10 Indoor Playspaces for the Smallest Philly Kids
Not playground weather? These 10 spots will keep your little ones happy all day long.
You envisioned it when you were becoming a parent: A sunny day pushing your UPPAbaby to the playground for a little Instagram-perfect bucket-swing action. But then summer hit, and you realized the playground feels 10 degrees hotter than everywhere else in the city, your toddler hates applying sunscreen, and also, why are slides made of eye-searingly shiny metal that becomes a burn hazard when the sun is out? Seriously, why? For days when it’s too hot, too cold, or just too … outdoors, here are 10 great indoor playspaces to hit up with your little ones for some drop-in, climate-controlled fun.
Playbrary, Grays Ferry
Let’s start with this year’s newest (and — in our opinion — best) addition to the playspace scene! Playbrary is a “loose parts” library, blending sustainability and creativity in a playspace that might have your kids building a trash monster with cardboard and bottle-caps one second and playing with a donated Barbie Dreamhouse the next. The sky’s the limit and admission is free. Note that Playbrary currently does not have weekend hours (except for on Second Saturdays), so be sure to check their website before you go.
Free, 1313 South 33rd Street, unit A.
A candy-colored IKEA aesthetic inside a formerly abandoned Fishtown “public baths” building. (Fun fact: The pool is still in the basement, but empty and non-functional.) Kids can play dress-up, climb, build, and explore 4,500 square feet of pint-sized fun. The playspace is currently only open on weekends because of their camp, preschool, and after-school programming.
$10 per person (including adults), 1241 North Front Street.
Kids at Play, East Falls
Significantly larger than its indoor-playspace counterparts, and with a larger age range, Kids at Play spans two floors with its indoor playground, ballpits, a zipline, archery, a toddler area, a sensory room and more. The 7,000-square-foot space was created with a dual purpose: a place to play; and a safe, fun place for kids with sensory issues and other developmental challenges to have access to therapy (Board-certified occupational, physical, and speech therapists are on staff.) Reservations are recommended to ensure space; they offer one-day passes as well as membership options.
$15 for drop-in (plus $5 for adults), 3502 Scotts Lane.
Kith + Kin, Brewerytown
This community space aimed at babies and kids under five has a selection of toys and play areas that are designed to inspire child-led exploration including sensory bins, a climbing structure, and an infant pod. Come for a single-day drop-in or opt for a 10-day play pass. It’s free for babies under six months.
$15 for drop-in (add $8 for siblings), 3060 West Jefferson Street.
Beehive at Bok, South Philly
Owners (and local parents) Rachel and Hugh Daulerio designed this cozy subterranean space to invite pretend-play with a “rowhome” area, movement with climbing structures, and sensory exploration with a variety of surfaces. The colorful mural by Steph Kimmel doesn’t hurt, either. Because they’re currently running Camp Beehive during the week, drop-in play is limited to weekends for now. Check their schedule for open play and other classes. Buy a 10-day open-play pack for $100, or select a longer-term membership option.
$10 for open play (based on $100 10-pack), 1901 S. 9th Street.
Lilypad, South Philly
Another South Philly option, Lilypad offers open play based on age group throughout the week, as well as new-parent meetups. Bonus: They’re also the people behind the popular semi-annual City Kids consignment sale, and have recently extended that endeavor to the all-year Lilypad Thrift shop that you can visit in their basement space three days a week (plus monthly sidewalk sales). Your first visit to play at Lilypad is free, and then drop-ins are $5-$10 per family (or $100 for an annual membership).
$5-$10, 1234 South Broad Street.
Nest, Midtown Village
Head downstairs to Nest’s 3,000-square-foot indoor playground that’s great for babies through pre-schoolers. There’s a giant “treehouse” with a slide, a pre-walker zone for babies, and much more for imaginative play all day. Nest offers single-day drop-in admission as well as monthly membership with unlimited playspace visits.
$25 for drop-in (add $5 for siblings), 1301 Locust Street.
Lulu’s Casita, Ardmore and West Chester
Owner Vivi Zayas named her cozy Ardmore playspace after her daughter when she opened it in 2013, envisioning a community-building place where families could gather and grow up together. Kids under six can jump in the ball pit, enjoy bilingual storytimes and music circles, and play the day away (while their parents can grab a coffee at the on-site café). In 2018, Zayas expanded to a second location in West Chester. You can come play on a drop-in basis or opt for a monthly or annual membership.
$12 for drop-in (plus $8 for siblings); 6 Cricket Avenue, Ardmore; and 109 North High Street, West Chester
Charming Star Playroom, Newtown Square
Kids six and under love this colorful space for its nearly-4,000 square feet featuring sensory walls, a dress-up station, a puppet theater, climbing equipment, ball pits, and lots of toys.
$12.50 for three-hour open play, 4627 West Chester Pike.
Smith Playground(’s Playhouse), Fairmount Park
Everyone knows the outdoor wonderland that is Smith Memorial Playground, what with its 6.5 acres of fun and its over-a-century-old giant wooden slide. But, fresh off its extensive two-year renovation, the 16,000-square-foot Playhouse is a destination in its own right. It now has a dedicated infant-and-toddler space, a makerspace, themed activities, a library, and much more. Note that Smith is currently closed on Mondays.
Free (donations welcome), 3500 Reservoir Drive.