A big thank you to Julissa Ortiz and the whole crew at Good Day Sacramento for inviting me to share Mom Maps on air last week. It was so exciting to see the enthusiastic response from local moms and dads. After the segment aired, Good Day Sacramento invited parents to share their favorite local kid-friendly places on their Facebook page. With more than 50 comments, we have been busy making sure everything gets mapped in Mom Maps so you can find these picks next time you make the trip to California’s capitol.
While in Sacramento, we had a great time visiting the ArtBeast Studio. What a fabulous place for kids to explore a whole range of classes and drop-in creative activities. If I lived in Sacramento, I know this would be a favorite for my family. Mom Mapper Shayla and her daughter Kali came along and took this great video. Little Kali even had the chance to make her very first painting! (And do check out Shayla’s blog, Me Turned Mom.)
Sacramento is just the latest city to be added to Mom Maps. We now support 27 metro areas and we’re adding more each week with the help of our growing community of moms and dads who love to share their favorite places for kid-friendly fun as well as the many parent bloggers and family travel experts who contribute to our app. It’s a truly collaborative effort. Together we’ve mapped more than 26,000 kid spots and captured thousands of reviews for parents, by parents. Mom Maps has come a long way since I created this app when my family moved to San Francisco and I was inspired to create a tool to find cool things to do with my two year old.
Thanks to the many Sacramento parents who provided their picks and feedback on their favorite kid spots…. and to you, for joining with me to create this great resource for families!
If, however, your family is up for braving the elements, this just might be the time to discover a new place to explore. Our community of mom and dad mappers has made it easy to find kid-friendly places for outdoor fun in your area and on the road. Browse the “Parks” and “Playground” categories on our iPhone Appor website, and you’re sure to find a great new family destination.
To add to the fun, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite links and resources for winter and cold weather activities. Now bundle up, get outside and play!
From The Grass Stain Guru: Try a fall color walk or check out some other ideas from her Fall Play video
Do you and your kids find yourselves climbing the walls when the weather gets rainy and cold? Getting the wiggles out while keeping your sanity in tact can be a tall order. So, we’ve compiled a list of fun, kid-friendly, indoor play places to run, climb and burn some energy — from Atlanta to Cinncinnati, Chicago, Seattle and points in between.
Champion Kids (Marietta) – Indoor toddler (including kids with special needs) play place offering open play, classes, and parties.
DAC Kids Pirates Cove(Acworth)- Little pirates can captain a pirate ship, explore the underwater lair of an octopus or play, try the pirate-themed obstacle course. Priate’s Cove offers open play and parties.
Little Bears Indoor Playground- Specially designed for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and children with special needs. Lots to keep little hands and feet busy!
Coffee Park(Marietta): Indoor Play for the little one and a cup of joe for mom and dad.
Kid City(Chicago, IL) – Drop in play where kids can explore a pretend city: grocery store, post office, home , movie theater, Reading corner, automobiles, and more. Parties too.
Family Grounds Cafe(Chicago, IL) – Indoor play area, storytelling, art, games and music activities. Gourmet coffee and espresso, sandwiches, soups, sweet treats and gelato.
Hobbitland Ltd.(Chicago, IL) – A bright spot for a cold day. Lots of wooden toys, play kitchen, dress up clothes, art projects, a blocked off area just for crawlers.
Fantasy Kingdom(Chicago, IL) – Themed play areas with kid-sized buildings to explore, costumes and other play activities.
Go and Play Cafe (Mason) – Indoor play for children ages 3-12 and a cafe for the adults.
Cherry Grove Lanes(Cincinnati) – Bowling, pool, darts to keep you entertained and (in warmer weather sand volleyball)
Recreation Outlet (Milford) - The folks at Recreation Outlet sell premium play equipment and have also created an indoor Play Zone where kids can run, jump and run in a showroom full of play structures, trampolines and basketball hoops. Check out their open play times or plan a birthday party.
Krohn Conservatory(Cincinnati) - Dream of sunnier days while perusing an acclaimed collection of more than 3,500 plant species from around the world.
Parky’s PlayBarn(Winton Woods) – An indoor, two-story, farm-theme, accessible playground with soft safety flooring. PlayBarn is designed for ages 2-12.
Kings Skate Country(Sacramento and Elk Grove) – Roller and inline skating lessons for all levels and open skate sessions, too.
Busy Bees Studio(Sacramento) – Classes, day camps, and parties where kids can do yoga, music, dance, fitness activities.
Explorit Science Center(Davis) – Hands-on science learnign and fun with interactive exhibits, a Discovery Room, and a Wet Lab.
SeeSaw(San Francisco, CA) – A cozy, 800-square-feet play space stocked with toys, books, and games, good tunes are playing. Classes, Free Wi-Fi, and cafe!
Habitot(Berkeley, CA): Indoor play for infants through preschoolers. Drop in play, art studio, themed play areas. See Mom Mapper Shayla’s videofrom her visit to Habitot.
