Editor’s Note: Guest post by NYC Mamí on the Move – Quad State Queen – If you are looking for current hottest spots in NY, NJ, PA and CT with exclusive discounts & giveaways we encourage you to follow her on her platforms here:
With our collaboration we hope to build a library of places to play with unique perspectives and showcase active parents who are passionate about sharing new finds, and she does an AMAZING job. Here’s her review:
Today we travel beyond NJ to explore the top picks in Manhattan from travel influencer NYC Mami on the Move- she is never stopping with exploring new places so we were excited to hear what she considers her top picks in Manhattan for indoor play.
We mapped out all the attractions here:
1) Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM)
212 W 83rd St, New York, NY 10024
A visit to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is a treat if you want to enjoy NYC with young kids, particularly those aged ten and under. Situated on the Upper West Side, this well-established venue provides a highly enjoyable setting for exploring science, culture, art, music, and history.
All Photos from CMOM website:
CMOM offers a mix of permanent and changing immersive exhibits, themed play zones, workshops, classes, and interactive performances—all carefully crafted based on the latest child development research. Spanning five stories and nearly 40,000 square feet, the museum provides just the right amount of space to keep your children happily engaged and occupied. Check out this cool video from Priyanka Sapkale – check out their channel here
2) The MET’s 81st Studio
1000 5th Ave Ground Floor, New York, NY 10028
From NYC Mami on the Move (archive post): “
Met Museum 81st Street Studio opened a 3,500-square-foot science and art play space for young visitors on 9/9.
This FREE scienc and art play space directed toward children ages 3-11, will occupy a 3,500-square-foot area in the Ruth and Harold D. Uris Center for Education.
Drop-in, self-directed art and science will be offered during museum hours. A non-circulating children’s library will feature books on related subjects, and scheduled storytelling sessions will be led by Met staff.
We used to love attending FREE storytime at The Met and their FREE programs for children, Start with Art and Start with Art & Music.
The studio will use seven interactive stations and the children’s library will feature a rotating selection of materials. Another highlight is a music station designed by music and audio brand Yamaha, that will show young visitors how materials influence sound through a variety of instruments.”
Photos below courtesy of the MET
3) Art Farm in the City
431 E 91st St 2nd floor, New York, NY 10128
NYC Mami on the Move highly recommends this unique space after attending a few sessions.
From The Art Farm Website: ” The Art Farm NYC is proud to be a nature-focused children’s learning center that provides children and their families with a fun and educational break from city life. We’re New York’s one and only indoor petting zoo and proudly provide children with the opportunity to engage with bunnies, birds, bearded dragons, tortoises, chinchillas, chickens, and more! Our classes for kids promote a well-rounded education and offer children the opportunity to engage in arts, crafts, music, cooking, physical activity, and more! Read more about who we are and what other families have had to say about us and please get in touch with us if you would like to learn more about our classes!”
4) Cocoon (Members only)
316 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013
From NYC Mami on the move: “We were hosted at their open house in TRIBECA, MANHATTAN, to play in their duo level playspace. Cocoon Camp is going on this summer , if you need a place for the kids to go to camp. They kids will enjoy art , dance , Spanish , science , nature and movement moments during the day. Campers will have a good ole’ fashion camp experience in their gorgeous space, and at Washington Market Park, next door.”
From Cocoon website: “Cocoon is a social and learning club for families that guides parenthood and family life—through unique programming and expert-led community all in a two-story space that feels like a second home. We’re a physical space where families can come to learn, play, eat, meet, and grow together.”
5) Union Square Play (Classes/Book online)
67 E 11th Street
New York, NY 10003
Between Broadway and University
Didn’t get a chance to get some parent photos or videos, but we included their social media post below. Looks like a very cute space and you can book classes or open play according to their schedule. Not only do they have a location in Union Square, but check out their UES location and even a fairly new one in Tenafly!
