By Joel Furches
Playgrounds are a child’s joy and a parent’s friend. As temperatures begin to drop and outdoor venues become less accessible, there are still plenty of options for children to burn energy, exercise and learn. The indoor playground is becoming more and more of a safe, fun, and comfortable environment in which children may play while parents relax. Baltimore is a city practically bursting with playgrounds and children’s activities, so it’s no surprise that there are plenty of indoor play places for children to enjoy – besides the ones at fast food restaurants.
Doubtlessly the most famous of Baltimore’s indoor play gyms, Port Discovery’s fame in Baltimore is well-deserved, as it has been included in the top five children’s museums in the United States. The building has three floors crammed with play places both educational and fun. The exhibits and activities are ever-changing, but always fun and interactive. One thing that has remained consistent, though, is the KidWorks – a three-story urban treehouse which allows children to climb and swing from ropes and nets. Slide down pipes and tubes. Cross rope bridges – and the list goes on. It’s exactly as much fun as it sounds. Bring your kids in sneakers, and let them loose to enjoy.
Red Zone Adventures is a throwback to classic arcades with a much more interactive twist. Yes, there is an arcade. The establishment is best known, however, for its Laser Tag. While Laser Tag is anything but new, it is still a fun and energetic activity which is perfectly safe for kids to do. Kids are going to find Red Zone to be a cool place to play, too, as the Laser Tag room is 6,000 square foot of haze-filled space with futuristic looking props and multiple levels through which to run and gun.
Unique to laser tag places, Red Zone also has a laser maze: essentially the scene from every spy film, where you have to crawl through a hallway with laser beams all around, and try not to break the beams. As a person works their way through the maze, friends can watch their progress on a big screen outside.
With all the fun of an arcade, Red Zone is a good place to burn energy, exercise and have plenty of fun in the process.
Kiddie Crusoe is a very versatile play place for children. In addition to the expected indoor playsets, Crusoe also provides children with a pretty exciting bounce room with a number of different themed bounce houses for the kids. Potentially one of the most exciting features of Crusoe is the Kiddie City. In this attraction, children may play their way through a small town, complete with Diner, Hospital, Gas Station, Police Station, Fire Truck, School, Construction Workshop, Theatre, Farm, Train Depot and Market.
Crusoe has an interactive projection game system for individual or group gaming.
In addition to all of these exciting features, Crusoe does a number of special children’s activities such as art or cooking classes, educational activities and more.
Marley Bounce Party is a fitness and entertainment facility inside the Marley Mall, which turns out to be of great advantage for parents – because parents have the option of dropping the kids off to play and then doing some shopping before returning to pick them up. The establishment is rated for cleanliness and safety, so it’s a safe place to do this. Parents may, of course, come in and supervise their children’s play, as well.
As the name indicates, Marley is primarily bouncing activities, although it does have a few safely padded play places for toddlers, as well.
Most Baltimorians will know about the Maryland Science Center, which occupies a prominent place in the Inner Harbor area. It’s a versatile establishment, with a giant IMAX theater, a planetarium, a hall full of reconstructed fossils, and life-sized dinosaurs, and any number of other science exhibits and activities.
What is not as widely known about the Center is that it has a very engaging children’s play place on the third floor, called the Kids Room. The Room has any number of activities, including a boat/submarine/underwater area where kids may pretend to be driving a boat, fishing, in a sub underwater and more nautical games. Speaking of water, there is a pretty elaborate water table with channels and canals and piping that children may construct. There are building activities, anatomy activities, and much more besides. There is also a smaller room for youngsters who are still crawling. Lots of playing and learning activities in the Science Center Kid’s Room.