*This guide has been updated for 2016.
Winter is here! While the cold and snow may mean staying indoors, that doesn’t mean your kids can’t burn off some energy. Help prevent that “cabin fever” from setting in by checking out our list of indoor locations with FREE play areas:
6274 N 32nd Street, Richland 49083
If you have a toddler between the ages of 18 months and two years, nine months old, join the Richland Campus of the Montessori school for one of their weekly play dates. When school is in session, the school hosts a FREE toddler play date every Monday from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. No registration is required.
230 North Rose Street, Kalamazoo 49007
The Kalamazoo Valley Museum features hands-on learning displays for all ages. The Burton Henry Upjohn Children’s Landscape section features books, puzzles, puppet station, multiple building stations with blocks, coloring station and so many more options for your little ones. Admission to the entire museum is FREE. While you are there, check out their monthly featured program.
Kalamazoo Public Library
315 South Rose Street, Kalamazoo 49007
The Kalamazoo Public library has five branches, all with areas for kids where toys, puzzles, puppets, dolls and more are available for play. At their Central location, you will find a large Story Place room where many events take place. In addition to the toys, all of the branches also offer computers loaded with educational games, including iPads at the Central location.
300 Library Lane, Portage 49002
After one of their many events for children, check out their preschool room. Kids can play in their play house, puppet theatre, train table, kitchen set and more. There are also games, puzzles and of course, lots of books!
3019 Oakland Drive, Kalamazoo, 49008
Locally owned book store, Bookbug, has a cozy playhouse reading nook at their store in the Oakwood Plaza. Your kids can stay after one of their 10:00 am, Thursday morning story times (or stop in any time), to play or preview a new book.
6650 South Westnedge Avenue, Portage 49024
Located on popular Westnedge Avenue, Crossroads Mall has a convenient “Tot Lot” area for kids in the food court area. “Tot Lot” is open daily during mall hours, but closed from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm for a daily cleaning. In addition to the play area, there are also mechanical cars and the carousel available to ride with purchase.
2595 North 10th Street, Kalamazoo 49009
The Point Community Center offers a weekly Parent and Toddler Playtime in their gymnasium. On Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:15 am to 11:30 am, your toddler (up to age five) can play with ride-on toys, bouncy toys, slides and balls. There is also space for you to do some laps with your stroller. Parent supervision is required at all times. In addition to the Toddler Time, The Point also offers regular open gym times, free for kids under 16, with adult supervision. Donations are appreciated, but not required for anyone under 16. Click here to check out their calendar and also look for open gym times for older kids.
240 Mt. Olivet Road, Kalamazoo, 49004
Sit and chat with other parents while your little ones play at Spring Valley Church’s FREE weekly Mom and Tots play group. Every Friday at 10:00 am your kids can visit the group for some fun with their peers. Play equipment includes a kitchen play set, tents and various toys. All ages are welcome! Please contact Heather Ackman, Coordinator, at [email protected] for additional details or questions.
6134 South Westnedge Avenue, Portage 49002
Southland Mall’s Barnes and Noble has a fun, colorful play area in their kids section. Surrounded by all of their favorite stories, the play area includse a Lego building table and a train table. Grab a cup of coffee from the in-store Starbucks and let your kids explore.
If your kids enjoy the occasional “Happy Meal,” there are several McDonalds locations that offer indoor play areas, including: