When the weather is horrible outside, come play at these top Indoor Play Areas for Kids in Baltimore and have a boatload of family fun! Updated and Expanded for 2017!
Baby, it’s cold outside! Ok, maybe it hasn’t been that cold this year. However, at some point the weather will likely become gross and you and your kids will not want to play outside.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a go-to list of play options that both you and your kids will love?
Well, lucky for you, there are so many great options for indoor fun when the weather is too cold, rainy, or even hot. Sweet Pea and I have been to many of these places and we can recommend all of them. So, don’t let the weather get you down. Go forth and have a blast with these indoor play ideas for Fun Things to Do With Kids in Maryland.
Indoor Play Venues: Fun Things to Do With Kids in the Baltimore Area
Note: These are all options that are suitable for kids 5 years old and under. Additionally, the hours vary between weekend and weekday play times. I tried to note if there was a significant difference for weekend play times.
- Storyville– The Baltimore County Public Library has two branches of this amazing children’s library, one in Woodlawn and the other is Rosedale. If your child is under 5 years old, you have to check out Storyville. Your kids could easily spend a few hours playing here. Check out my blog post about our experience here.
- Be With Me Playseum– located in Bethesda, this children’s museum is billed as a place where ‘kids create and parents relate.’ There are numerous city shop rooms where kids can get involved with hands on activities (some with additional fees) like decorating a cupcake, paint on a plexi-glass wall, or get a kid manicure. Also, the Playseum boasts one of the best Storytelling hours in the area.
- Robinson Nature Center– Howard County’s amazing nature center is a great place to visit when the weather is ‘not nice’ outside. We have enjoyed visiting numerous times throughout the year. Click here for my review of the nature center. There are tons of hands-on activities for young children including many hands-on nature exhibits, an interactive Forest Canopy walk through, and a Children’s Discovery Room that is complete with aquariums, books and puzzles, pretend play opportunities, and other opportunities to get interactive with nature. Additionally, there are a number of upcoming family friendly events you will not want to miss. Check the website for more information on the following special events:
- First Saturday Discovery Days
- Winter Wednesday Puppet Theatre
- Star Storytelling (in the NatureSphere digital planetarium)
- Lil’ Acorns Penguin Parade (January 21st)
- Lil’ Acorns Hibernation (February 18th)
- Frozen Fest (January 22th)
- Winter Crisp Nature Walk With Campire Treats (February 4th)
- Snow Ball Tea Party (February 19th)
- Watkins Park and Nature Center– This fantastic nature center in Prince Georges County has a lot of fantastic activities that would appeal to young children. There is an indoor pond, many live animal exhibits, puppets, and other interactive exhibits. The center also has a number of great events including:
- Seasonal puppet shows
- Live animal shows
- Nature craft
- Play ‘N Learn Playground Superstores– There are two locations for this indoor playground showroom. However, at the one in Columbia, MD, kids can play for up to 2 hours on the weekends for $8. You can read about our experience here. This is a great option for burning energy on a rainy day.
- Port Discovery– Talk about bringing out the big guns. It is hard to beat Port Discovery for best indoor play venues in the area. I mean, come on.. there is a three-story playground right in the middle of the museum. Maybe that is one of the reasons Port Discovery is consistently rated as one of the best children’s museums in the nation. You can read my review of the museum here.
- Maryland Science Center– Not to be overshadowed by its neighbor down the road (Port Discovery), the Maryland Science Center is one of the two ‘crown jewels’ of the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. You can read my review here. However, the bottom line is that I hesitated going to the Science Center because I thought it wasn’t age appropriate. Boy was I wrong. This museum can easily entertain a preschooler for an entire day. There is an area especially for young children, a planetarium that shows kid-friendly shows, and many other great, interactive exhibits.
- Walter’s Art Museum– Are you intimidated by the idea of bringing your child to an art museum? Well, the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore makes it an easy choice. Not only is the museum free (so, no big investment), but on the weekends, they host Drop-in Art Activities for Children, where kids can create art. Additionally, most weekends the museum hold ArtKids Preschool programs that feature an interactive art, storytime, and hands-on session.
