The Ithaca area has many indoor playgrounds and activity places for kids. Indoor spaces can be great on a rainy day, cold day, super hot day, or just anytime you need to get out of the house! This is not a complete list, but here are many, in alphabetical order. There is also lots of info on indoor pools at the Swimming page.
Barnes & Noble- This store has a train table, toys and lots of books to read.
Bloom - Bloom is a mission-driven retail store on the Ithaca Commons dedicated to providing families with ethica
lly-produced clothing, gifts, and toys. They also have a FREE indoor play place and family lounge space including a play restaurant, play store, and play apartment, as well as block-play and some baby toys. They serve coffee and have snacks for sale. They also have some programming and parent meet-ups, so check their calendar. The store specializes in locally-made and American-made clothing and toys for children aged 0-8 and high quality, ethically-produced clothing for women, including nursingwear.
Brooktondale Community Center - Free to community groups for play. You can sign up to be an opener/closer and use the calendar and key available at the Brookton Market. A great place for preschool playgroups, as it's often open in day and has a structure and some push/ride on toys. More info can be found here. http://brooktondalecc.org/
Burger King - South Ithaca Burger King has an indoor climbing structure.
Cass Park Skating Rink - Roller Skating in the summer, Ice Skating in the winter.
Cayuga Nature Center - Part indoors, part outdoors, the Cayuga Nature Center has lots of nature themed activities, some fun animals, a butterfly house, and Treetops, a 6 story tree house.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology - Not so much a "play space," but the Lab of Ornithology has a visitor's center with large windows for bird watching, interactive exhibits with video and sounds, and an outdoor walking trail around Sapsucker Woods.
Discovery Trail - The Discovery Trail is made up of the following organizations which provide excellent indoor and outdoor opportunities. There is more info on these locations here at Ithaca Family Fun or by clicking the Discovery Trail link. Cayuga Nature Center, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cornell Plantations, The History Center, Johnson Museum of Art, Museum of the Earth, Sciencenter, Tompkins County Public Library
Eastlake Recreation - An three story climbing structure with a ball pit and slide open Fridays from 10am to noon and other times during school vacations. They are also available for birthday parties. For specifics on hours, call 607-277-2151.
GIAC - The Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC) is a center for all ages, particularly youth and teens. A wide range of programs is offered during the afterschool hours of 2:00 to 6:00 p.m., Monday-Friday. The program is very fast paced and exciting. In the summer, they offer day camps.
Head over Heels Gymnastics- Fun gymnastics classes for 1 and up, as well as camps during times school is out and Unstructured Playtime fall through spring. Unstructured Playtime is an open gym time for parents and kids to play together and get out some energy during those cold months. (6 months - 1 Year Old - $3 for members & non-members; 1 Year Old - 5 Years Old - $5 for members & $7 for non-members), and regular "parent's night out" events. Check the Head Over Heels website and Ithaca Family Fun calendar for current schedules.
Jillian's Drawers - Jillian's Drawers is a natural parenting store with a community room, small bounce house and ball pit for kids under 8 that's only $1 an hour, and other play areas! When there are no classes going on, the community room is open for gentle free play, with some toys and a slide. There are also classes and meetings there. The link will bring you to their Google Calendar.
Jump Around Inflatables In-door Family Fun Center 10 Cayuga Vista Drive in Lansing -. Jump Around's In-door Family Fun Center is a party facility that features inflatable rides for children and adults of all ages. Inflatable Slides and bounce houses to burn off excess energy and helps keep kids fit,Toddler Playground, Video Games, Air Hockey, Private Party Rooms, open admission rates are available with unlimited times. They also rent. Toddler play time 10-12 on Thursdays. Open at 10am on Lansing non-school days. They hold regular "parent's night out" childcare events as well. Wednesday - 5-7pm special pricing, Thursday - 10-7pm, Friday - 1-8pm, Saturday - 10-8pm, Sunday - 10-7pm You can always request time during our non-open time for group. Check the website for additional open times.
