Get inside and play! Indoor playgrounds offer respite from desert heat

    Creative crew members Aidan Miyagishima (10), of Phoenix and Ethan Tyau (9), of Gilbert at the LEGOLAND Discovery Center Arizona, at Arizona Mills Mall in Tempe. Photo Rick D’Elia.
    How do kids and families survive Arizona summers? With indoor playgrounds! Aidan Miyagishima (10) of Phoenix and Ethan Tyau (9) of Gilbert are Creative Crew members at the Legoland Discovery Center at Arizona Mills Mall in Tempe. Photo by Rick D’Elia.

    Summer here is a lot like winter in the rest of the country: we practically seal ourselves indoors. But there’s no need to for these months to be a string of long, boring, triple-digit days. The Valley is home to plenty of cool, colorful indoor playgrounds and play spaces—including the newest: Legoland Discovery Center, which recently opened at Arizona Mills mall in Tempe.

    Here’s our list of air-conditioned spots where kids can work their wiggles out, use up that ample energy and enjoy summer fun without the sun. Parents can join in or take a break!


    Children’s Museum of Phoenix
    215 N. Seventh St., Phoenix
    This interactive museum designed for kids 10 and younger features a three-story climber and active play such as fort building, shopping in a mini market, painting a kid-size castle and much more. There’s a separate toddler area, too. Summer hours: 9 a.m to 4 p.m. daily in July. Price: $11; free to babies under 1.

    i.d.e.a. Museum
    150 W. Pepper Place, Mesa
    480-644-IDEA (4332) 
    Artville, the museum’s indoor playground for ages 5 and younger, includes soft fort-making blocks, a dress-up area, an art studio, a garden with Velcro veggies and more. Summer hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Price: $8; free to babies under 1.

    Jambo! Indoor Amusement Park
    12046 N. 32nd St., Phoenix
    602-274-4653 •
    This jungle-themed playground offers a two-story climbing structure, carnival-style rides, pint-sized mini golf and more. Summer hours: 10 a.m to 8 p.m. daily. Price: Unlimited wristband for $15.99; $5 savings with Jambo’s free membership club.

    Jubeelieve Indoor Playland
    965 E. Van Buren St. #115, Avondale
    This indoor playground for ages 5 and younger has a socks-only policy (for parents, too) and offers age-appropriate slides, climbers, push cars, jumpers, a bounce house and more. The parents lounge has free wi-fi. Toddler Tuesdays (ages 3 and younger) offer discounts from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Jubeelieve allows outside food. Summer hours: Opens at 8:30 a.m. daily; call ahead in case it is closed for a private party. Price: Free for adults; $9.25 for the first child ages 1-5 ($6.53 for each additional sibling); $4.90 for a child under age 1 (or free if accompanied by a full-price sibling).

    Legoland Discovery Center
    5000 S. Arizona Mills Circle, #135, Tempe
    877-526-3960 •
    This indoor play center, aimed at families with kids ages 3 to 10, offers a giant staff-attended, kids-only play structure, a car-racing area and dozens of stations where you can build anything you can imagine with the iconic plastic bricks. It also boasts two small-scale amusement park rides and a 4-D theater. There’s a parents lounge, a cafe and tables where you can sit while your child takes it all in. Summer hours: 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday; last admission two hours before closing. Price: $22 daily for ages 3 and older; $65 annual pass; free admission for ages 2 and younger. Adults not admitted without children.

    The climber at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix. Photo by Dan Friedman.
    The climber at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix. Photo by Dan Friedman.

    PlayGrounds Fun Zone & Café
    8190 W. Union Hills Drive #110, Glendale
    602-761-9663 •
    Socks-only play in a 35,000-square-foot woods-themed playground where kids (and parents) can climb, jump, crawl and slide amid the tree-top canopy. PlayGrounds also has a smaller-scale version of the park for toddlers. Summer hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Price: $11 ages 17 months to 10 years; $5 ages 6-16 months; discounts for siblings.

    Toys & Playtime Oasis playroom
    13802 N. Scottsdale Road #116, Scottsdale
    This toy store specializes in toys with a purpose. Its large Dr. Seuss-themed play area offers age-appropriate educational and developmental toys, and it hosts periodic parties with popular storybook characters. Activity Time sessions include music, singing and dancing with kid-size instruments, finger puppets and 30 minutes of unstructured play. Children must wear socks. Summer hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Call ahead on weekends to make sure playroom isn’t closed for a private party. Price: $9 per child per day; $6 Activity Time session.


