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100+ Ideas for Kids Indoor Play in Orange County

100+ Ideas for Kids Indoor Play in Orange County

Writing about kids indoor play areas in Orange County is a little hard for this mom/writer who MUCH prefers outdoor play experiences.  But play is play no matter where you go and I’ve had a lot of moms ask me about where to play when it’s too hot outside or raining.

Until I got into the research about indoor playgrounds for kids, I thought they were all alike. Well, apparently that’s not the case. Some are more bounce houses, some are indoor playgrounds, and some are trampoline parks.

Unlike ALL the parks on my blog which I’ve visited numerous times, I have to admit that I have not experienced these kids indoor play areas and so I’m not providing you my personal experiences.

But thanks to my Volunteer Editorial Board and parents who write me with tips, I’m fairly certain I’m providing at least a fairly comprehensive list of possibilities to try. I’m thinking of younger kids when I’m writing this list.

So let’s start with a few places that aren’t traditional indoor play spaces, but they are my version of places to go and potentially get some A/C where my kids can use their imagination even if it’s reading, quiet/creative play or simple hands-on activities. I call this creative free play.

This list is mostly geared towards kids under 12 – and many of these ideas are even more focused on the kids under 5 age group

Non-Traditional Indoor Play Spaces

Or we can call this list Other Things to Do Indoors on Hot Days (or Rainy Days)!

Public Libraries (~45 ideas)

Did you know you can visit any public library? Not just the branch closest to your home. Orange County Public Libraries has over 30 branches all over the county! Your OCPL library card will work at any of them. 

You can check out books from one library and return them to another library. And there are even more public library systems with more branches (where your OCPL card will NOT work, but you can still visit and read books at the library).

Sometimes you can still get a library card at these libraries, but you may have to pay a fee.  We especially like visiting Friends of the Library bookstores to find affordable reading treasures to bring home.

Children’s Book & Education Shops (~12 ideas)

The children’s book area at Barnes & Noble can be a haven on a hot or rainy day. Take your time to browse before you buy. Some even have train tables for play.

  • Barnes & Noble Book (Aliso Viejo, Irvine Spectrum, Woodbridge Center-Irvine, Tustin Marketplace, Fashion Island, Orange Town & Country, Huntington Beach-Bella Terra, Fullerton-Amerige Heights Town Center)

If you are lucky enough to have an independent bookseller nearby, then definitely take advantage of it! There only a couple of dedicated children’s book shops that I can think of in Orange County which I’ve listed here.

Another idea is dedicated school supply stores. My mom used to kick off our summer with fun educational workbooks and art projects that we’d work on during the week and then we’d get a field trip on Friday.

Every time I go inside a school supply store, I think back to those summers. They often have different toys and art project ideas than your typical Target or Staples – and they also have children’s books in languages other than English.

Indoor Outings – Retail or Food Service Locations with Indoor Play Spaces or Room to Roam (~15 ideas)

One mom suggested South Coast Plaza for the carousel and various toy stores around the Carousel Court. There’s lots of room to wander indoors there.

There’s also Main Place Mall in Santa Ana, Westminster Mall in Westminster, and The Shops at Mission Viejo.

Chik-Fil-A playgrounds at the locations at The District in Tustin, Woodbury Town Center-Irvine, Laguna Niguel, Foothill Ranch, and Aliso Viejo.

McDonald’s Indoor PlayPlaces at the locations in Ladera Ranch, Laguna Hills, Foothill Ranch, Rancho Santa Margarita, Main Street in Santa Ana, and Portola Parkway in Irvine.

Nature Centers (~20 ideas)

They might not be big or impressive. They might not be open very many hours.

But if you plan ahead — nature centers can be an oasis for exploring our natural history and wildlife.

Usually, they are a gateway to an outdoor adventure — but they can be a stand alone outing.

Family-Friendly Museums (6 ideas)

Indoor Art (~3 ideas)

Frozen Treats for Hot Days (~13 ideas)

Sometimes it’s just fun to pop out for a cold treat to cool you down and you can at least hang out in the store or restaurant to eat it.  Some of these are pretty decadent so think about sharing!

