18
Nov 10

Kid-Friendly Fun on Rainy and Cold Days: Our Favorite Places to Get the Wiggles Out

Do you and your kids find yourselves climbing the walls when the weather gets rainy and cold? Getting the wiggles out while keeping your sanity in tact can be a tall order. So, we’ve compiled a list of fun, kid-friendly, indoor play places to run, climb and burn some energy — from Atlanta to Cinncinnati, Chicago, Seattle and points in between.

TIP: Find cold and rainy day fun using the kidsplayguide website or the Mom Maps iPhone app. Use our “Indoor Play Area”  or “Museum” categories or try search words such as: “indoor”, “bowling”, “library”, “gym”, “rink”. And…. check out our previous post on Cool Places, Mobile Apps (and more!) for Kids Who Love Science”, for more indoor fun ideas.

Mom Mapper Shalya recommends the “Eco Lake Aquarium and Science Center” in Burlington, VT for some cold day fun!

Atlanta Area

  • Hippo Hop Indoor Playground (Atlanta)  Jump and climb the day away at this inflatable play space.
  • Champion Kids (Marietta) – Indoor toddler (including kids with special needs) play place offering open play, classes, and parties.
  • DAC Kids Pirates Cove (Acworth)- Little pirates can captain a pirate ship, explore the underwater lair of an octopus or play, try the pirate-themed obstacle course. Priate’s Cove offers open play and parties.
  • Little Bears Indoor Playground – Specially designed for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and children with special needs. Lots to keep little hands and feet busy!
  • Coffee Park (Marietta): Indoor Play for the little one and a cup of joe for mom and dad.

Chicago Area

  • Kid City (Chicago, IL) – Drop in play where kids can explore a pretend city: grocery store, post office, home , movie theater, Reading corner, automobiles, and more. Parties too.
  • Family Grounds Cafe (Chicago, IL) – Indoor play area, storytelling, art, games and music activities. Gourmet coffee and espresso, sandwiches, soups, sweet treats and gelato.
  • Hobbitland Ltd. (Chicago, IL) – A bright spot for a cold day. Lots of wooden toys, play kitchen, dress up clothes, art projects, a blocked off area just for crawlers.
  • Fantasy Kingdom (Chicago, IL) – Themed play areas with kid-sized buildings to explore, costumes and other play activities.

Cinncinnati

  • Go and Play Cafe (Mason) – Indoor play for children ages 3-12 and a cafe for the adults.
  • Cherry Grove Lanes (Cincinnati) – Bowling, pool, darts to keep you entertained and (in warmer weather sand volleyball)
  • Recreation Outlet (Milford) – The folks at Recreation Outlet sell premium play equipment and have also created an indoor Play Zone where kids can run, jump and run in a showroom full of play structures, trampolines and basketball hoops. Check out their open play times or plan a birthday party.
  • Krohn Conservatory (Cincinnati) – Dream of sunnier days while perusing an acclaimed collection of more than 3,500 plant species from around the world.
  • Parky’s PlayBarn (Winton Woods) – An indoor, two-story, farm-theme, accessible playground with soft safety flooring. PlayBarn is designed for ages 2-12.

Sacramento

  • Kings Skate Country (Sacramento and Elk Grove) – Roller and inline skating lessons for all levels and open skate sessions, too.
  • Busy Bees Studio (Sacramento) – Classes, day camps, and parties where kids can do yoga, music, dance, fitness activities.
  • Explorit Science Center (Davis) – Hands-on science learnign and fun with interactive exhibits, a Discovery Room, and a Wet Lab.
  • Lasertag of Carmichael (Carmichael) – 2 story, 6,000 square foot laser tag area and arcade.

San Francisco Bay Area

  • SeeSaw (San Francisco, CA) –  A cozy, 800-square-feet play space stocked with toys, books, and games, good tunes are playing. Classes, Free Wi-Fi, and cafe!
  • Habitot (Berkeley, CA): Indoor play for infants through preschoolers. Drop in play, art studio, themed play areas. See Mom Mapper Shayla’s video from her visit to Habitot.
  • Peekadoodle Kids Club (San Francisco, CA): Classes for ages 0-5. Indoor play space features a Victorian house, a cable car, a grocer’s market, and a giant Golden Gate Bridge. A padded infant lounge and a cafe and boutique for mom and dad.
  • Bay Area Discovery Museum (Sausalito, CA) – Mixes indoor and outdoor interactive play. Places to crawl, make art and music, model trains, and interactive exhibits for hands on play. Cafe offering lunch and snack basics.
  • Exploratorium (San Francisco, CA) – Full of hundreds of hands-on exhibits that mix science and art.