    Amazing Jake’s Food & Fun
    1830 E. Baseline Road, Mesa
    480-926-7499 •
    All-in-one family entertainment including go-karts, laser tag, mini roller coaster, bumper cars, kiddie rides, bowling, video games with ticket redemption and a train ride around the park. Note: Many attractions have height restrictions. Summer hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. Price: $9.99 ages 11 and up; $6.99 ages 4-10; free ages 3 and younger. $14.99 Fun Pass includes 3 hours of rides plus a $5 video-game credit.

    AZ Air Time
    13802 N. Scottsdale Road #145, Scottsdale
    480-427-2000 •
    Kids can jump, shoot hoops, play an amped-up game of dodgeball or launch themselves into a huge, foam-filled pit. All ages are welcome, but there are separate jump areas for kids 6 and younger. Summer hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. Price: $8 to $13 for the first hour, discounts for subsequent hours. $5/hour anytime for special-needs jumpers. From 8-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday teens (age 12 and up) can jump for $8/hour.

    1166 S. Gilbert Road #110, Gilbert
    Parents can join the fun at this giant inflatable obstacle course/bounce house with slides, tunnels, climbers and games. Jumpers ages 2 and older can participate, but there is a height requirement for certain attractions. A designated toddler area offers a comfort zone for toddlers and non-walkers. Summer hours: Times vary; call or check online. Price: Free for adults; $5 to $8.95 per child for each 2-hour session.

    Kids having fun at Flip Dunk Sports. Photo by Dan Friedman.
    Kids can play trampoline basketball at Flip Dunk Sports. Photo by Dan Friedman.

    Flip Dunk Sports
    1515 E. Bethany Home Road #160, Phoenix
    602-277-0067 •
    Created by gymnast and famous Phoenix Suns Gorilla Bob Woolf, this 19,000-square-foot trampoline park emphasizes fitness. Kids can play a rousing round of dodge ball, try their hand at Slam Ball (trampoline basketball), take a high-flying spin on bungee trampolines or just bounce for the fun of it. Summer hours: Open jump times 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Friday, 3-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 3-10 p.m. Friday, 1-10 p.m. Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Price: $8-$12 per hour or buy a Flip-Dunk Sport Loyalty T-shirt and jump for $6/hour when you wear it.

    Jump City Trampoline Park
    3921 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix
    602-522-8000 •
    Jump on more than 20 massive trampolines, a few of which also serve as basketball and dodgeball courts. The park also has an inflatable playroom and a separate jump area for toddlers. Summer hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Price: $6-$11 per hour, with discounts for additional hours. A Jump Pass (10 hours of jump time for $50) can be used for multiple jumpers on multiple visits and does not expire.

    455 E. Warner Road, Chandler • 480-270-8008
    5665 W. Bell Road, Glendale • 602-889-0081
    This center has 20,000 square feet of wall-to-wall trampolines, trampoline dodge ball and other activities. Summer hours: Opens at 10 a.m. daily; closing hours vary. Price: $8-$12 first hour with discounts for additional hours; $5 all day for ages 3 and younger.

    Makutu’s Island
    6919 W. Ray Road, Chandler
    This “island paradise” centers around an enormous tree filled with tunnels, slides, holes and tubes for kids to climb and traverse. Makutu’s play structures feature a child-size zip line, bungee jumper, a 35-foot-snake slide and explorable caves. Separate area for toddlers. A theater hosts storytelling and craft times, and there’s a cafe plus free wifi for parents. Summer hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Price: $11.99 ages 1-17; one adult free per child; $6 each additional adult.

    Pump It Up
    14131 N. Rio Vista Blvd. #5, Peoria, 623-572-0090
    9378 E. Bahia Drive, Scottsdale, 480-425-7867
    1325 W. Auto Drive #101, Tempe, 480-940-7867
    Like its sister company Bounce U, this giant inflatable obstacle course/bounce house is a hot spot for birthday parties and private events, but it offers some open bounce times, too. Call or check the online calendar for schedules and rates, which vary by location.

    Sky Zone Peoria
    9040 W. Larkspur Drive #134, Peoria
    623-979-4000 •
    At this wall-to-wall trampoline park and foam pit, kids can literally bounce off the walls, which are lined with springy trampoline material. Summer hours: Opens 10 a.m. daily through the summer; closing times vary. Price: $14/1 hour, $17/90 minutes, $20/2 hours; $99/month unlimited jump pass.

