18
Nov 10

Kid-Friendly Fun on Rainy and Cold Days: Our Favorite Places to Get the Wiggles Out

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.

TIP: Find cold and rainy day fun using the kidsplayguide website or the Mom Maps iPhone app. Use our “Indoor Play Area”  or “Museum” categories or try search words such as: “indoor”, “bowling”, “library”, “gym”, “rink”. And…. check out our previous post on Cool Places, Mobile Apps (and more!) for Kids Who Love Science”, for more indoor fun ideas.

Mom Mapper Shalya recommends the “Eco Lake Aquarium and Science Center” in Burlington, VT for some cold day fun!

Atlanta Area

  • Hippo Hop Indoor Playground (Atlanta)  Jump and climb the day away at this inflatable play space.
  • 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.

Chicago Area

  • 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.

Cinncinnati

  • 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.

Sacramento

  • 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.
  • Lasertag of Carmichael (Carmichael) – 2 story, 6,000 square foot laser tag area and arcade.

San Francisco Bay Area

  • 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 video from 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.

Seattle Area

  • 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
  • Lynnwood Bowl & Skate (Lynnwood, WA): The name says it all… a roller rink and 24 lanes await you.
  • 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.

Washington DC

  • 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.



09
Oct 10

Parents Pick: Favorite Pumpkin Patches and Places for Halloween Fun

Fall is in the air. While we’re sad to say goodbye to summer, we’re looking forward to cozy sweaters, autumn leaves, hot chocolate and probably our favorite of all  — some good old fashioned Halloween fun. Of course Halloween wouldn’t be complete without a visit to a pumpkin patch. From simple pumpkin fields to elaborate corn mazes and festivals, here’s a round up of some of our favorite pumpkin patches.

San Francisco Bay Area

  • Arata Pumpkin Farm (Half Moon Bay): A Halloween fun bonanza with 6 acre corn field, Minotaur Maze, Hay and Train Rides, Picnicking and more.
  • Peterson’s Farm Pumpkin Patch (Petaluma) – Rated in the top 5 best pumpkin patches in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2010. Praised as a good place to take small children for pumpkin picking for pumpkin picking by the Marin Mommies’ site.
  • Web Ranch (Portola Valley) - Organically grown U-Pick pumpkins, haunted house, corn stalks and indian corn. Attractions on weekends: Jumpy House, Pony Rides, Petting Zoo, Face Paint, Hay Rides
  • Pastorino Farms (Half Moon Bay) – A big field of pumpkins to choose from, gifts, food, hay rides, train rides, ponies, pet and feed farm animals, giant slides and jumpers. Weekend activities include  haunted house and face painting.
  • Clayton Valley Pumpkin Farm (Concord)- Halloween fun for 30 years. Giant Tube tunnel, a giant tic-tac-toe board, bean bag toss, pyramid of straw, the “Ball Return”, duck races and train ride.
  • Spring Hill Farm (Petaluma) - “Peter Pumpkin Patch” :  U-Pick pumpkins,  fresh made cheese, dig for potatoes, homemade ice cream
  • Grandma’s Pumpkin Patch (Healdsburg) – Halloween crafts, picnicking, hay fort, a corn maze and tractors  to climb on. Handicap accessible.
  • Fisher Farm (Sebastopol) – U-Pick pumpkins (choose and cut Christmas trees too)

Chicago Area

  • Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm (Crest Hill) – Huge maze (17 acres and 5.5 miles of winding paths), climbing on Fort Cottonwood, barnyard playland, veggieland, haunted barn and petting zoo.
  • Butterprint Farm Pumpkin Patch (Monee) – U-Pick pumpkins, 3/4 mile round trip hayride, scarecrow maze, squash and gourds, local farm honey, Indian corn, hardy winter mums, straw, and cornstalks.
  • Jonamac Orchard (Malta) - A family-owned apple orchard and pick-your-own pumpkin patch. Hayrides and a corn maze, country store featuring one-of-a-kind apple donuts and fudge.