Seattle Area

  • REI Seattle Store (Seattle, WA): The motherlode of gear—plus a mountain bike test trail, gear-testing stations, a 65-foot climbing wall and more hands-on fun
  • Lynnwood Bowl & Skate (Lynnwood, WA): The name says it all… a roller rink and 24 lanes await you.
  • Kidz Bounce (Issaqhah, WA): 12,000-square-foot indoor play space that features two play rooms and more than a dozen inflatables, including obstacle courses and 35-foot slide
  • Shankz Black Light Miniature Golf (Olympia, WA) – What kid wont love a little glowing 3-D mini golf in a jungle, underwater or prehistoric setting. Party room available as well.

Washington DC

  • Great Kids Village (Columbia and Silver Spring)- Drop in play time and day care, classes, cafe, and parties.
  • Adventure Park USA (New Market Maryland) – Arcade, Laser Tag, Indoor 4-level “Prospector Playground”, climbing wall and other attractions.

Other Everyday Places

… and don’t forget about some of the everyday places that can offer entertainment when the weather gets grim. Libraries get crowded on rainy days, but are free and fun.

And while shopping at our local IKEA recently, my 3 year old had a blast checking out the room vignettes, trying out ALL the chairs and testing out the kids toys scattered throughout the store. (They also have a supervised play area for preschoolers and older, where kids can play while you shop.) A nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt to cap off the visit, made for one happy camper! IKEA store finder.

Looking for more kid-friendly fun from parks, to playgrounds, museums to indoor play places and restaurants? Kids Play Guide has got you covered rain or shine! Click over to www.kidsplayguide.com and browse our growing list of more than 25,000 kid spots or take Mom Maps on the go with our iPhone app. It’s quick and easy to map and review your own favorites, too.



01
Nov 10

Featured Video: Video Postcard from San Francisco

We might be biased in our affection for San Francisco because Mom Maps happens to be based in the lovely City by the Bay, but it’s always fun to get a visitor’s perspective! This travel video postcard courtesy of Travel Bigo / Family Travel Forum will give  you a flavor of some not-to-be-missed sights in and around San Francisco that will appeal to the whole family

…. and while you’re visiting, make sure to grab the Mom Maps iPhone app and you can find lots more family fun places while you’re on the go from restaurants to playgrounds, museums and indoor fun, and access photos and reviews form other parents, too (or browse online at kidsplayguide.com).

Thanks again to the good folks at Travel Bigo / Family Travel Forum! We’re proud to team up to map thousands of Family Travel Forum’s favorite kid-friendly places and reviews so you can take their incredible library of family friendly travel content “on the go” using the Mom Maps iPhone app (or browse online at www.kidsplayguide.com.)

Family Travel Forum is a great first resource for planning your next family vacation:


12
Jul 10

Summertime Adventures & Deals: California Water Parks

Now’s the time for some cool summertime fun and splashing for kids big and small. You might just love a day at the water park as much as your kids. Our round-up of California water parks:


Thrills and Splashes at Raging Waters in San Jose

Recently on Father’s Day, I treated myself and two children to an afternoon at the Raging Waters water park in San Jose.  Raging Waters is a large water park located in Lake Cunningham Regional Park.  The park has many rides and amusements, all of which are a great way to cool down during hot summer days. The park has several water slides of varying heights and thrills, as well as a wave pool for older kids and water-based playgrounds and wading pools for younger kids.

My 3-year old daughter’s favorite activities were playing in the little dipper bubble pool and floating down the endless river with me on an inner tube.  My 6-year old son enjoyed Slide Creek Falls and the activity pools.   The park is easy to visit, offering convenient parking, changing rooms and lockers to store your valuables, as well as several on site food and concession stands.

– by Michael Coleman, San Francisco Bay Area dad


Deals from Southern California Water Parks

Wild Rivers, Irvine (8770 Irvine Center Drive, Irvine CA 92618-4200)

Get a discount of $5 dollars on general admission tickets. Click here for a coupon: www.wildriversfun.com/fun2 or enter the promo code: FUN2 when you purchase the ticket online.

