We know the weather gets frightful during Chicago’s winter months—and that options for getting little ones out of the house shrink with each temperature drop. So when you and your kiddo need a change of scenery, check out these indoor play spaces for babies and toddlers in Chicago's western suburbs.
Peekaboo Playroom in Oak Park is one of our favorite indoor play spaces in the near western suburbs. Perfect for babies, toddlers and preschoolers, Peekaboo has several playhouse structures, a fleet of Cozy Coups, tons of toys, an area for reading and a separate section for crawlers. The open space makes it perfect for independent play. Grab some coffee and your iPad (free wi-fi!), and keep an eye on your kid from a comfy spot on the couch.
Further west, you’ll find another great play space at Café n Play in Naperville. Café n Play caters to crawlers and up, but we think it’s especially great for toddlers and preschoolers who really need to let loose—kids can burn off energy on the climbing structure complete with a slide, or they can get creative with the castle, pirate clubhouse and train station, which should inspire plenty of make-believe play. Best of all, there’s a café area where you can enjoy coffee, healthy snacks and free wi-fi. (Update: Sadly, Café n Play closed in March 2015.)
Need another option for the active little one? Try Forest the Fox’s Playbox in Westchester, part of the Mayfair Recreation Center. This play space offers an indoor playground with ramps, climbing ladders, tunnels and slides. There’s even a small area for babies. Spend some time at Forest the Fox’s Playbox, and you’ll be guaranteed a solid nap time.
If you’re looking for educational play, there’s plenty to choose from. The Brookfield Zoo isn’t a summer-only destination: Hamill Family Play Zoo is an indoor space with lots of activities for kids of all ages—toddlers and beyond. Kids can participate in crafts, play “zoo keeper,” get up-close with critters, and learn about animal care. Hamill Family Play Zoo is open 365 days a year (yes, you read that right), and winter is a great time to enjoy this space without the warmer-weather crowds.
Children’s museums are another great indoor option for the stroller set, and there are three to enjoy in the western suburbs. DuPage Children’s Museum in Naperville, the Children’s Museum in Oak Lawn and Wonder Works in Oak Park combine fun with discovery. From water play and building to science and music, each museum offers a variety of exhibits that cater to younger children. They also have separate areas for babies.
Before you visit, check the websites or call for information about hours, costs and special events. And let us know if you have a tip on other indoor play areas in the western suburbs. We’re always on the lookout for new places to take our little ones during the winter months.