Seattle-Portland

  • Sauvie Island - Pumpkins haunted maze, corn maze, cow train, market, free hay rides!
  • Stocker Farms (Snohomish) – pumpkins, haunted “field of screams”, duck races, trout fishing, barrel train.
  • Remingler Farms (Carnation) – U-Pick pumpkins, 2 mazes, farm theater, kettle corn.
  • Fall City Farms (Issaquah) – U-pick pumpkins (Christmas trees too), chickens, goats, live jazz and bluegrass music.
  • Cravens Farm (Snohomish) – Halloween fun for more than 27 years. Pumpkin scenes with a harvest twist, 15 acre corn maze, pumpkin slinger, face painting, kettle corn, tractor pulled hay ride, farm animals, gift shop and espresso.

Washington DC

  • Homestead Farm (Poolesville) – pumpkin and apple picking, hay rides, maze.
  • Gaver Pumpkin Patch (Mt. Airy) - pumpkins, corn maze, large farm animals, straw mountain, pedal bike track, giant slides, pirate ship, bale mazes, toddler corn maze, and play areas.

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Kids Play Guide: Find Kid-Friendly Fun at Home or the Road

Kids Play Guide was created by a San Francisco mom to help parents share and review their favorite places for kid-friendly fun. Our great community of parents and family travel experts have mapped more than 24,000 parks and playgrounds, indoors play places, museums and kid-friendly restaurants across the US.

Log onto www.kidsplayguide.com to browse thousands of kid spots, reviews and photos for parents, by parents. Take Kids Play Guide on the go with our Kids Play Guide: Mom Maps iPhone app. Using your phone’s GPS, you’ll find what’s nearby and how to get there.


17
Aug 10

From Coast to Coast: Hot Spots for Cool Treats

(Image by iMax)

It hasn’t escaped our notice that artisan  ice cream and other frozen treats are among the hottest trends across the country. Think local ingredients, classic and adventurous flavors — traditional ice cream, bubble tea, frozen yogurt, frozen custard, shave ice, popsicles and other cool treats. Yes, we’re enthusiastic supporters of this trend! As summer heads into the home stretch, here are hot spots for cool treats from the SF Bay to the ATL – hand-picked from the growing list of kid-friendly places mapped on Mom Maps by our great community of moms and dads, family travel experts and parent bloggers. Just say yum!

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A Visit to Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream in San Francisco’s Mission District

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Atlanta: Sarah Jean’s Ice Cream (Marietta), Morelli’s Gourmet Ice Cream (Atlanta), The Yogurt Tap (Decatur)

Austin: Amy’s Ice Creams, Spoons Yogurt (College Station), Marble Slab Creamery (Sunset Valley)

Boston: Lizzy’s (Waltham), Bedford Farms (Bedford), Mad Maggie’s (North Reading)

Chicago: Bobtail Ice Cream, Paciugo Gelato, Scooter’s Frozen Custard

Grand Rapids, MI: Jersey Junction Ice Cream Parlor

Hawaii: Aoki’s Shave Ice (Haleiwa/Oahu), Papalani Gelato (Koloa/Kauai), Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice (Lahaina/Maui)

Minneapolis: Izzy’s Ice Cream (St. Paul), Pumphouse Creamery, Sebastian Joe’s Ice Cream

New York City: Chinatown Ice Cream Factory (Manhattan), Yogurtland (Manhattan), Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory

Pacific Northwest: Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream (Seattle), Theno’s Dairy / Vivian’s Pride Ice Cream (Redmond),  Cool Moon Ice Cream (Portland, OR)

Phoenix: Aloha Yogurt (Tempe), Grateful Spoon Gelato, Mary Coyle Ol’ Fashion Ice Cream

San Francisco Bay Area: Tucker’s Super Creamed Ice Cream (Alameda), Ici Ice Cream (Berkeley), Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream (San Francisco), Bi-Rite Creamery

Southern California: CeFiore Frozen Yogurt (Los Angeles), Mariposa Homemade Ice Cream (San Diego), Italia Vito’s Pasticceria (Laguna HIlls)

Washington DC: Boccato Gelato & Espresso (Arlington), Max’s Best Ice Cream, Tangysweet Frozen Yogurt

Sweet treat lovers unite! Have you been to one of these tasty stops? Got a hot tip you’d love to share? We love to hear about your favorites – comment, add a review on Mom Maps or Tweet us @mommaps.