6) Playgarden NYC – Members Only
Established in 2007 in Tribeca, Playgarden was founded by Amanda, Valeska, and Carlos, who sought a spacious indoor setting in New York City for young children to learn and play in a clean and safe environment. The founders identified Tribeca, with its old warehouses, as an ideal location to transform an 8,000 square foot space featuring 11-foot ceilings, skylights, and oversized windows into the largest indoor playground in the city, fostering unstructured play to facilitate children’s growth.
Throughout the years, Playgarden expanded its offerings at the Tribeca location. Beyond being home to the city’s largest indoor playground, it now provides diverse programs catering to children aged 1 to 5 years old, including Preschool and Pre-K, Learning Pods, Enrichment Classes, and Afterschool Programs.
In 2017, Playgarden opened an Upper East Side Preschool at 96th and Madison Ave., focusing exclusively on formal early learning. The space was carefully tailored to create a nurturing and enriching Preschool/Pre-K environment. In 2019, the institution embarked on making its early education programs accessible online, initially for in-person students in the spring of 2020, and subsequently to a global audience in the fall of that year. Expanding its reach, Playgarden inaugurated its third in-person learning center at Park Ave. and 86th Street in 2023.
With a dedication spanning over 15 years, Playgarden has concentrated on developing educational and developmental programs designed for children aged 18 months to 6 years.
Playgarden is on tiktok – video below
7) Bonus Destinations including Coming Soon Attractions!
Unique Group Trip- Gaga Center
230 E 93rd Street New York, NY 10128 212.920.7884
The Gaga Center is located on street level on 93rd Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. With high ceilings, lots of sunshine, three permanent pits and a kicking sound system, the energy is boundless.
Coming Soon to Manhattan Places to Play
This is one to watch out for!! Just met Alex the owner, and he This Open Play starts February 1 2024! I got to talk to Alex and he has an inspiring story about how he came to launch his vision.
From their website: “Complete Playground was born from a place of passion, necessity, and inspiration. Alex Reznik, the founder of Complete Playground, conceptualized the idea of an inclusive indoor playground and family center that can meet all the unique needs of a family aﬅer struggling with finding places in New York City that would easily accommodate all three of his children. In 2018, Alex discovered that one of his sons was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. His son began therapy, but Reznik’s family spent years struggling to find the right fit with appointments typically in remote locations, clinical atmospheres, and isolating for the child in therapy. It was upon the advice of a teacher that Alex was recommended to pair his son’s therapy with inclusive activities- those with kids who have sensory disorders and those who do not. Within a few months, his son began to communicate, exploded right out of his shell, and grew into the incredible young boy he is today. Witnessing the life changing effects on his son lit a fire under Alex, and Complete Playground was born. All proceeds from Complete Playground go directly back into building our programs, scholarship opportunities, and strengthening the lives of NYC’s children.”
Play Street Museum (coming soon)
805 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10025
From their website: “At Play Street, we’re serious about learning. We take the traditional Children’s Museum model to the next level by providing one of a kind educational experiences right on the Upper West Side. Each of our museum exhibits offers interactive learning opportunities, playable environments, and fully immersive entertainment for your little ones. Our daily playtime by reservation sessions gives kiddos the chance to hone their social skills as they connect with others through play. They’ll get their energy out by working their body and brain when exploring the rotating Discovery Rug exhibit and will have the chance to build on their natural creativity at the art exploration station. Sensory play is also at the forefront when your junior scientist takes a trip to our fully customizable slime lab or grabs a self-contained sensory kit to continue the fun and learning at home.”
Are we missing your favorite place?
Comment below if you want to recommend a Manhattan play place you think deserves to be shared with fellow parents!
Make sure you follow us on FB, Tiktok and/or Instagram PLUS our frequent collaborator NYC Mami on the Move (FB page & Instagram page) who is actively visiting NYC places to play and beyond. For articles on this site based on her experiences, check out this link.