Guide To Toddler-Friendly Indoor Play In Austin
Even with Austin’s 300 days of sunshine each year, sometimes it’s just too chilly, wet, or sweltering to play outdoors. But with a toddler around, you’ve still got to get out of the house in order to survive, and finding toddler-friendly indoor play areas can be a challenge.
There has to be enough room for your child to run around like a maniac, but not so much that they disappear and wind up at the top of a 30-foot jungle gym. It’s also ideal to have a designated toddler area or toddler-only play hours so you don’t have to worry about bigger kids playing too rough around your little one.
If you’ve got a case of cabin fever, here are some toddler-friendly indoor play ideas to get you and your kiddo out of the house and having fun.
13776 N. Highway 183, Suite 107 (North)
3620 RR 620 South (Bee Cave)
17301 N. Interstate Hwy 35 #101 (Buda)
This play gym was designed by pediatric therapists to help develop motor, language, and social development. They have innovative equipment that puts a new twist on traditional ladders, swings, and slides, as well as a great toy selection and a special baby area. The gym is very clean and almost peaceful, especially compared to some other play zones that feel more like a nightclub.
4040 S. Lamar Blvd. (South)
It’s not the newest or shiniest inflatable play area around, but it has a designated 3 and under bounce house, a foam pit, and a gated area with toys and a slide for little ones. It’s on the smaller side so it’s not too overwhelming, parents can go on all the inflatables, and the staff are friendly. The best part is kids under 2 play for FREE!
11101 Burnet Road, Suite 190 (Domain)
Open since 2017, the COOP has one of the cutest and cleanest indoor play areas around. There’s a climbing structure and ball pit (that is cleaned daily), slides, bounce house, electronic dance floor, magnetic wall, reading area, dress up items and toys, and more. It’s relaxing and fun for parents too, with comfortable seating and an espresso bar. Open play is Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Friday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., and admission is $10 per child.
2001 Justin Ln. (Brentwood)
This toy lending library has toys of every kind that you can borrow, but your toddler can also just stay and play with the costumes, books, ride-on-toys, train table, and more. (A single stay-and-play visit is $7, or there are membership options.) They also host events almost daily, including play dates and classes in sign language, music, and art.
1830 Simond Ave. (Mueller)
Austin’s outstanding children’s museum has hands-on, interactive STEAM activities that make learning fun for everyone. Toddlers will especially love the water exhibit, light room, ball rolling exhibit, Bloom play area, and the story nook. (My toddler barely makes it past the train table near the entrance.) On Mondays from 9 a.m.-noon and Saturdays from 9-10 a.m. the museum presents Baby Bloomers! and is open just for visitors ages 0-3 years.
710 W. Cesar Chavez St. (Downtown)
The children’s area on the third floor of the gorgeous Central Library has plenty to keep toddlers busy, from fun toys to the cool enclosed deck to the whimsical elephant seats. And though technically it’s not indoors, the rooftop garden is a great diversion for toddlers as well. (When all else fails, you can always ride the elevator up and down as my son likes to do.)
1601 W. Koenig Ln. (Brentwood)
This neighborhood coffee house has delicious beverages and food and a separate kid-friendly room with a couple play kitchens, train table, and toys. It’s one of the only coffee shops in Austin with an indoor play area, so you and a friend can enjoy a hot beverage on a chilly day while your little ones are entertained. Win-win!
18901 Hamilton Pool Rd. (Dripping Springs)
This play cafe and coffee bar has several imaginative play areas where kids can pretend to visit a fire station and a doctor’s office, roast marshmallows by a campfire, shop at the grocery store, and more. There’s so much to keep your toddler busy and learning while you keep an eye on them with a coffee in your hand.
13609 N. Interstate Hwy 35 (North)
It’s a little chaotic inside Mt. Playmore, but that’s mostly because there are so many things for kids to do. The toddler area is very large and open (and calmer), and there are some small “rides” (like a tiny carousel) in the front that little ones will enjoy. The playscape is huge, but it’s all enclosed and big enough for parents to climb in, so it’s still a safe option for adventurous toddlers.
12700 Shops Pkwy (Bee Cave)
Rolly Pollies has open gym every day of the week in addition to movement and creative arts classes for kids ages 6 months through 6 years. There is a variety of preschool-sized gymnastics equipment, as well as a trampoline, foam pit, bounce house, and zip line. Kids over 3 who are potty trained can be dropped off, but when we were there the staff members did a good job looking out for all the kids. At $10 an hour it’s a little pricey, but it’s a nice facility and of one of the only children’s gyms in Austin where you can play without a membership.
6800 West Gate Blvd., Suite 100 (South)
2800 S. Interstate Hwy 35, Suite 200 (Round Rock)
You might not think a trampoline park is great for toddlers, but Altitude offers Toddler Time weekdays from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Each morning has a different theme, including Glow Morning, Craft Morning, and Movie Morning. In addition to the main trampoline court, there is a supervised kids’ court for little ones to enjoy even when it’s not Toddler Time.
9811 Vikki Terrace (Southwest)
Loco Motion has a lot of colorful inflatables, but what sets it apart is the “Little Town” where kids can dive into pretend play at the grocery store, school, animal hospital, theater, and ice cream shop. There are also a bunch of ride-on toys, a playscape (that’s not super toddler-friendly), and separate areas for kids 3 and under and 2 and under.
4500 S. Pleasant Valley Rd. (South)
13201 Ranch Road 620 North Suite B (Cedar Park)
An enormous trampoline and adventure park, Urban Air kind of looks like a Ninja Warrior training facility. But toddlers can still enjoy all the different trampoline areas and the foam pit, plus a playscape that’s easy for parents to climb through. Fridays from 10 a.m.-noon is “Jumperoo,” when the park is only open to toddlers. (Note: locations are coming soon to North Austin and Bee Cave.)