Sno2Go (Mission Viejo) – shave ice stuffed with soft serve (if you like)

Delite Distribution (Fullerton) – they stock the ice cream trucks with popsicles, but they are also open to the public

Afters Ice Cream (Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Irvine, Tustin) – signature Milky Buns which are glazed buns (think donuts) stuffed with handcrafted ice cream in unusual flavors

House of Chimney Cakes (Anaheim) – ice cream stuffed inside a Hungarian chimney cake cone

Rich Farm Ice Cream (Placentia) – a local favorite with some really yummy flavors

Your favorite rolled ice cream (Rollin Deep, Sky Roll, Roll ‘n Scoop, Solo Thai Ice Cream)

Your favorite ice-cream-frozen-with-liquid-nitrogen place (Sub Zero Ice Cream, Scoops N Scoops, Creamistry)

Your favorite Italian ice and frozen treats (Rita’s Italian Ice, Joe’s Italian Ice)

Your favorite juice bar / acai bowl / smoothie place (Nekter, Bowlology, Banzai Bowls, Jamba Juice, Juice It Up, Vitality Bowls)

Your favorite place for mangoneadas / raspados / paletas / aguas frescas (Tortas Y Jugos Sahuayo in Tustin, La Michoacana Original & Natural in Laguna Hills, help me fill out this list!)

Your favorite frozen yogurt place (Yogurtland, Cherry on Top, Golden Spoon, Menchie’s, FRAPYS, Pinkberry)

Places that have pebble/pellet/nugget/crushed style ice cubes for drinks (Cafe Rio, Raising Cane’s, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Sonic)

Yummy cold lemonade – at least these are my favorites (Chik Fil-A, Raising Cane’s, Miguels JR, “mint garden lemonade” at Market 2 Plate at Union Market in Mission Viejo)

Warm Drinks for Rainy Days

  • Free hot cocoa at In ‘n Out on rainy days
  • Your favorite coffee spot which undoubtedly has options for kids

Kids Indoor Play Areas in Orange County

As always, check official websites for costs, times, and details. My info is only accurate at the time of posting, but should at least give you a ballpark idea of what’s offered.

South Orange County Indoor Playgrounds (5 ideas)

We Play Loud (Lake Forest)

  • Height Limit: 51″
  • Cost: Starts at $15
  • Time blocks: 2 hours
  • Outside food allowed? No.
  • Cafe to buy food? Yes.
  • Free WIFI? Yes.
  • Socks required? Yes.

Tyke Time (San Clemente)

  • Age Limit: 0-5 year olds.
  • Cost: $17 for one child, $11 for each additional (adults free, monthly punch card / membership options, and discounts available + fee includes all sorts of extras)
  • Time blocks: Passes good for all day use, but only open weekday afternoons for 3 hour blocks on M/W/Th and a 6 hour block on Fridays. Closed weekends.
  • Outside food allowed? No. They have snacks for kids and coffee/tea for guardians included in the price.
  • Socks required? Yes.

Jump ‘n Jammin’ (Mission Viejo)

  • Cost: Starts at about $7 for toddlers
  • Time blocks: Passes good for all day use
  • Outside food allowed? No.
  • J-Care Program – drop-off child care for kids ages 3-12.

Pump It Up (Lake Forest)

  • Height Limit: No jumpers under 34″
  • Cost: Starts at about $10
  • Time blocks: 1.5 hours, depending on open jump hours (check calendar)
  • Outside food allowed? Only for parties and only specific foods.
  • Socks required? Yes.

Defy OC KidJump Hours – formerly CircusTrixOC (Mission Viejo)

  • I think about this place for older kids, but they have KidJump hours for those under 6 years old
  • Cost: $13 for 1 hour
  • Time blocks: 9am-10am M-F
  • Socks required? Yes.
  • Read my post on CircusTrix OC 

North Orange County Indoor Playgrounds (6 ideas)

Seascape Kids Fun (Anaheim Hills)

  • Cost: Starts at about $10
  • Time blocks: Admission fee good for all day use.
  • Ages: 1-17 + adult
  • Outside food allowed? Yes. Dry food – read FAQ for details.
  • Socks required? Yes.
  • Free WIFI? Yes.

Scooter’s Jungle (Placentia)

  • Cost: Starts at about $10
  • Time blocks: 1.5 to 3 hours, depending on open play category (check Open Play hours)
  • Outside food allowed? No.
  • Socks required? Yes.

Kidz Spot (La Habra)

  • Cost: Starts at about $12 (discount coupons and deal days on the website, also Mommy Group special)
  • Time blocks: 4-6 hours, depending on day M/T/W/F (closed on Thursdays + closed weekends for parties)
  • Socks required? Yes.

Jumping Fun Kidz Bounce House (Buena Park)

  • Cost: Starts at $7 + $3 adults
  • Time blocks: All day (closed Thursdays)
  • Outside food allowed? Yes – in designated eating area, plus vending machines there.
  • Socks required? Yes.

PlayPie (Buena Park at The Source)

  • Cost: Starts at $13 + $5 adults
  • Time Blocks: Admission good for all day play
  • Outside food allowed? No.
  • Socks required? Yes.