Lansing Drop-In Center - This drop-off "playcare" has 3 paid staff and a parent volunteer each week. They are open MWF 9:30am-12:15pm. You pay $2-$5 depending on what you can afford. They have circle time, on wednesdays a music teacher comes in, and they provide a snack. They also do crafts, playdoh, etc.
Mama Goose - This store not only has some great deals on gently used kids stuff, it's also a nice place to hang out and play on a cold or rainy day.
Museum of the Earth -This museum has exhibits on rocks, fossils, dinosaurs and much more. There's a great mastodon skeleton.
Niki's Party Place -Otherwise known as "the Bounce Place in the mall," Niki's has 4 large bouncy structures, including 1 that is tame enough for babies who can crawl well. They do not allow children over 10 to bounce, and are very good about watching out for small children and overcrowding. Parents can go into the bounce structures with their children as long as they don't bounce. Especially on weekends, call in advance to make sure they are not closed for a private birthday party. Phone: (607) 330-7979; Monday through Thursday: 10 am – 8 pm; Friday and Saturday: 10 am – 9 pm; Sunday: 10 am – 6 pm
Sciencenter -possibly the Ithaca Area's finest indoor activity, the Sciencenter is full of hands on fun for children of all ages. There's a triceretops skull, toy ducks in moving water, toy trains, a touch tank, and tons of other exhibits.
Shipwreck Mini Golf - In Cortland, this is the nation's largest indoor mini golf course, illuminated with black lights. They also have a large outdoor mini golf course, and bounce houses.
Shops at Ithaca Mall - Home to play places like the SPCA and Niki's Party Place bounce houses, the mall is nice place to spend a few hours on a cold or rainy day. There are several seasonal attractions like tractors, Halloween stores, Santa, the Easter Bunny, and a toy store around Christmas time. Plus ride on cars and an archade near the food court. BTW, the food court high chairs are kept near the entrance to Sears. They DO exist.
SPCA Annex in the Mall - This place is a great spot to play with a kitty or two. The workers are friendly and welcome children to grab a cat toy and dangle it for the cats to bat at. They sometimes have a Story time, though the program is dependent on a volunteer organizer. Donating a dollar or two when you visit is a great way to help the non-profit organization. Just be warned, they have a sign that claims "unattended children will be given an espresso and a free kitten." :)
Sunny Days is a gift shop / art gallery / performance space that has a chalk wall that kids can draw on and a basket of musical instruments. Not much but it’s something for Parents looking to do some shopping while with their kids! Plus every Tuesday they have kids musician and educator Judy Stock (www.judystock.com) in the store from 10am to 10:30am!! This musical adventure for kids is free.
Tompkins County Public Library - 607-272-4557 ext 273 Located in downtown Ithaca, the Library has a large children's area, regular story times and many programs. The library's regular free storytimes in the Thaler/Howell Programming Room may be changing for 2012. The times below are for Oct/Nov 2011 Storytimes are for children and their caregivers.
Family Storytime - Saturdays 11, for children of all ages
Babies, Books & Bounce Storytime - Fridays 11 for newborns -16 months
Toddler Storytime: Tuesdays- 11, for approx 18months to 36months
In the summer, the library also hosts storytime at the downtown Farmer's Market on Tuesdays at 11:30.
Toy Stores - Alphabet Soup on the commons and Cat's Pajamas in the Dewitt Mall both have train tables to play with, as well as toys & books to look at.
Tot Spot- 607-273-8364 The Tot Spot is a fun indoor play area with two slide/climbing structures, many push and ride toys, books and other fun things. Located inside the Ithaca Youth Bureau at 1 James L. Gibbs Drive in Ithaca, The Tot Spot is generally open from the end of October to Mid-April. Days and times are as follows: Mon/Tues./Thurs./Sat. 9:30 - 11:30. The Tot Spot is for children ages 5 months -5 years. 5-12 months $2, 13month- 5 yrs. $4 per child. Passes 6 visits for $20. Scholarships available.
Wkids at Wegmans - *W kids is a safe play area for 3+ up potty trained kids. Plus they have a free service where you can drive up and have your groceries loaded into your car for you. Parents must stay in the store, but sometimes mommies plan a Wkids playdate while the grownups eat or drink coffee in the cafe
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