Raging Waters, San Dimas (111 Raging Waters Drive, San Dimas CA 91773)

Get a discount of $7 on general admission tickets purchased online purchase, or $5 off a general admission ticket purchase at the park. Click here for a coupon http://myragingwaters.com/rw1067. Enter coupon code 1067 for online purchase.

Top 10 Water Parks in SF Bay Area

* Raging Waters, San Jose

* Aqua Adventure, Fremont

* San Ramon Water Park, San Ramon

* Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area/The Rapids Waterslides at Shadow Cliffs, Pleasanton

* Antioch Water Park, Antioch

Top Water Parks Southern California

* Wild Rivers, Irvine

* Raging Waters, San Dimas

* Knott’s Soak City – 3 locations: Palm Springs, Bueno Park & San Diego

* Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, Valencia

* Splash Canyon, Temecula

Have tips, advice and recommendations? We invite you to share your favorite water parks and summer adventure spots with other parents, by adding a kid spot, review or picture on www.kidsplayguide.com. Download the Free Mom Maps iPhone app and bring 20,000 kid-friendly places and parent reviews with you on the go!


30
Jun 10

Summer in San Francisco: Family Fun and Discounts

Music Videos, Pirates, They Might Be Giants and more San Francisco Summer Fun for Families!

Zeum: Hands-On, Multimedia, Arts and Technology for Kids

If you haven’t experienced Zeum, July is great time to check it out. The exhibits explore animation, digital arts, special effects, music videos, and workshop activities and are designed to be fun while building media literacy, motor skills, problem solving, and teamwork.During the Month of July, they’re offering MomMaps users 25% off youth admission and $50 off Themed Birthday Parties.

For a preview of what’s in store at Zeum, check out their virtual tour:

Bay Area Discovery Museum: Come Play Until 8 Under the Golden Gate During Summer Sunsets 7/23 & 8/13

Get a $1 off each advance purchase ticket. Use discount code: mommaps

Open late by popular demand! This summer, stop by on select Fridays to enjoy an evening of fun for the whole family. The Museum will reopen from 5 – 8 p.m. for creative play in all of their exhibitions, plus special performers in one of three fun themes. Bring a blanket to picnic on in Festival Plaza while the performers entertain you. Enjoy a themed dinner purchased from our Cafe. Come in costume if you wish. Click here for more event details.

Meet our own Dread Pyrate Gregory and swap tales of the sea on July 23

Meet Dread Pyrate Gregory and Swap Tales of the Sea

Celebrate Space Travel with a Retro Evening of Fun

Members $5; General $8 (Includes Museum admission & performances). Get $1 off each advance ticket when you use the discount code: mommaps. Please note: this evening event requires a separate admission ticket. Same day admission during the regular 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. hours does not include admission to this evening event. Discount code is valid on advance ticket purchases only.

BUY TICKETS

Stern Grove Festival: Free Summer Concerts 6/20 thru 8/22

Summer Sundays at 2pm, Stern Grove is the place to be. Enjoy picnicking and free music in a gorgeous outdoor setting. It’s been a San Francisco tradition since 1938, and it’s the oldest admission-free festival of its kind in America. 2010 season highlights include the San Francisco Symphony, Rickie Lee Jones, Maceo Parker and They might Be Giants. Click here for the full line up.

We recommend getting there early to claim your picnic space. They have bathrooms, wheelchair accessible shuttle service, and plenty of space for running around outside the concert area. More info including parking, and transportation: Stern Grove Festival Guide.

Find More Summer Fun and Deals on PlayPlanit

PlayPlanit was founded in January of 2010 by Laurel Kellam & Allison Howard, two San Francisco career women who found themselves as stay-at-home moms looking for things to do with their newborns. They knew there were tons of businesses out there that had fun events for moms to gather & babies to play — there just wasn’t an easy way to find or remember them. They created Playplanit.com to help parents find local happenings.

PlayPlanit’s initial focus is San Francisco for the five & younger crowd, but they are continuing to build a comprehensive calendar with the goal of serving moms everywhere with kids of every age.


