It’s that time of year when the holidays have ended, the cold is fierce, and cabin fever has set in. If you’re over the post-new-year hibernation, look no further. There are many indoor options to keep your babies and toddlers entertained while we wait for spring. Break out of the house and check out some of the baby and toddler-friendly places below!
Places to Go with a Baby or Toddler in the Southwest Suburbs
Indoor Play Spaces for Babies and Toddlers
Gymboree Play and Music of Orland Hills
9289 W. 159th Street
Orland Hills, IL 60487
Gymboree Play and Music has been around for 40 years with over 700 locations in 40+ countries. We are so lucky to have one right in our backyard! Offering classes for children ages 0-5, they provide an environment that is safe and easy to play and explore. Classes such as Baby Lab and Preschool Steps provide age appropriate activities to meet each children’s growing interests and abilities. Open gyms are also available as well as field trips and birthday parties. Check out their calendar of classes and events with pricing here.
Luv 2 Play (Alsip)
4845 W 111th Street
Alsip, IL 60803
Luv 2 Play has something for kids from age 0 to 12! There are separate areas for babies (ages 0-2), toddlers (ages 1-4), and even a relaxation area for the parents with free wifi and a wine, beer, and coffee menu. Big kids can play with kinetic sand or try out the soft climbing wall while the toddlers and babies check out the pretend play area with grocery store, doctors office, and beauty parlor. There is a cafe/eating area and a room with redemption games for all ages.
Franklin Loebe Center (Orland Park)
14650 Ravinia Avenue
Orland Park, IL 60462
This park district building houses a hidden gem… an indoor playground that is free and perfect for ages 0-5. With soft flooring, babies can crawl around and explore the interactive music makers on the perimeter. In the center of the room is a Playshaper structure that has a variety of slides and climbing activities. This area gets crowded at certain times (especially when the preschool lets out), so if you have little ones, try to make it an early morning activity.
Bellaboos Play and Discovery Center (Lake Station, IN)
2800 Colorado Street
Lake Station, IN 46405
A little further off the map, but worth the drive! Enjoy tons of interactive play areas appropriate for infants up to kids nine years old. Special daily events such as cooking shows, storytime and creative discovery classes change daily. Open daily from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm, the current pricing ranges from $3.95 to $9.95 and is listed here. Visit any weekday after 3:30 to get $2 off each admission.
Children’s Museums in Chicago’s Southwest Suburbs
KidsWork Children’s Museum (Frankfort)
11 S. White Street
Frankfort, IL 60423
This children’s museum is ideal for babies up to kids 9 years old. There is a separate play area for crawlers that houses play mats, soft toys, and small slides and climbing equipment made for babies. Upstairs, there is a stage for dress-up, a pretend grocery store and kitchen, musical instruments, and a craft area. Housed inside an old barn, there are other shops to check out and a café serving coffee, ice cream, and baked goodies for the kids. And even better, babies are free up to 1 year! They are closed Mondays. Click here for current hours and admission fees. Don’t forget to check your local library for the Museum Adventure Pass. If available at your library, it will get you a ‘buy one admission, get one free’ deal.
The Children’s Museum in Oak Lawn
5100 Museum Drive
Oak Lawn, IL 60453
Pretend you are a vet in an animal shelter, make something in the ‘build-it workshop’, and use your senses at the water adventure exhibit. Toddlers can role-play in the police and fire fighter section or paint and create sculptures and recycled art in the art studio. There is also a tummy time area with obstacles and play toys for infants to explore (and kids under 1 are FREE!). Find pricing and hours here. Note, they are closed on Mondays. Don’t forget to check your local library for the Museum Adventure Pass. If available at your library, it will get you one free child admission with one paid adult.
Libraries with Baby- and Toddler-Friendly Play Areas in the Southwest Suburbs
During the day, your local library can be a great place to spend some play time. There are often classes and story times going on for younger kids and there aren’t any students studying in the daytime, so the toddler noise levels are often tolerated with more patience.
Tinley Park Public Library
7851 Timber Drive
Tinley Park, IL 60477
Aside from the wonderful programs and storytimes offered, the entire second floor of this library is devoted to youth services. Enjoy board games and puzzles for all ages and quaint reading areas to read to your babies. A new separate area for babies and toddlers is full of age-appropriate toys, including soft blocks, felt boards, a train table, and a Lego/Duplo table. As with many public libraries, members can check out the Museum Adventure Pass, which offers free or discounted admission to many museums in the Chicagoland area. The Tinley Park Library is a great spot to spend a nice morning out and to meet and play with other tiny friends.
Orland Park Public Library
14921 Ravinia Avenue
Orland Park, IL 60462
The Orland Park Library has an incredible play area for the littles. There are great nooks for reading, a puppet theater, sensory toys, and puzzles galore. The area is spread out and includes so much crawling space for the babies and room to explore for the toddlers. iPads stocked with educational games and book listening stations are always a big hit. Many of the youth programs are limited to members (the site will tell you if a card number is required to register), but many storytimes are open for anyone to attend.
Oak Lawn Public Library
9427 S. Raymond Avenue
Oak Lawn, IL 60453
Offering a large area for the kids to play and read, the Oak Lawn Library is a great place to spend a cold day! Grab a coffee at the in-house café and head to the youth section to let the babies play and crawl. They also offer a ‘baby and toddler time program’ (registration not required) a few times a month with reading, singing, playing, and dancing! This library offers great ways to burn off some energy.
New Lenox Public Library
120 Veterans Parkway
New Lenox, Illinois 60451
The youth services are wonderful for babies and toddlers. Come play with the countless games and puzzles or read under a giant tree! Programs include art and music classes, Lego club, and many interactive story times.
Malls and Restaurants with Play Areas for Babies and Toddlers in the Southwest Suburbs
Orland Square Mall Play Area (Orland Park)
288 Orland Square Drive
Orland Park, IL 60462
This updated play area opened in November of 2017 and has been a wonderful addition to the mall. While the update added numerous STEAM stations for older children, it kept a closed in area for children 2 and under that has soft slides, climbing equipment, and wall games. The 1800-square-foot play area has something for everyone and with a Starbucks just steps away, mom and dad can relax and rest their feet after a long day of shopping. Also good to note, a carousel (fees apply) and Build a Bear Workshop surround this area so be prepared for requests!
Various locations, including Bolingbrook, Chicago Ridge, Orland Park, and Oswego; find your nearest here.
While other fast food restaurants offer a play area, the Chick-fil-A playgrounds are more geared toward toddlers. The equipment is smaller and less intimidating for even the newest walkers and crawlers.
Open Gyms for Little Kids in the Southwest Suburbs
Open Gym is also a great way to burn off some excess winter energy. Here are some gyms that have specific preschool or younger open gyms.
Looking for more ideas? Check out our round-up of places to go with a baby or toddler in the west suburbs, or look at all our ideas for indoor activities.