    The Play Factory
    21001 N. Tatum Blvd., Phoenix
    480-473-PLAY (7529) 
    Do your shopping at Desert Ridge Marketplace while your kids climb through slides and tunnels, scale a 20-foot rock wall or play a few classic video games. A separate toddler area has its own bounce house, a mini-basketball hoop, puzzles and seating for adults. Everyone must wear socks. Summer hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Call ahead to make sure it’s not closed for a private party. Price: Free for adults; $9 per child all day; $4.50 for ages 4 and younger on Toddler Tuesdays and Thursdays; $5 per child after 5 p.m. through Aug. 31; $59.99 membership for three months of unlimited play.


    AMF Bowling Centers
    9 Valley locations
    Family bowling at its best, AMF offers at least 32 lanes, billiards and arcade games at each location. Select locations also have free wi-fi, shuffleboard and more. Summer hours and prices: Vary by location.

    Bowlmore Lanes
    5 Valley locations •
    Summer Games pass allows school-age children to participate in three games a day (shoes included) throughout the summer, subject to lane availability at centers with league and private party commitments. Summer hours and prices: Vary by location.

    Brunswick Zone
    7 Valley locations •
    Geared toward older kids and teens, Brunswick Zone offers 40 lanes of bowling, an arcade and pool all in a lounge setting. Brunswick Zone also runs daily specials like Monday Mayhem and $2 Tuesdays, offering discounts on bowling, food and more. Summer hours and prices: Vary by location.

    FatCats Fun
    4321 E. Baseline Road, Gilbert
    480-498-3325 •
    This family entertainment spot offers 20 lanes of bowling and nine-hole glow golf, plus an arcade and Recline-N-Dine movies. Summer hours: 11 a.m. to midnight Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday. Price: $22 per hour per lane for bowling (up to 6 people); $2.99-$3.99 per player for glow golf.

    Playing Crash Pods at FlipSide. Photo by Dan Friedman.
    Playing Crash Pods at FlipSide. Photo by Dan Friedman.

    4874 S. Val Vista Drive, Gilbert
    480-471-8444 •
    This family entertainment destination offers bowling, laser tag, crash pods, an arcade and more. Kids can work their way through an elaborate, Mission Impossible-esque laser maze or climb a massive blast pad. Summer hours: Opens 10 a.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. Sunday. Price: $23 per person for all-day attractions/bowling pass; $14 all-you-can-play bowling every Monday-Tuesday throughout the summer.

    Laser Quest
    3335 W. Peoria Ave., Phoenix
    602-548-0005 •
    Divide and conquer your kids’ boredom with a high-tech game of hide and seek involving laser shooters, heavy-duty vests and multiple levels of a futuristic play area. Key Quests let kids work together to solve 45-minute themed puzzles and logic problems. Summer hours: 1-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 1-11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Price: $8.50-$11.50 depending length of time; $15 for Key Quest experience.

    Main Event
    8545 S. Emerald Drive, Tempe, 480-753-1200
    10315 W. McDowell Road, Avondale, 623-936-5300
    Kids can bowl a game or two, duke it out at laser tag or try the gravity ropes. The center also has billiards, bocce ball, mini golf and a rock-climbing wall. Summer hours: Opens daily at 9 a.m.; closing times vary. Price: All-you-can-play Summer FUNpass (good through Monday, Sept. 5) $9.99-$17.95.

    Stratum Lasertag
    1455 S. Stapley Drive, Mesa
    480-545-5500 •
    13,000 square feet of comic-book-themed playing surface where kids can run, hide and tag friends with laser shooters. Summer hours: 1-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 1 p.m. to midnight Friday, 10 a.m. to midnight Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Price: $8.99-$22.99 for 1 to 4 games; $19.99 for 4-hour unlimited play session Friday-Sunday.

    Uptown Alley
    13525 N. Litchfield Road, Surprise
    623-975-PLAY (7529) •
    All-in-one family entertainment venue offers 40 regulation-size bowling lanes, a huge sports theater, two stories of laser tag, an arcade with 80-plus games and more. Summer hours: Opens daily at 10 a.m.; closing times vary. Price: varies by activity.