22
May 10

Parents Pick: Family Eats in San Francisco

All month we’re mapping kid friendly dining spots and inviting our fabulous Mom (and dad) Mappers across the country to share their favorites. This week we bring you picks from three San Francisco moms. What do you think of our list? Did we miss one of your favorites?

Emily’s Picks
1. Giorgio’s (Inner Richmond, Clement Street and 3rd Ave.) –Family friendly pizza place that allows children to play with dough – sometimes make their own pizza.

2. Beautifull! (Laurel Village, California at Laurel) – Cafe with plenty of healthy options with kids menu and free tasting.

3. Park Chow (Inner Sunset, 9th Ave. and Lincoln) – It’s pretty great when kid-friendly coincides with the San Francisco Chronicle’s “Top 100 Restaurants” list. Great comfort food made with fresh, organic ingredients.

4. Pacific Catch (Inner Sunset, 9th Ave. and Lincoln) – Seafood that’s kid friendly. Did I mention the sweet potato fries?

5. Green Chili Kitchen (NOPA, McAllister and Baker Streets) – A kid friendly, laid back neighborhood place. Modern twists on Mexican favorites and good rotisserie chicken, too.

Jill’s Picks
1. Park Chalet Garden Restaurant (Foot of Golden Gate Park at the Great Highway) – Grassy area in back that allows for picnics and places for kids to run around. Kid-friendly food.

2. Rigolo Cafe (Laurel Village, California between Locust and Laurel Streets) –Pacific Heights cafe that caters to Pacific Heights crowd. Kids menu with toys in back.

3. Asqew Grill (Laurel Village, California between Locust and Laurel Streets and other San Francisco, East bay and Marin Locations) –Nice kids menu that is reasonably priced. Free kids meals Mondays.

4. Mel’s Diner (Marina, Lombard between Steiner and Fillmore and other San Francisco and Southern California locations) – Great burger place that serves kids meals in a paper car! Balloons sometimes available. 🙂

5. IHOP (Marina, Lombard at Pierce Street and many other locations) – Nothing beats pancakes. Free kids dinners on some evenings – check in advance.

Tita’s Picks
1. Savor (Noe Valley, 24th Street and Sanchez) – This is a place that’s used to kids. All-day kids fare for $3.95 each (but drinks cost extra). As soon as they seat you, they bring the drawing paper (placemat/menu) and crayons.

2. Eric’s Restaurant (Noe Valley, Church Street at 27th Street) – Tasty Szechuan food, family-style dining, super fast service, cute melamine kiddie plates, and the ungrumbling way staff handle the inevitable spills. Plentiful din that allows your family’s noise to blend in with everyone else’s, and fortune cookies as take-home prizes.

3. Pasta Pomodoro (Noe Valley, 24th Street at Castro and other Bay Area and Southern California locations) – The ultimate in quick and easy kid-friendly dining. These people have the protocol down pat: coloring placemat/menu plus crayons, reasonably priced kids’ meals that range from fairly nutritious (chicken parm) to not so (cheesy pasta) and includes a drink and a scoop of vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce for dessert. Best of all, kids eat free on Tuesdays.

4. La Boulange De Noe (Noe Valley, 24th Street at Sanchez and other San Francisco and Marin locations) – The casualness of this place makes it a decent choice when you’re with kids. There are a couple large, family-sized tables, stroller access is reasonable, and service is fairly quick (a hybrid of a sit-down restaurant and a coffee shop with counter service only).

Hungry for more? Our previous post “Calling All Foodie Moms and Dads” includes more great places to eat with kids in San Francisco. If you liked this list, download Mom Maps’ free iPhone app to browse thousands of kid-friendly places including restaurants, museums, parks and playgrounds. Take it on the road or discover something great in your own city. And stay tuned! We’ll be sharing more moms’ picks for good family eats across the U.S. in the coming weeks.


02
Mar 10

San Francisco summer camp planning made easy!

Sign Up For Camp (http://www.signupforcamp.com/) is a new website
designed by local parents to make it easier to plan children’s summer
camps. Parents can search for camps by age, location, dates and
activities. There are over 400 SF Bay Area camps for all grades as
well as overnight camps. Camps can be saved to a summer calendar and
shared with friends. Create a free account to be notified by email of
early registration discounts and other timely information.
(http://www.signupforcamp.com)


26
Dec 09

Mom Maps goes to Rossi park in San Francisco