For active families, the dog days of summer can be tough.
Kids want to run, jump and climb, while parents would prefer not to swelter in the sun.
But here’s the good news: Scattered throughout the greater New Orleans area, parents can find oversized play structures, bounce houses, obstacle courses and even soccer classes — all indoors and air-conditioned.
Combining active play and education is on the program at SoccerTots. Their classes are held in Playmakers Indoor Sports Center in Harahan and on the north shore, so kids can stay cool while practicing their soccer skills.
“It is a whole hodgepodge of education and physical fitness,” said Beth Cloy, regional director of SoccerTots.
“We do have soccer skills, but mostly they’re learning balance, coordination, cognitive skills, listening skills and social skills,” Cloy said.
Available as a full program and for drop-ins, SoccerTots is a perfect way to escape the humid afternoons.
“We make fitness very fun for them while helping their imaginations. We play with so many different props, like balloons and bubbles,” Cloy said. “They like the fact that they are in a soccer class. In their little minds, they think they are playing real soccer.”
At Palm Tree Playground in Metairie, kids can clamber all over structures, trying out their monkey-like skills in a cool environment.
“We have an indoor playground that is open seven days a week. We specialize in walk-in play,” said Heather Hays, owner of Palm Tree Playground. “The actual structure is a lot of fun. There is a lot to do on it, and it is physically challenging. It really tuckers them out.”
“Parents love it because it is clean, safe and small enough that you can see your child at all times (and) big enough though that they can actually burn off energy,” Hays said.
New Orleans has a lot of fun, high-energy indoor play spaces to keep kids of all ages from bouncing off the walls at home:
Kids can learn fundamental soccer skills at SoccerTots. Located at Playmakers Indoor Sports Centers in Harahan, Covington, Mandeville and Hammond, SoccerTots caters to children from ages 18 months through 6 years.
Parents can go online at www.soccertots.net, check class dates and times at their various locations, and sign up their child for the whole program or at a pro-rated cost. Call (985) 635-9251 for more information.
An indoor inflatable playground and popular birthday party destination, BooKoo Bounce is also open for walk-in play on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
BooKoo Bounce has giant inflatable bouncers, slides and obstacle courses. Children 2 to 11 years old can release pent-up energy in this space. Visit www.bookoobounce.com or call (504) 835-6424 for walk-in play availability. Admission is $8 per child for 90 minutes of playtime. 5604 Blessey St., Harahan.
Palm Tree Playground
Children have a fun space to play at Palm Tree Playground. With areas specifically designed for babies, toddlers and big kids, this indoor play space has age-appropriate structures and equipment designed to be both challenging and fun. Walk-in play is generally available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Check online at www.palmtreeplayground.com or call (504) 828-8164 for details. Admission is $8 for children ages 4 to 10; $6 for children age 6 months to 3 years. 3011 N. I-10 Service Road, Metairie.
Louisiana Children’s Museum
For an educational and active play space, Louisiana Children’s Museum has more than 30,000 square feet of exhibit space. This multilevel interactive play space has a separate toddler area plus plenty of exhibits and play areas for older children. Open seven days a week during the summer from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $8.50 per person, adults and children. LCM members and children younger than 1 are admitted free. 420 Julia St. (504) 523-1357 or visit www.lcm.org.
The Monkey Room
An Uptown indoor play space with slides, obstacles and climbing structures, the Monkey Room is a huge, custom-designed play structure for children up to 10 years old. Open Wednesday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $9 for all-day play, and $7 for toddlers to play in the toddler area only. 1501 Religious St., (504) 301-2695; www.monkeyroom.net.