If the weather reports hold true, the coming days are going to be scorchers. Sure, I’m all for that fresh Colorado air and outdoor fun. But, when facing triple digit temperatures, maybe you need a cool escape. This list of indoor play areas around Denver should come in handy.
I’ve included all sorts of activities, some free and some with an admission fee. For some of the pricier attractions, I noted if there’s a Groupon available (and you should always check Groupon yourself for those not marked, as new Groupons pop up from time to time).
This list is by no means comprehensive as there are a gazillion spots across the metro area. Know of something that should be in the list? Just email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Malls and Stores with Play Areas
Barnes & Noble: Stores typically have trains, games or blocks set out for kids or they can look at books. Area stores all host story times and special events.
Bricks & Minifigs: This store buys, sells and trades in new and used LEGO products. There are five large tables full of Lego pieces to play with, a small play table with Duplo blocks for the little ones and a “Minifig Maker” spot where kids can assemble their own Lego mini figure from thousands of parts. It’s free to play. You are charged only if you buy something or if the kids wants to take their creation home. 8966 W. Bowles Ave. Unit V (across from Southwest Plaza), Littleton.
Cherry Creek Shopping Center: The Denver Museum of Nature & Science Dinosaur Gulch children’s play area is on the lower level in front of Macy’s and is good for kids up to 42 inches tall. It closes from 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. every day for cleaning. Remember: There is a charge for parking. The first hour is free, up to 2 hours is $3, up to 3 hours is $4 and each additional hour is $2.
IKEA Centennial: Småland is a free supervised play area filled with toys and games to leave your potty-trained children between 37 inches and 52 inches tall. Plus, the ginormous store has various children’s play areas throughout.
LEGO Store at Colorado Mills: LEGO lovers can play at a LEGO table set up inside the store, as well as try other hands-on activities.
LEGO Store at Park Meadows: LEGO lovers can play at a LEGO table set up inside the store, as well as try other hands-on activities.
REI Denver: The outdoor gear retailer’s flagship store in downtown Denver has a children’s play area. 1416 Platte St., Denver.
Free Play Areas and Activities
Apex Clubhouse Adventure Playground: The multi-level “treehouse” play area at Arvada’s Apex Center is “paradise” for kids ages 1 to 10. There are tubes, ladders, slides, simulated water features and much more. Children ages 7 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Even though all other activities at Apex Center carry a fee, the Adventure Playground is free and open to all — even those who do not live in the district. 13150 W. 72nd Ave., Arvada.
Chick-fil-A: Just about every location (if not, all) have an enclosed play area where kids can climb and slide. Outside of each play area is bin full of Purell wipes, so little hands can stay clean before and after playtime.
Libraries: Most local libraries have a children’s area with toys, games, puzzles and other fun activities, plus story times for all ages. Even better, librarians no longer “shush” noisy kids (or kids at heart).
Lookout Mountain Nature Center: A super way to connect with the natural world on top of Lookout Mountain. Offers a hands-on play room with tons of activities and observatory.
McDonald’s Indoor PlayPlace: More than a dozen locations in the metro area house indoor PlayPlaces. You’ll spend a little on lunch or a drink, but you have to eat anyway. When you use the “restaurant locator”, be sure to click on “Show More” and then check the “Indoor PlayPlace” box to find the restaurant closest to you.
Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus: The museum lets kids do it all from scrambling up a 3 1/2 story climber and stepping inside a 6-foot bubble to creating a rainstorm and climbing into the driver’s seat of a real retired Denver Fire Department truck. Tickets are $11 to $13. Memberships available. 2121 Children’s Museum Dr., Denver.
CU Museum of Natural History: Has everything from dinosaur fossils to cool current scientific research. The Discovery Corner is a hands-on exhibit for young children and their favorite adults to explore together. Touch real museum specimens, play with puppets, color pictures, and read books. Admission is free (a donation of $3 for adults and $1 for children/seniors is appreciated). Henderson Building, 15th & Broadway, Boulder.
WOW! Children’s Museum: The museum offers story times, hands-on science activities and performances. Kids can pretend to be a pirate, milk a cow, shop the supermarket, create ginormous bubbles, practice their medical skills in The Little Clinic and much more. Admission is free for children under 1, $9 for ages 1 to 11 and $5 for adults. Memberships available. 110 N. Harrison Ave., Lafayette.
Big Time Fun Center in Westminster: Designed for both adults and kids with 50 ft floor-level gymnastic tumbling tracks (basketball and dodgeball included), wrecking ball, playground for smaller children, extreme Ninja obstacle courses, pool tables and arcade games. Daily admission ranges from $11 to $14. Weekly, monthly and annual memberships available. Open Sunday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. 8430 N. Federal Blvd., Westminster.
Bounce City in Aurora: Filled with gigantic inflatable play structures including castles, slides and obstacle course. Special toddler area. Designed for pre-walker and children between the ages of 2 to 12. Open viewing area for parents. All-day admission so you can come and go. Walkers to age 2 is $6, age 3 to 10 is $8. Parents and crawlers are free. Open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Inside Town Center at Aurora.
GameWorks Denver: Houses more than 160 games and 210 player stations including video games, pinball machines, electro-mechanical games, redemption games, merchandisers and air hockey tables. Also home to the largest, split-level laser tag arena in the Front Range. Opens daily at 11 a.m. Check site for Current Deals. Located in the Shops at Northfield Stapleton. Groupon available.
