As parents and caregivers, it can be difficult to find time to keep the children fed/engaged/socialized/insert all the things here, while also maintaining our own sense of identity — or at least the ability to have a pleasant conversation with another adult.
But play dates are a perfect opportunity to do all of the above. Consider scheduling your next get-together at a more intimate location at a place where the kids can have fun while the adults get the quality time (and maybe even the hot cup of coffee — finally!) we deserve.
The Little Village Playroom
9850 N. Michigan Rd., Carmel
At The Little Village Playroom, parents and caregivers can enjoy free WiFi and coffee while the kids free play or join one of the day’s scheduled activities, such as arts and crafts or a dance party. Bring your own food, drinks and snacks so there’s no need to interrupt the fun — now that’s what we call a productive play date.
6363 Spring Mill Rd., Indianapolis
With 94 acres of green space, including 3.5 miles of trails along the White River, Holliday Park offers plenty of space for exploration and adventure. Outdoors, visit the playground and picnic area, walk down to the White River, or play at The Ruins where you’ll find a children’s water table, fountains, restrooms and more. Take a break from the heat or escape the rain in The Nature Center for plenty of outdoor-inspired indoor fun.
Garfield Park Conservatory
2505 Conservatory Dr., Indianapolis
From “Pollinator Parties” to preschooler’s story time, Garfield Park Conservatory has a wide range of activities for all ages. Though you’re welcome to enjoy the conservatory on your own (it’s free admission for ages 2 and under), pre-registration is required for most activities, so plan your play date accordingly.
The Urban Chalkboard
452 E Carmel Dr., Carmel
While the adults enjoy themselves in the full-service café (espresso, anyone?), the littles can do the same at a variety of play stations from kitchen sets and train tables to the always-popular BEAM light-up interactive play floor. Be sure to bring your socks — they’re required for children and adults.
44 W 40th St., Indianapolis
There’s a lot to love about the newly renovated Tarkington Park near the intersection of 39th and Meridian Streets. Rubber and turf play surfaces? Check. Splash pad? Check. Café, playscapes and restrooms? Check, check — well, you get the idea.
Kid City at Greenwood Community Center
100 Surina Way, Greenwood
Located in the Greenwood Community Center, Kid City is a two-story indoor play zone with two distinct STEAM-focused activity areas that incorporate art, music and more. Let the kids scale up The Luckey Climber (art you can play on!) or jam in the musical garden.
Books & Brews
See website for locations
Squeezing in an evening play date? Restaurants aren’t usually the most ideal places for fun-seeking kids but Books & Brews is another story. Have a pint while the children enjoy free activities on select nights or, on Sunday, enjoy board games together and the kids eat free with the purchase of an adult entree.