Pump It Up (Anaheim Hills)

  • Height Limit: No jumpers under 34″
  • Cost: Starts at about $10
  • Time blocks: 1.5 hours, depending on open jump hours (check calendar)
  • Outside food allowed? Only for parties and only specific foods.
  • Socks required? Yes.

Central Orange County Indoor Playgrounds (9 ideas)

Frogg’s Bounce House (Fountain Valley)

  • Cost: Starts at about $8 (end of day discounts)
  • Time blocks: All day
  • Outside food allowed? Yes – but specific foods not allowed.
  • Socks required? Yes.

We Play Loud (Huntington Beach)

  • Height Limit: 51″
  • Cost: Starts at $15
  • Time blocks: 2 hours
  • Outside food allowed? No.
  • Cafe to buy food? Yes.
  • Free WIFI? Yes.
  • Socks required? Yes.

Luv 2 Play (In Irvine at Tustin Marketplace)

  • One of my readers had a bad experience when the location in Lake Forest closed unexpectedly. We’ll see how this one goes.
  • Cost: Starts at about $12.95 – $16.95 (higher priced on weekends/holidays, but siblings discounted). Memberships available, too.
  • Outside food allowed? No.
  • Socks required? Yes.

IKEA Kids Play Area – Småland (Costa Mesa)

  • Limits: Potty-trained and between 37” to 54” tall
  • Hours: 10am-9pm daily
  • One hour of free kids care while you remain at the store to shop/eat/use the store’s WiFi/whatever

Bounce U (Orange, Huntington Beach)

  • Cost: Starts at $8
  • Time blocks: 1 hour + 15 minutes (check calendar for open bounce hours)
  • Socks required? Yes.

Billy Beez (Anaheim Garden Walk)

  • Cost: Starts at about $14, adults extra (discounts if you get a 10-pack of tickets + check website for other discounts)
  • Time blocks: All day play
  • Socks required? Yes.

Playland Cafe (Irvine)

  • Cost: Starts at $9
  • Time blocks: 2 hour time limit
  • Outside food allowed? No.
  • Cafe? Yes – special cafe serving afternoon tea and desserts.
  • Socks required? Yes.

Rockin’ Jump – Rockin’ Tots Jump Hours (Santa Ana)

  • Trampoline parks are generally for older kids, but they have Rockin’ Tots Jump Hours for those under 6 years old
  • Cost: $15 for 2 hours
  • Time blocks: Tuesdays 9am-11am, Saturdays 8am-10am
  • Socks required? Yes – special reuseable “Rockin’ Socks” for $3

Pump It Up (Irvine, Huntington Beach)

  • Height Limit: No jumpers under 34″
  • Cost: Starts at about $10
  • Time blocks: 1.5 hours, depending on open jump hours (check calendar)
  • Outside food allowed? Only for parties and only specific foods.
  • Socks required? Yes.

Things to Consider When Planning Your Time at Kids Indoor Play Areas

Limited hours – Some close for private parties or are only available for open play during certain hours. Check the calendars and make sure they are open before you go.

“High” prices – Playing is free, but indoor play places aren’t. It’s not exactly practical to pay to play every day.

Crowds – There’s a potential for a busy environment with field trips or just busy on holidays or non-school days.

Don’t forget your socks! For hygiene, most places require socks (not nylons or tights – SOCKS). And when the kids get older at trampoline parks they even require specific types of socks.

Food – It’s awesome if you can play all day, but if you can’t bring or purchase food on site then you might have to leave for a meal or go outside for a snack.

Siblings or extra adults? – Make sure you check the admission fees to see if adults are free or if there’s an extra fee. Also check to see if there are sibling discounts.

Germs – Many of the indoor play areas listed talk about how often they clean the equipment. If you have a child with special health issues or who is especially susceptible to colds, then indoor playgrounds may not be the best choice for you.

Do they have a separate toddler area or toddler times? This may be important to you and some of those listed do separate toddlers from older kids.

Strollers – Some places do not allow strollers or have specific stroller policies.

Limits on Height or Age – I didn’t see this at very many of the places I listed, but a few have specific height and age requirements. Read the fine print.

Reservations? – Some places offer the opportunity to reserve your space ahead of time.

CALL before you go – If you still have questions after visiting their websites, call to clarify and get your questions answered before your kids get their hopes up. However, many of the businesses discourage calls to see how busy it is (it’s always busy!).

As always, check official websites for costs, times, and details. My info is only accurate at the time of posting, but should at least give you a ballpark idea of what’s offered.

Hope this helps you with some traditional and non-traditional ideas for kids indoor play areas all around Orange County. Please correct me if I’m wrong or send on more suggestions for me to add to the list!

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