The equipment was passed on to a church camp. Read more here.
- Pinwheel Play | Chanhassen
Details: Pinwheel closed due to unforeseen expenses and the closures.
- Pump-It Up | Plymouth
Details: There is an Eden Prairie Location that remains open.
- InnerActive | Minnetonka
Details: There is an Moundsview Location that remains open.