Indoor Play Places in the Iowa City Area

On days when it’s too cold (hello Iowa winters) or wet (hello Iowa springs) for outdoor play, or your kids are just tired of the snow and rain, there are some awesome local indoor play places where your little ones can burn off their energy.

Thank you to our good friend – and sponsor – CHOMP Delivery for making this guide to local indoor play spaces possible. After a day of fun, use code PlayPlace for free delivery! This promotion is good for five uses between January and March 1, 2022. 

Note: many of these indoor spaces have limited hours, mask requirements, and other safety policies due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Be sure to call the play space ahead of your visit if you have questions about their virus protocols or any changes to their current operations during this time.

Indoor Play Places in the Iowa City Area

Guide to Indoor Play Places in the Iowa City area

Coralville Indoor Play Places

The Iowa Children’s Museum

Age Range: All ages
Cost: $9 per person, $8 for seniors, free for kids under 1 (military families receive discounts and some free admissions, check the website for current details)
Days/Times: Tuesday – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Closed Mondays. Member hours 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. Wednesday – Friday.
COVID-19 Policy: Families must purchase tickets online and are asked to wear masks. View the full COVID-19 policy on the Iowa Children’s Museum website.

At The Iowa Children’s Museum, playing is learning! In this one-of-a-kind space, children can imagine what it’s like to walk on the moon, create masterpieces in the art studio, discover how the human body works, and explore the science behind skateboarding. Conveniently located in Coral Ridge Mall, this interactive space is designed to encourage free play (a critical part of child development) while also building skills related to school readiness, STEM, financial literacy, health, and the arts.

Members of the museum can visit as often as they like and receive a 10% discount on summer camps, birthday parties, purchases in the Think Tank Toy Story, and other museum programming. As a part of the Association of Children’s Museums’ Reciprocal Network, members also get half-price admission at nearly 200 other children’s museums throughout the country. There’s always something new at The Iowa Children’s Museum, so COME PLAY!

There is never enough time to explore everything offered here! If you plan to go frequently or have a large family, you will save a bundle with their membership plans. Check out their website for free days, special guests, and themes.

Iowa Children's Museum

Coral Ridge Mall Play Area

Age Range: Crawling and up
Cost: Free
Days/Times: Monday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
COVID-19 Policy: Coral Ridge Mall complies with all local and state safety regulations. You can view the mall’s health and sanitation measures on its website.

Watch your kiddos play while you sip an Orange Julius. Head down to the mall carousel and coin-operated riding toys when you’re done.

Coralridge Mall indoor play space

Coralville Public Library

Storytime is available on Facebook Live and YouTube. Check with the library on play spaces.

Iowa City Indoor Play Places

Tot Time at Mercer Park

The Iowa City Parks and Recreation website indicates it is offering tot-time through preregistration. For more information, call 319-356-5100.
COVID-19 Policy: The City of Iowa City requires masks in public. Learn more by visiting the city’s website.

Head to Scanlon Gym for all things fun! Inflatables, climbing and riding toys, playhouses, and more! Kids will absolutely stay busy and burn off energy. Don’t forget to say hi to Herky in the lobby and take a dip in their indoor pool! For older kids, ask about using their game room and equipment rentals and schedules.

Mercer Park indoor play space

Iowa City Public Library

Hours: Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.

The Iowa City Public Library is not currently open for in-person use. Families can check out books, toys, and multimedia. Storytimes and programs are happening in person, but the library asks families to borrow toys and take them home to play. Visit the library website for more information.

Dodge Street Coffeehouse

A cozy playspace for children while you sip your coffee. Drive-thru is also available.

Ages: Smaller children
Cost: Free
Days/Times: Monday – Friday 6 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday 7 a.m. – 4 p.m., Sunday 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Planet 3 Extreme Air Park

Ages: All ages
Cost: 2 and under-free; check out the prices online. Bring socks!
Days/Times: Monday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
COVID-19 Policy: Temperature checks and masks are required. View the park’s full COVID-19 policy on its website.

Enjoy endless trampolines, foam pits, a trapeze line, a ninja obstacle course and more. Parents of little ones can enjoy the designated area so they don’t sustain injuries with the big kids and adults. Check out their website linked above for discount dates and times.

Colonial Lanes

Ages: All ages
Cost: Bowling: Under $5 a game per person + Shoe rental at $2.75.
Days/Times: Hours vary per season and league so check their website for the most up-to-date schedule.
COVID-19 policy: Contact Colonial Lanes directly for information.

Break out your moves for a family game of bowling or putt-putt golf at this Iowa City gem. Food and drink are also available for purchase. Visit the Colonial Lanes Facebook page for the most updated information.

North Liberty Indoor Play Places

Kids Campsite at the North Liberty Community Center

Age Range: Kids 48 inches or shorter
Cost: Free
Days/Times: Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 8 p.m., weekends 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
COVID-19 Policy: The City of North Liberty requires masks in indoor buildings.

Open Gym at Synergy Gymnastics

Age Range: All Ages
Cost: $6 per child, cash only (If you are taking classes there you can charge the fee to your parent account.)
Days/Times: Visit the Synergy Gymnastics Facebook page or inquire directly.
COVID-19 Policy: Contact Synergy Gymnastics directly for information.

Come for an hour of fun! There are areas set aside for the crawling/just walking age, small gymnastics equipment for toddlers, and larger equipment for bigger kids. Enjoy the trampoline, foam pit, and inflatable bounce house.

Synergy Gymnastics

North Liberty Public Library

Hours: Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

The library is open for storytimes and programming. Visit the library website for details.

What did we miss? Share your favorite indoor play spaces in the Iowa City area!

Related: check out some arts & crafts ideas and kids’ activities from Iowa City Moms!

About Our Sponsor

CHOMP Delivery logoHungry? CHOMP delivers! CHOMP is the Corridor’s favorite way to order takeout and delivery from local restaurants. Order on the web or via mobile app and CHOMP will provide you with quick and reliable service no matter where you are located in the Iowa City area. Check out their massive list of participating restaurants, and order exactly what you want when you want it.

Katie is a spouse, mother, and professional communicator. She became acquainted with Iowa City as a student at the University of Iowa, earning degrees in Journalism, Political Science, and most recently her MA in Strategic Communication. Katie and her husband met and fell in love in Iowa City, deciding to never leave. Their family can often be found eating their way through downtown, walking their dog in City Park, or cheering on their beloved Hawkeyes at live sporting events.


  1. Thanks so much for these! We’ve been checking them out, and we found that the North Liberty Community Center’s campsite is closed indefinitely for Covid. But they said they are reevaluating it each week. Hopefully it’s open soon!


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