Top 22 toddler playgrounds in LA, NYC and Houston

Let us bring you around the best 22 toddler playgrounds

By Ashley N. Johnson
Top 22 toddler playgrounds in LA, NYC and Houston

Home is where you park it

Whether you are looking to visit or relocate to a major US city, if you are bringing young children along you are going to need to be in the know about the various places you can take them to play.  You'll be pleased to know that finding a place where your child can blow off some steam is an easy task in most of the major metropolitan areas in the US.

This is in part because a portion of US taxpayer dollars goes toward creating and maintaining public parks.  Many of these parks have amenities such as playgrounds, bathrooms, water fountains, shelters, and dog parks, depending on the area. There are also indoor parks owned by the National Park Service (NPS). However, not all playgrounds are government owned,  as there are indoor and outdoor playgrounds that are privately owned and operated.  

Best list of indoor toddler playgrounds in LA, NYC and Houston

We all love to play outside when the weather allows, but even in the most temperate climates in the United States, the elements can interfere with plans to frolic and play with your little ones under a cloudless sky.  There are numerous indoor play options in the major US cities where kids can play for free, or for a nominal admission fee.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California is located on America's Golden Coast, named not only for the historical "Gold Rush" of early settlers and pioneers, but also for the usual sunny daily forecast.  The temperature in Los Angeles holds steady between 65 and 75 degrees most days of the year, and there really isn't a great deal of rainfall.  However, despite the usually beautiful weather, there are certainly reasons to find an indoor play area in this city.  Smog, wildfires, hot summer days, and chilly nights are a few. 

1. The Awesome Playground

@theawesomeplayground / Instagram

Indoor Playground | Highland Park

This indoor playground features shoe free areas for climbing, bouncing, and craft classes.  Great for kids of all ages, but especially toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarten-aged children. 

 

Find them at: 
5158 York Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90042

2. Kiddie City

@kiddiecityla / Instagram

Kiddie City website

Located in the Leimert Park neighborhood, Kiddie City is a fun zone for kids ages 6 months to 7 years old. When you bring your kids to this indoor play area they can enjoy playground equipment, dress up play, themed areas like a kitchen and firehouse, and even take an art or music class. 

Find them at:
Leimert Park, 3818A Crenshaw Blvd
Los Angeles, California 90008

3. Peekaboo Playland

Peekaboo Playland

With locations in Bel Air and Eagle Rock, Peekaboo Playland is a popular indoor play destination for SoCal families and visitors alike. Both locations are divided into rooms by activity and age.  The Bel Air location even has a lovely terrace where Mom can relax and enjoy the sunshine while the kiddos play.  Note: this attraction is closed on Saturdays and Sundays except for private parties, so plan your visit accordingly. 

Find them at:
Peekaboo Playland Eagle Rock
2030 Colorado Boulevard • Los Angeles, CA 90041 
or
Peekaboo Playland Bel Air
2321 Roscomare Road • Los Angeles, CA 90077 

4. Apex for Kids

@apex_for_kids / Instagram

Active Play Experience for Kids

Apex is a gymnasium-style indoor play place for kids of all ages.  Parties and classes are also available. Complete with monkey bars, climbing ladders, tumbling mats, and trampolines, your kids are sure to get their exercise and gross motor play here.

Find them at:

11339 Santa Monica Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90025

5. The Playroom

@theplayroomvalley / Instagram

The Playroom

Located just outside of Los Angeles in Sherman Oaks, CA, The Playroom is a popular choice for locals with kids. Complete with ball pits, bouncy houses, and a mini rollercoaster, this is the perfect find for the five and under crowd. 

Find them at:
14392 Ventura Blvd.,  
Sherman Oaks, CA 91432

NYC

Located in the Northeast corner of the United States, New York City (NYC) is one of the most bustling cities in the entire world.  It has famously been named "the city that never sleeps", which is a testament to the always busy hum of the place.  There are extremes of all walks of life coexisting 24/7 in this city, and the weather follows the same pattern.  NYC has very hot summers, possibly exacerbated by the fact that most of the city is comprised of hot pavement.  The other extreme is the bitter, bone-chilling cold of a NYC winter.

6. The Playroom NYC

Photo credit: kidzcentralstation.com

@theplayroomnyc / Instagram

The Playroom NYC

The Playroom NYC is open 7 days a week and has open play hours every day, so long as the facility is not rented for a birthday party.  The average price for admission is about $35 per child, and same day re-entry is offered.  There are also punch cards for purchase that reduce the cost per child, which is a good buy if you are planning to visit 10 or more times in a year. 

