The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Indoor Play Areas: Better Than Your Living Room

By Elizabeth Shapiro in Miscellaneous on Jan 22, 2008 10:00PM

It’s that time of year when our kids begin to get stir crazy. With the parks snowed over, and the temps discouraging any neighborhood meandering, these indoor play areas are godsends. The idea is that you pay per visit (or pay less by becoming a member or buying visits in bulk), and spend a few hours with your kid, playing in their space. Each location has huge interactive areas, stocked with toys you can ride on or slide down, dress up clothes and props. Many of these places indicate they serve a 6 month - 6 year age range, but we’ve found that kids 12 months- 4 years are most entertained. These three locations also offer a cafeteria area for you to brown bag it. Check websites for hours and more info.

2008_01_Room2Play.jpgFantasy Kingdom, located at 1422 N. Kingsbury (note: not this “fantasy kingdom”, down the street, NSFW), is the big kahuna of the bunch, boasting the biggest space. Catch Storybook Mom on Thursdays, and singing with Miss Abby or Super Stolie (who also plays venues like the Double Door) on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Check it all out for $12 a visit; extra for parking in their lot (but there should be enough free spots out front).

My Corner Playroom, 2121 N. Clybourn, has drop in interactive playtime ($15), as well as music classes, arts and crafts, and drop-off preschool (ages 2-5). This space is a bit smaller then Fantasy Kingdom’s, but still full of model trains, feather boas and slides galore. Free parking is also a plus, as is the proximity to the grocery store.

The newest of the lot is Room 2 Play, on 2255 S Michigan Ave. Moms we know love this ground-level, windowed play area in the South Loop. One pass open play is $12; parking located at 24th and Michigan is free.

Picture of Room 2 Play from their website.