- American Visionary Art Museum– Speaking of kid-friendly art museums, AVAM is quirky and fun for kids of all ages (there is actually an exhibit where kids can push a fart button.. no lie). However, on select weekends this season, they will host Weekend Walk-In, a hands-on art exhibit where you get to make (and keep) art. Here is their line-up:
- January 7: Fake Food Factory
- February 4: Cosmic Egg
- March 11: Food-O-Rama
- April 8, May 13, June 3: Recycled Bot Shop
- Baltimore Museum of Art– This art museum in the heart of Baltimore really tries to cater to families. There is a family audio tour and family activity guides you can pick up. Also, the BMA holds Free Family Sunday events pretty much every Sunday afternoon. Upcoming events will give kids the chance to make paper crowns, sculpt animals, create a collage, and much more!
- The Play Cafe– If you have little kids (4 and under), you can’t do much better than a visit to the Play Cafe in Baltimore. Tucked away in the heart of Hampden (seriously, it is right across the street from 34th Street!), the cafe caters to parents with toddlers and preschoolers. The back half of the cafe is a playroom filled with toys, games, and books your kids will love playing with. the rest of the cafe is.. a cafe. So, you can sit and grab coffee while your kiddos play. If you want to eat, there is not only the best kid’s menu I think I have ever seen, but the grown-up food options are yummy too (I ordered a delicious grilled Nutella and strawberry panini)!
- Peace A Pizza Catonsville– Speaking of kid friendly AND Mom and Dad friendly, if you haven’t checked out Peace a Pizza in Catonsville, they are fantastic. Other than a chalkboard corner, there isn’t much by way of kid activities– even though the pizza is great, as is the ice cream from the adjoining bakery and ice cream shoppe. However, Peace A Pizza regularly hosts special event nights like Pizza and Pajamas or craft nights.
- National Aquarium– This amazing aquarium is a bit pricey, but if you are looking for a nice way to treat your kids and educate them at the same time, they will be mesmerized here. There are hands-on touch pools, a HUGE tank which houses tons of marine wildlife, a dolphin habitat, and the super cool buy super spooky black tip reef (Sharks!). You can read my review of the Aquarium here.
- Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (Dulles Air and Space Museum)- Talk about HUGE! Ok, seriously… your kids, even your young kids, will be absolutely enthralled by a visit to this museum. It is a bit of a hike from the Baltimore area (about an hour on a Saturday morning), but totally worth it. Your kids will get to see a space shuttle, as well as hundreds of other airplanes. These hangars are enormous. To read my review click here.
- The Creative Cow in Forest Hill, MD (Harford County)- A reader told me about this place and I cannot wait to check it out! The Creative Cow is a drop-in arts, crafts, and activities studio for kids. They are mainly open during the week. However, there are special events. For instance, Messy Monday (with times during the day and at night) where kids (ages 9 months to 24 months) can get a little crazy with exploring art materials. They also host special events during major holiday times and even a storytime.
- Skyzone– Trampoline parks are great fun for kids of all ages. There are toddler specific jump times during the week, but even on the weekends, the staff segregates jumpers based on height and weight.
- Pump it Up– Bounce Houses are a no-brainer for indoor fun. Get on the email list for this very popular bounce house to be informed about when they have weekend open bounce availability.
- North Arundel Aquatic Center– If your kids are itching for the summer fun of pool play, why not take them to this indoor Water Park? Here is the catch– the North Arundel Aquatic Center does not allow swim diapers at all. Your kids have to be fully potty trained. So, this option is better for kids about age 3 and up.
- Hoppers Kid Zone– Another great bounce house option located in Eldersburg. I actually kind of like this bounce house better because it is less crowded (much less crowded). Sign up for updates on their website as well. Also, you can read my review of Hopper’s here.
- B&O Railroad Museum– Ok, I am just going to come out and say it. This is the PERFECT time to visit the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore. Forget about Thomas the Train. If you want to have a low stress, high fun experience with your kids, check out this great museum now. You can read more about the museum here. Also, on February 16 and 18, the museum will hold Pirate Days.
- Kiddie Crusoe– There are two locations for this amazingly kid-friendly indoor playground– Timonium and Belcamp. Indoor fun activities include a Kiddie City Play Arena, Inflatable Bounce Area, Ultimate Playset Arena, and Gaming Stations. Additionally, Monday and Tuesdays are specifically designed to cater to toddlers and preschoolers.
