After a whirlwind week of trampolines, ball pits, inflatable slides and supersized blocks, my 3-year-old son and I now have the inside scoop on four new indoor play areas in the Seattle area. Lifesavers, blessings, great ideas .... call them what you will, but we all need spots like these when the dark, dreary days drag on.
Located in Bellevue’s Crossroads Mall, WiggleWorks is built on the Yu Kids PlaySystem from BLD Oriental Ltd, and the Pacific Northwest’s only indoor, entirely soft play area specifically designed for kiddos under 48” in height. The key word here? Movement. The majority of the playground structures moves, providing little ones with plenty of opportunity to run, swing, hop, play and, well…wiggle!
The space isn’t huge, but it’s jammed pack with fun stuff. By the time they’re done here, kiddos should be begging for a nap! For the wee wigglers, there’s a small play area separate from the main structures. My three-year-old’s absolute favorite spot is the balloon room — it’s so fun to watch him and the other kids (static hair standing up on end) race around, trying to catch the brightly colored balloons.
The space is well-designed, brightly colored, spotless and very parent-friendly. A high counter surrounds the play area, welcoming caregivers to sit and watch the kids play, hop online with free Wi-Fi or sip on a latte. Snacks and water available for a price, and parents are welcome to bring their own. The party room towards the back is spacious and includes a kitchen, making for a great birthday venue.
Tips: Bring socks; they must be worn at all times (WiggleWorks sells them of you forget). Though you can’t make reservations, you can put yourself on a wait list before you head to WiggleWorks -- call call ahead to check. (And yes, due to its popularity, there is often a wait list.)
Hours: Monday–Saturday 9 a.m.–9 p.m. Sunday 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
Price: For $10 per child ($8 per sibling), kiddos can play all day long. One mom sandwiched her son’s haircut between wiggle time at WiggleWorks.
Pair with: Crossroads Mall offers a ton to see and do in itself, from international cuisine and live music to old-fashioned coin-operated rides. And my personal favorite — Half-Price books!
Enormous. Colossal. Over-the-top. These are some of the adjectives that might pop into one’s mind as you enter Elevated Sportz, Bothell’s new indoor trampoline park. The huge recreational facility houses not only trampolines (we’re talking more than one!), but also a large foam pit, a four-level soft play structure, snack bar and party rooms. Admission is divided by the two separate areas; the Trampoline Courts (ages 3 and up); and Kidz Adventure (ages walking through 10). Guests are able to purchase combo tickets for entry into both areas. Elevated Sportz offers activities from trampoline dodge ball and basketball, physical training and special events such as jump parties with live DJs, family & friends nights, aerobics classes ... you get the idea.
Geared towards children ages walking through 10, the Kidz Adventure area boasts a 6,300 square-foot soft structure that features four levels of climbing, swinging, sliding and spinning. From highlights like side-by-side slides (perfect for racing), obstacle courses and spinner swings, it’s a terrific space for burning off energy. Upon entering the play area, my son immediately made a friend; another little boy, with whom he spent the next 20 minutes playing chase throughout the tunnel mazes and racing down the slides.
If you have toddlers, there’s a smaller area with a little slide and ball pit, but generally speaking, it may be a wise idea to visit Kidz Adventure during Toddler Time (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 10 a.m.-noon), as the age range for this area is wide and potential of getting knocked over by a bigger child is high.
The main floor provides picnic tables, arcade games and a snack bar (pizza, soft pretzels and smoothies). There are also party rooms available with full-service packages for kids (and adults!).
Tips: It can get cold, so bring some extra sweaters for the kiddos (or yourself). Trampolines are to be used with no socks or the special grip socks they sell for $2. Socks are required on Kidz Adventure. Since it can get pricey if you want to do both trampolines and Kidz Adventure, purchase the combo ticket, or plan to make your visit during a day/time that offers a special combo package. And for the most important tip: Fill out the electronic waiver online before you go. This can save you a long wait in line and speed up your entry (hint- more time for fun).
Hours: Monday–Thursday and Sunday, 10 a.m.–9p.m.; Friday–Saturday 10 a.m.–10 p.m.
Pricing: Kidz Adventure: $11 for 90 minutes; trampolines: $11 for 60 minutes. Combo tickets (ages 3-10 only): weekdays $15 for 90 minutes; weekends $17 for 90 minutes.
If your kiddos like building blocks, they’re going to love Imagination Playground (originally named Playground in a Box), a set of blue supersized foam pieces that are housed at the Belltown Community Center in Seattle. They are perfect for imaginative play. Children ages 2 and up become little builders and creators, taking the lead and constructing (and deconstructing!) everything from play forts to mazes.
Kids are encouraged to work as a team to construct their ideas and bring their creative visions to life! When we went, my son became quickly determined to construct the longest, curviest, most intricate, coolest path for the handful of balls that’s included in the play area. He’d drop a ball down a curved block and watch it twist and turn down his creation (with a huge, proud grin on his face).
For babies and crawlers, there’s a space just for them next door. The Community Center is a clean, well designed space; a nice urban oasis for Seattle rainy days.
Tips: There’s no snack bar here, so stock up your diaper bag with goldfish, grapes, water, whatever!
Hours: Playground in a Box: Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays 9:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.; Wednesdays 3-8 p.m. It may travel in the future, so check the Belltown Community Center website or call to confirm.
Infant Room: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. 10 a.m.–2 p.m., Wednesday & Friday, 3:30–7:30 p.m.
Pricing: $3 for playground. ($2 drop-in fee for use of the infant room).
Pair with: Midtown Espresso and Top Pot Doughnuts are both just down the street (on 5th) from Belltown Community Center. For a special treat, check out the Seattle Glass Blowing Studio (also on 5th), and watch the Monorail glide overhead (what kid doesn’t like that?).
Looking for an indoor play space that offers more than just a chance for kiddos to run around? Check out Great Play of Redmond. Its interactive classes are based on the SCORE™ Method (Successes Continually Reinforced and Extended), where learning is individualized and more predictable, creating an opportunity for success and a sense of self-confidence.
The curriculum engages kids ranging from six months to age 10 in programs uniquely created for each stage of development, teaching basics like hand eye coordination, motor skills, balance and of course, FUN!
The coaches are involved and engaging, referring to each kiddo by name and helping to get everyone participating. The Interactive Arena features a half-dozen projectors plus a surround sound system, bringing the gym to life through interactive games and visuals. Whether it’s playing along with Buddy, the animated mascot, trying a round at Knock a Bottle or showing off dance moves during a Zumba class, there’s a continuously evolving variety of activities to experience, plus birthday parties, created and planned to individual taste.
Another much-loved special event is the Parent’s Night Out/Kid’s Pajama Party, a drop-off program for kids ages 3-8.
Tips: Classes always start on time, so be sure to arrive a few minutes early.
Hours: Check here for class schedule; Great Play also offers scheduled open play times for kiddos that are members of a class.
Pricing: Programs range from $70-$325, with add-ons for siblings. There are 4-, 8- and 20-week enrollment plans, each offered for a different price. Programs run continuously so you can start anytime.
Pair with: Great Play is located in Redmond Square, just across from the Redmond Town Center. After cheering your kids on, head over to RTC for some shopping or a bit to eat!
More ideas for indoor play
About the author: A born and raised Seattle girl, Allison spent her “early years” satisfying her wanderlust and now lives in Kirkland with her husband, 3-year-old son and (most would say) too many pets. A freelance writer, serious coffee lover (who isn’t?) and jogging stroller enthusiast, Allison loves to get out and explore her city, especially through the eyes of her child. Find more of her stories on her blog, Seattle Travel Mom. She took all the photos for this article.