Java Mama in Firestone. It’s a coffee shop and a play space. Filled with toys that encourage gross motor development, social interaction, creative play and sensory stimulation for kids 5 and under. Supervised play with experienced caregivers Monday to Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., but kids can play all day with parents watching. Prices start at $7.50 for the first child. 8350 Colorado Blvd., Unit 180, Firestone.
Jump City in Westminster: Offers trampolines, bounce castle, laser tag, slack line, rock climbing and more. Check website for prices which vary by day and the jumper’s age. 9979 Wadsworth Pkwy., Westminster. Groupon available.
Jumpoline Family Fun Center: Filled with innovative trampolines. Opens at 10 a.m. every day. Closes at 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, midnight on Friday & Saturday. Check website for prices which vary by day and the jumper’s age. 15380 E. Hampden Ave., Aurora. Groupon available.
Lava Island in Aurora: An indoor park with 15,000 square feet of trampolines, 23 themed climbing walls, and 21,000 square feet of ladders, slides and mazes. Open Sunday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday & Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tickets $15 per activity. 452 Sable Blvd., Aurora.
Little Monkey Bizness Parker: Play areas feature inflatable obstacle course, jumps and slides, special toddler area, play structures and more. 6 months to 2 years is $7, children 3 years and older cost $10.50. Parents get in free for open play. Check website for hours. 10430 S. Progress Way, Parker.
Little Monkey Bizness Westminster: Play areas feature inflatable obstacle course, jumps and slides, special toddler area, play structures and more. Walkers 2 and younger are $7.25, Crawlers are $5.25, children ages 3 to 8 cost $10.25. Parents get in free for open play. Check website for hours. 14693 Orchard Pkwy.,Westminster.
Miller Activity Complex (MAC) in Castle Rock: This is a huge, two-story facility housing an indoor leisure pool with slide, zero-entry section, water table and vortex whirlpool. Also batting cages, children’s play structure with 23-foot-tall slide, BEAM interactive floor games, 18-hole golf simulator, indoor full-sized synthetic field, trampoline with 16 trampoline beds and a lounge with LEGO table and train table. Daily admission is $6 to $7 for adults, depending on your place of residency. Discounts for children and seniors. Extra fees to use trampoline, batting cages and golf simulator. Open Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. 1375 W. Plum Creek Pkwy., Castle Rock.
Monkey Bizness Centennial: Play areas feature inflatable obstacle course, slides, climbing walls, bouncers, toddler and infant areas, jungle gyms, play structures and more. 12 to 23 months is $6.25, 24 months to 18 years is $9.75. Parents get in free for open play. Check website for hours. 9950 East Easter Ave. Ste. 200, Centennial.
SkyZone in Arvada: This trampoline center features a Foam Zone, obstacle course, wall-to-wall trampolines, jousting, aerial basketball, trampoline dodgeball and Toddler Zone. Check website for hours and prices which vary by day, time and the jumper’s age. 7330 W. 52nd. Ave., Arvada.
SkyZone in Parker: This trampoline center features a Foam Zone, wall-to-wall trampolines, aerial basketball and volleyball and trampoline dodgeball. Check website for hours and prices which vary by day, time and the jumper’s age. 9851 S. Parker Rd., Parker.
Spider Monkey: Has 50,000 square-feet of connected trampolines (60 tramps in all), plus a Ninja obstacle course, slackline, trapeze, aerial silks and foam pits. Check website for prices which vary by day and the participant’s age. You can sometimes get discounts (such as $1 off a flight ticket) if you join its email, Facebook or Instagram groups. 1400 S. Abilene St., Aurora.
Apex Center: Houses a 23,000 square feet Indoor Water Park with multiple pools, water slides, a vortex, “beach” play area and lap pool. Daily admission is $6 to $8.25 for adults, depending on your place of residency. Discounts for children and seniors. Admission includes use of the entire Apex Center and activities except ice skating. 13150 W. 72nd Ave., Arvada.
Lone Tree Recreation Center: Boasts an 88-foot body/tube water slide, leisure pool with lazy river, spray features, children’s slide, basketball hoop and hot tub. Daily admission is $5.75 to $7.75 for adults, depending on your place of residency. Discounts for children and seniors. Punch cards and a Household Pass (2 adults and 3 children) also available. 10249 Ridgegate Circle, Lone Tree.
Ridge Recreation Center: Has a body flume slide with splash-down area, current channel, floor geysers, bubble bench and children’s play structure with tot slide. Daily pool admission is $5.25 to $7.25 for adults, depending on your place of residency. Discounts for children and seniors. 6513 S. Ward St., Littleton.
Trails Recreation Center: Facility has leisure pool with lazy river, lap pool, activity pool, water slides and hot tub. Daily admission is $5.50 to $7.50 for adults, depending on your place of residency. Discounts for children and seniors. 16799 E. Lake ave., Centennial.
Wheat Ridge Recreation Center: Indoor pool has water slides, fountains, tumble buckets, a “river” for tubing, as well as a dedicated area for lap swimmers. Bring your own towels and lock for a locker. Daily admission is $5 to $6.50 for adults, depending on your place of residency. Discounts for children and seniors. 4005 Kipling St., Wheat Ridge.