    AZ Ice Arena
    3853 E. Thomas Road, Phoenix, 602-957-9966
    2305 E. Knox Road, Gilbert, 480-503-7080
    15829 N. 83rd Ave., Peoria, 623-334-1200
    Looking for a cool way for your kids to cool down? With skate rentals in sizes all the way down to a toddler size 7, anyone who can walk can skate during open-rink hours at AZ Ice Arena. Little Howlers program provides 4 weeks of completely free hockey lessons to kids 4-8. Summer hours: Public skating hours vary, so call ahead. Price: $5.50 ages 13 and older; $4.50 ages 12 and younger; free ages 3 and younger with paid adult; $2 skate rental.

    Great Skate
    10054 N. 43rd Ave., Glendale
    623-842-1181 •
    Take the kids for a spin around this skating rink while live DJs play all the latest tracks and tunes. Organized skating games and themed nights keep things fresh, and kids can also play air hockey or ice ball in the arcade. Skaters must wear wrist guards, which are provided free. Summer hours: Call for public skating times. Price: $4-$9 plus $3.50 skate rental.

    Ice Den
    7225 W. Harrison St., Chandler, 480-598-9400
    9375 E. Bell Road, Scottsdale, 480-585-RINK
    Escape the heat at one of the official ice-skating rinks of the Arizona Coyotes. Public skate time is open to all ages and the staff often organizes theme nights like $5 Friday Night Fever. Skate rental sizes start at toddler size 6 and trainers are available to help kids learn. Summer hours: Public skate times vary; check the online calendar before making plans. Price: $3-$8 plus $3-$4 for skate rental. Summer Skating Pass ($99/person) allows 1 admission plus skate rental during any scheduled public skating session.

    Rollero Family Skating Center
    7318 W. Indian School Road, Phoenix
    623-846-1510 •
    Valley residents have been learning to skate and showing off their skating skills at Rollero since 1985. Most skate sessions include a free soda and hot dog or nachos. Summer hours: Call or check website for public skating times. Price: $5-$9 includes skate rental. Cash-only facility.

    USA’s Skateland
    1011 W. Ray Road, Chandler, 480-917-9444 •
    7 E. Southern Ave., Mesa, 480-833-7775 •
    Enjoy free wi-fi as the kids skate the day away. Summer hours: Call or check the website for public skating times. Price: $4-$8 plus $3.50 skate rental; check website schedule for free-admission nights.


    Ape Index Rock Climbing Gym
    9700 N. 91st Ave., Peoria
    623-242-9164 •
    For the more adventurous types in your family, Ape Index offers the tallest rock climbing walls in Arizona, a free-weight workout area, a huge scalable world globe and a unique, adjustable wall that can rotate up to 45 degrees into a cliff overhang. Summer hours: 1-10 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Price: $20 day pass or $50 for the month. Annual and family membership discounts available.

    AZ on the Rocks
    16447 N. 91st St. #105, Scottsdale
    480-502-9777 •
    Scramble up 14,000 square feet of climbing surface or enjoy a full yoga studio and workout area open to both members and the public. Beginners are provided with all equipment and hands-on instruction before setting out. Summer hours: 3-10 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 3-7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Price: $13 day pass per child plus $6 shoe and harness rental for climbing, yoga and fitness. Monthly and yearly membership discounts available.

    Climbmax Gym
    1330 W. Auto Drive #108, Tempe
    480-626-7755 •
    Arizona’s largest rock-climbing gym features two stories of more than 180 climbing challenges that are changed out weekly. Separate kids bouldering area with a climbing tunnel. Summer hours: Noon-1 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; ,11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Price: $18-$21 per hour; includes gear.

    Phoenix Rock Gym
    1353 E. University Drive, Tempe
    480-921-8322 •
    Enjoy 15,000 square feet of climbing surface with 30-foot walls full of cracks, aretes, chimneys and more. Climbing ropes are designed for all skill levels. Summer hours: 3-10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Price: $15-$18; includes admission and gear.


    KEEN Phoenix
    12701 N. Scottsdale Road #203, Scottsdale
    602-508-3939 •
    KEEN (it stands for Kids Enjoy Exercise Now) pairs children and teens with special needs with trained volunteers for two-hour athletic sessions. Depending on ability, kids can take part in gymnastics, yoga, obstacle courses, relay races and even music. Summer hours: Times and venues vary, so call or check online. Price: free.


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