- Go Bowling With Your Kids!- I didn’t even consider this possibility until my 4-year old was invited to a birthday party at a bowling alley. Bowling alley’s can cater to younger kids, but you will have to check with the specific bowling alley near you. Some area bowling alley’s include: Greenway Bowl in Odenton, Brunswick Zone in Columbia and Ellicott City, Stoneleigh Lanes in Baltimore (Duck Pin Bowling), and AMF with locations in Timonium, Dundalk, College Park, Linthicum Heights, Laurel.
- Rollerskating– If your child is more preschool than toddler, rollerskating could also be a fun option. I have not been brave enough to try this with my daughter yet, but when I do I will likely go to Skate Zone in Crofton. Skate Zone has a special Tot Rock ‘n Roll public skating session every Monday from 10AM-12PM. It is designed for kids age 6 and under.
- The Original Playhouse Children’s Museum– I had not heard about this sweet little museum until recently. Now I can’t wait to take Sweet Pea to play here! The museum is not open for play on Saturdays, but it is open on Sunday afternoons. It features art, engineering, water play, nature play, pretend play, and reading areas.
- The Building Museum– There is a lot for young children to do at this DC museum. Young kids will really get into the Building Zone. Museum goers can also build an arch in the Amazing Arches exhibit, and can sign out Family Tool Kits with fun family activities. February 18th is their not-to-be-missed Family Engineering Day. We went last year and it was absolutely a blast! You can read my review of the museum here.
- Children’s Music Concerts- There are a number of local orchestras that offer children’s/young people’s concerts in the upcoming months. Here are a few of the highlights:
- Columbia Orchestra Young People’s Concert: February 20th
- Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Music Box Concert Series: Aimed at ages 3 and younger. March 26th and April 1st (Bugs)
- Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Family Concerts: for kids age 4 and up. March 4th (Animated Orchestra), April 22nd (Beethoven’s Nifty Numbers)
- Glen Echo Park- There are a few options for kid-friendly indoor fun at Glen Echo Park. You can see a show at their renowned Puppet Co. or at the awesome children’s Adventure Theatre. Upcoming shows at the Puppet Co. include Goldilocks, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Cinderella, and upcoming shows at the Adventure Theatre include Ella Enchanted and Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp. Don’t miss the Aquarium, which features touch tanks and other live animal exhibits.
- Natural History Museum– Out of all the Smithsonian museums on the National Mall, I think the Natural History Museum is the most fun for kids. It is worth a trip for the Hall of Mammals and Ocean Hall alone. The National Fossil Hall is closed until 2019 (bummer), but another highlight for kids is the Live Butterfly Exhibit.
- DC Air and Space Museum– If you are planning a trip to DC, you have to consider a trip to this great kid-friendly museum on the National Mall as well! It is smaller than the Air and Space Museum by the Dulles Airport, but it is completely full iconic American aerospace treasures.
- Busy Bees– I seriously cannot wait to take Sweet Pea to this indoor playground in Falls Church, VA. It looks like so much fun! I heard about it via a review from Capitol Momma. You can read her review here.
- Home Depot Kids Workshops– Every first Saturday of the month, Home Depot offers free (!!!) hands-on kids workshops.
- Michael’s Kids Club– Every Saturday, Michael’s Craft Stores offers cute craft projects for kids for only $2. Upcoming projects include fingerprint snowmen and kindness boxes.
- The Swellness Center– This playspace is absolutely delightful. You pay a flat rate and your kids can just.. play! There are various centers and rooms dedicated to arts and crafts, pretend play, ride-on toys, dress-up, and building. Typically the Swellness Center hours are weekdays, but occasionally they hold special play events in the evenings or on weekends.
- Climbzone– I have it on good authority that this place rocks! Not only that, but apparently there is plenty to do for kids of all ages and even relatively young kids (age 2 and up) can climb safely here. This is a popular destination and I would highly recommend making a reservation if you plan to play here.
So, there you go! I hope you have a great time exploring all the fantastic indoor play areas in the Baltimore and DC area!
And who knows, maybe there will be a snow day at some point as well.
Thanks for reading!
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