At Playtime, Explore the Great Indoors

Eric Boysen of Sterling, son Grant and daughter Sophia have their ducks in a row at Claude Moore Recreation Center's pool.
Eric Boysen of Sterling, son Grant and daughter Sophia have their ducks in a row at Claude Moore Recreation Center's pool. (2007 Photo By Tracy A. Woodward -- The Washington Post)
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By Jessica McFadden
Special to The Washington Post
Friday, May 9, 2008

Want to go for a swim when it's raining? How about jumping, skipping and bouncing -- enough to make the floors shake with no threat of neighbors asking you to keep it down? No problem.

Thanks to indoor play areas and pools, not only can your kids let off steam, they also get exercise (read: lower chance for obesity, better sleep, fewer tantrums and, therefore, a better day for mom and dad).

As Kathy Jackson, a Capitol Hill single mother of three boys ages 3, 4 and 8, says, "If I let the boys get their crazies out at home, the house wouldn't be standing!"

Sure, the spring weather might seem perfect for outdoor activities, but just you wait: Torrential rains and the infamous Washington summer will be here soon.

Play Spaces

The Family Room

411 Eighth St. SE; 202-640-1865

In the heart of Capitol Hill, this indoor play area geared toward children through age 6 features a large climbing structure, a smorgasbord of toys for all ages, art supplies and a dress-up center for imaginative play. Regularly scheduled story, craft and music times are also offered throughout the day.

"We love it here," says Robert Pohl, a Northeast Washington dad to almost-3-year-old Ian Herzog-Pohl. "We come whenever it is too hot or too cold to go to the park, and it really helped us out when our home was being remodeled and we needed a place to play."

An all-day pass allows families to come in the morning, go home for naps or lunch and return later. The Friday night family movie parties are a cult favorite.

Open: Monday-Thursday 9 to 7, Friday-Saturday 9 to 8, Sundays noon to 6.

Cost: Free for adults and children younger than 1. All-day pass for first child ages 1 to 6 $10, siblings and children older than 6 $5. Monthly and family passes are available.

Open Gym at Barcroft Sports and Fitness Center

4200 S. Four Mile Run, Arlington; 703-228-0701

This large play space is full of toys and provides ample room for children to learn, run and make friends.


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