Beat the HeatIf you’re just tuning into our Beat the Heat, Indoor Play Series, we’ve been talking about great places in the Charlotte area for kids to get moving, burn some energy, and have fun inside. I know many kids are headed back to school but, living in North Carolina means that there are still some hot days ahead of us and we all know that it has been quite a rainy summer. This week’s segment features FREE indoor play places and while I can’t say that they all offer opportunities to run, jump, and sweat, there are at least a couple places where kids can be a little more physically active while still staying cool and dry.

If you don’t belong to a membership gym (Gymboree, My Gym, etc), and you don’t feel like forking out the dough for places like Monkey Joes, but you need to get the wiggles out, check out Superior Play Systems for some of the best FREE indoor play in Charlotte. Superior Play is a warehouse filled with outdoor play structures that might go in your backyard. They also have trampolines and basketball hoops (see images below). While admission is generally $4 -$6 per child, they offer Open Play on Wednesday and Friday mornings from 10am-1pm where admission is free!


For slightly more low-key physical activities, check out the play areas at Carolina Place Mall, Concord Mills, and Northlake Mall. All of these areas are free and a great place for kids to climb on a hot day. We love grabbing a treat at Carolina Place Mall and then just playing for a little.

What are your favorite FREE indoor play areas where kids can really get moving?? We are always looking for great spots to safely run free inside.

If you’re looking for unstructured indoor play without all the physical activity, you can check out your local toy store, bookstore, or library. In our area, Brilliant Sky toy store has train tables and areas for kids to do imaginative play, read books, or do a craft project. Toys & Company even has two Charlotte area locations for kids to play and many of the book stores in the area like Barnes and Noble  and Books-a-Million also have special kids’ sections. If you’re looking to let your kids run free, these may not be the places for you, because children should be well-monitored and for safety purposes, climbing, jumping, and running are not really allowed.

Don’t forget to always check for coupons. A good coupon can turn a pay-to-play area into a virtually free activity (see free bowling coupons).

And even though this is the Beat the Heat series, many of these activities are also great when the weather starts to cool down and the cabin fever starts to set in.

Happy playing!!!