Peekadoodle Kids Club(San Francisco, CA): Classes for ages 0-5. Indoor play space features a Victorian house, a cable car, a grocer’s market, and a giant Golden Gate Bridge. A padded infant lounge and a cafe and boutique for mom and dad.
Bay Area Discovery Museum(Sausalito, CA) – Mixes indoor and outdoor interactive play. Places to crawl, make art and music, model trains, and interactive exhibits for hands on play. Cafe offering lunch and snack basics.
Exploratorium(San Francisco, CA) – Full of hundreds of hands-on exhibits that mix science and art.
REI Seattle Store (Seattle, WA): The motherlode of gear—plus a mountain bike test trail, gear-testing stations, a 65-foot climbing wall and more hands-on fun
Kidz Bounce(Issaqhah, WA): 12,000-square-foot indoor play space that features two play rooms and more than a dozen inflatables, including obstacle courses and 35-foot slide
Shankz Black Light Miniature Golf(Olympia, WA) – What kid wont love a little glowing 3-D mini golf in a jungle, underwater or prehistoric setting. Party room available as well.
Great Kids Village(Columbia and Silver Spring)- Drop in play time and day care, classes, cafe, and parties.
Adventure Park USA(New Market Maryland) – Arcade, Laser Tag, Indoor 4-level “Prospector Playground”, climbing wall and other attractions.
Other Everyday Places
… and don’t forget about some of the everyday places that can offer entertainment when the weather gets grim. Libraries get crowded on rainy days, but are free and fun.
And while shopping at our local IKEA recently, my 3 year old had a blast checking out the room vignettes, trying out ALL the chairs and testing out the kids toys scattered throughout the store. (They also have a supervised play area for preschoolers and older, where kids can play while you shop.) A nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt to cap off the visit, made for one happy camper!IKEA store finder.
Looking for more kid-friendly fun from parks, to playgrounds, museums to indoor play places and restaurants? Kids Play Guide has got you covered rain or shine! Click over to www.kidsplayguide.com and browse our growing list of more than 25,000 kid spots or take Mom Maps on the go with our iPhone app. It’s quick and easy to map and review your own favorites, too.
So how did we find the more than 24,000 kid-friendly places mapped in our Mom Maps iPhone app? We’ve been building a vibrant community of parent Mappers who love to share their favorite picks and places for outdoor and indoor play, learning places, family dining and more. We’d like to introduce you to Road Trips for Families, and in particular, their “Feed Me” and “Geocaching” editor, Julie Henning. Julie is also the creator of the the very handy Milwaukee Love Kids and Madison Loves Kids iPhone apps.
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Road Trips for Families brings you travel information and advice from real families who love to hit the road every chance they get. It’s a great resource for planning your next family road trip because you’ll find expert itineraries, information on what’s along the way, gadgets — plus a whole lot more. Julie’s specialty is dining out with kids — and as a mother of three she can appreciate that this is no small task, especially when you’re on the road. You need convenience, clean bathrooms, and a place to burn off energy—not to mention prices that don’t break your travel budget on the first day. Julie loves to venture little off the beaten path to find and share unique, family-friendly restaurants that feed your appetite and your sense of adventure . She’s also a great resource for geocaching, “the nation’s high-tech treasure hunt”.
We’re proud to team up with Julie Henning and Road Trips for Families to map some of their favorite roadside attractions and kid-friendly destinations. So now you can take Road Trips for Families’ kid-friendly travel picks and recommendations “on the go” using the Mom Maps iPhone app (or browse online at www.kidsplayguide.com.)
If you have a budding Einstein at home, or just love to learn about the world around you, here are some of our favorite kid-friendly places, mobile apps and other cool resources that will appeal to the scientist in us all.
20 of Our Favorite Kid-Friendly Places for Hands-On Science – Browse these and lots more kid-friendly places for fun and learning online at Kids Play Guide or take it “on the go” with our Mom Maps iPhone app. Check out reviews from other parents and share your own.
Monterey Bay Aquarium(Monterey, CA): one of the country’s best aquariums. Check out 200 exhibits, including majestic jellyfish, 2-story kelp forest and local sea otters — all in the heart of Monterey’s historic Cannery Row
Hands On Children’s Museum(Olympia, WA): hands-on science fun for younger children, families and school groups. Birthday parties, preschool programs and camps too.
Kid-Friendly and Educational Science Apps for Kids
Apps for Learning, from Moms with Apps: a great list of mobile apps that will help kids learn about math, the solar system, animals and more.
Star Map, explore the stars with this virtual planetarium
BrainPop, learn something new everyday. Great for 3rd to 5th graders
LOUISVILLE AREA for Simple Pleasures Moms Huber Orchard and Winery in Starlight, IN offers more mature family members cheese-making demonstrations, wine tasting. The whole family will enjoy pick-your-own produce, a petting zoo and fun hay rides.
SAN FRANCISCO for Sporty moms
Get zen! It’s Yoga Kids offers family classes, mom & baby classes, kids’ only classes, and more.
SEATTLE for Foodie Moms
Let mom settle in with a cup of tea and a sweet treat at The Crumpet Shop at Pikes Place Market.