Find them at:

1439 FIRST AVE
(AT 75TH STREET) NY, NY

7. City Treehouse

@citytreehouse / Instagram

The City Treehouse

A hub of fun for kids aged 6 and under, City Treehouse is popular with tourists and locals alike.  Equipped with a play area that includes water play, and numerous ongoing or special event classes, this location has a lot to offer to entertain curious young minds. 

Find them at: 

129A W 20th St. 

New York, NY 10011

8. Playgarden

@playgardennyc / Instagram

Playgarden

Playgarden, located in the Tribeca area,  is not just an indoor play space for pre-school aged children and toddlers.  It has a Montessori based pre-school attached and offers unique classes like Mommy and Me, and music.  This facility also prides itself on keeping a green initiative, having environmental concerns at the forefront of its policies and operations. 

Find them at:
95 Franklin Street
(corner of Church)
New York, NY 10013

9. Twinkle Playspace

@twinkleplayspace / Instagram

Twinkle Playspace

Located in Brooklyn, where many NYC families reside, this imaginative indoor play space has similar offerings to other NYC businesses like it.  It is a nut free facility.  Only 3 children per 1 adult are allowed in the facility, which can be challenging for a mother of 4 or more flying solo.

Find them at:
144 Frost Street 
BK, NY 718-349-1300

10. Apple Seeds

Apple Seed Play

Intended for children up to 5 years of age, this indoor playground perfectly suits the age group with areas for climbing, shape sorting, magnet play, and even a mini obstacle course. There are 3 locations: Chelsea, Upper West Side, and Peter Cooper Village. 

Find them at:

Chelsea -

10 west 25th street
between broadway and 6th avenue
new york, ny 10010

or

 

Upper West Side -

200 west end avenue
between 69th and 70th streets
new york, ny 10023

or

 

Peter Cooper Village Stuyvesant Town -

6 Stuyvesant Oval (off of the Ave. C loop)
New York, NY 10009

Houston

Houston, Texas is situated in the Southern part of the United States, a neighbor to the North of Mexico.  "Everything is bigger in Texas", a famous phrase to describe this state, and as far as I've been able to tell, that is the absolute truth.  Bigger hair, pick up trucks, food portions, and political points of view, Texas lives up to its reputation.  The weather is bigger in Texas too, particularly in the summer months when temperatures rise to muggy, hot misery.  There is certainly more rainfall in this area of the United States as well, typically between 5-7 days every month of the year.  Some days are lovely, but others it is best to play inside.

11. Main Street Indoor Park

Source: Instagram

Located inside a Methodist Church in downtown Houston, and accessible by light rail, Main Street Indoor Park is a great space for children aged 5 and under.

Find them at:
First United Methodist Church
320 Main St
Houston, TX 77002

12. Houston Party Playland

Source: Instagram

Features areas divided by age group for safe play. Also a race track.

Find them at:
1121 W NASA Pkwy
Webster, TX 77598

13. Willowbrook Mall Children's Play Area

Photo credit: foursquare.com

This play area is located inside of Houston mall. Intended for children under 42 inches tall, the soft climbing structures and padded flooring provide a safe and fun place for your tot to expend some energy. 

Find them at:
3000 Willowbrook Dr
Houston, TX 77064

14. Frolic's Castle

Source: Instagram

Another playground located inside of Memorial City mall, Frolic's Castle is a fully interactive play space complete with sound effects for the various areas.  There is a large castle with a drawbridge for older children to play on.  A separate area for babies and toddlers has been added featuring padded climbing structures. 

Find them at:
Memorial City Mall
303 Memorial City Way
Houston, TX 77024

Best list of outdoor toddler playgrounds in LA, NYC and Houston

When the weather is nice, there is no better way to spend an afternoon with children than playing outdoors.  These structures that can appear sadly vacant during inclement weather periods once again come to life on a  beautiful temperate day.  It is a joy to watch your growing son or daughter put their physical growth and milestones to the test, all while beaming with joy, and laughing along with other children who are doing the same. 

Los Angeles

There is rarely a cloudy day in sunny Los Angeles, California.  Outdoor activities are a way of life, and therefore there are many great outdoor playgrounds scattered throughout the neighborhoods surrounding this busy city. 

15. Shane's Inspiration

A playground located in LA's Griffith Park, Shane's Inspiration aims for inclusivity of all children.  Complete with climbing structures in addition to handicap ramps throughout the massive playground, this is the kind of place where being wheelchair-bound does not limit the areas where a child can play. After being open for nearly 20 years, the park was recently renovated and will re-open in March 2019.

Find it at:
4800 Crystal Springs Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90027

16. Holmby Park

Source: Instagram

Located in the Holmby Hills area of LA, Holmby Park is simply a nicely maintained park that has had a lot of celebrity foot traffic over the years.  Perhaps it is the reason why this is a popular choice with the locals, aside it being clean and safe.

Find it at:
601 Club View Dr.
Los Angeles, CA, 90024

17. Coldwater Canyon Park

Source: Instagram

This Beverly Hills park has two playgrounds for your little one to play and experiment with physical capabilities. 

Find it here:
1100 N Beverly Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

NYC

New York City may have brutally cold winters, but in the Spring, Summer, and Fall, the weather softens and residents and tourists head outside.  There are plenty of outdoor playgrounds in NYC where your kids can play with an urban backdrop.

18. Rockefeller Park

Source: Instagram

Located on the North end of Battery Park, Rockefeller Park is a popular destination when the weather is nice.  It has a playground, but what's more is the vast green spaces for kite flying, frisbee, and soccer games.  There is space to spread out and enjoy the outdoors with a metropolitan backdrop. Near the green spaces are beautiful gardens and a pond where ducks and local birds flock. 

Find it here:
75 Battery Pl
New York, NY 10280

19. Pier 51 at Hudson River Park

Photo credit: hudsonriverpark.org

This park has a gorgeous view of the Hudson River. A fun place for kiddos to play in NYC on a Spring or Summer day kids will be entertained by the vast play area.  In the summer months, a splash pad is a great place for kiddos to cool off and get wet under sprayers and buckets. 

Find it here:
Cross at Horatio Street and W 12th Street at Pier 51 
Hudson River Greenway, New York, NY 10014
 

20. Hippo Playground

Source: Instagram

A popular place where your kiddos can climb on hippo statues and climb on the playground equipment in the same area.  

Find the Hippos here:
Hudson River Greenway, New York, NY 10014

Houston

Houston residents and visitors with families have many parks and playgrounds to choose from.  Since the weather is rather warm all year round, outdoor play is a large part of childhood in Houston.

21. Barbara Fish Daniel Natural Play Area and Picnic Pavillion

Source: Instagram

Located inside of Buffalo Bayou Park is the Barbara Fish Daniel Natural Play Area and Picnic Pavillion.  Everything inside the play area is made from objects and materials made from nature.  Use of natural materials aside, what makes this park especially unique is the modern, cityscape of downtown Houston surrounding the gorgeous natural area. 

Find it here:
Buffalo Bayou Park
1800 Allen Pkwy & Memorial Dr
Houston, TX 77019

22. Donovan Park

Source: Instagram

A clean, gated park in the Houston Heights neighborhood. 

Find it here:
700 Heights Blvd
Houston, TX 77007

Safety and age limits of indoor and outdoor playground

Ensuring that your child is playing in a safe place with age-appropriate toys and equipment is the best way to ensure your outing is a success. You don't want to take your toddler to a playground filled with older kids who knock him or her over without a second thought, and you also don't want to take your older child to a playground where he is knocking over the toddlers who are playing there either.  Usually, privately owned playgrounds and city parks and recreation departments will have age information on their websites. 

If an age limit or suggestion is not available on a website, simply use your own judgment. Are you planning to take a crawler to a trampoline park?  You might want to reconsider unless there is a specific area for infants. Planning to take older kiddos to an outdoor community park?  You can tell by looking at pictures or doing a drive by in advance what kind of equipment is there and whether it is age appropriate.  If there are only bucket swings and tiny slides, chances are it is not meant for older children.

Source: gcn.com

To make sure that the park or playground is in a safe area, you can do a Google search to find out specifics about crime rates in the area.  Online reviews of the playgrounds can also provide important information about the safety of the neighborhood, and many times the place itself. 

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Conclusion

Small children have big energy.  Its important when traveling with little kids to know all of your options for gross motor play.  If you have several playground options on hand, everyone will be happier and less stir crazy in th end.  

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