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We all know the best thing about San Diego is the weather. But sometimes all that sun can be too much for little bodies, especially when they won’t sit still for multiple sunscreen applications.

So what’s left to do when it’s too warm for the park and too crowded at the beach? Here’s a guide to some inside fun that can be had when the slides are just too darn hot.

Indoor play areas

Kid Ventures, 5066 Santa Fe St., Pacific Beach; (858) 272-2266; a second Eastlake location, 851 Showroom Place No. 101, is scheduled to open midsummer.

Cost: $12 per child; $8 for additional siblings. Parents are free.

Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays; 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays; closed Sundays for private parties.

Standouts: There’s a princess castle with two slides, a giant pirate ship and a stage with a microphone, along with lots of other themed rooms.

Snacks: There’s a cafe that caters to moms with espresso drinks, salads and sandwiches, as well as healthy snacks for kids.


Kidsville, 12760 Danielson Court, Suite F, Poway; (858) 513-2529

Cost: $10 for first child; $6 for additional siblings; parents and non-walkers are free with paid admission.

Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays through Fridays; 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays.

Standouts: A track for kid-friendly cars that circles the play area, a jumping mat and a special room for babies.

Snacks: A small snack bar serves juice boxes and treats.


• Play Town, 858 Jackman St., El Cajon; (619) 447-7529

Cost: $8 for first child; $6 for second sibling; $4 for third sibling; $2 for fourth sibling. Parents are free.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays; closed weekends for private parties.

Standouts: A bounce house, a charming cottage and a plastic tree that toddlers can climb on.

Snacks: You can buy some staples, like juice and crackers, but this is one of the few facilities that allow you to bring your own food.


My Kids Clubhouse, two locations

5034 Bonita Road, Suite C, Bonita; (619) 434-8676

12636 Poway Road, Suite 4, Poway; (858) 668-2838

Cost: $8 for first child; $6 for additional siblings. Parents and babies under age 1 are free with admission.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays; 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Standouts: A superfast triple slide for older kids, a ball pit.

Snacks: Coffee, juice and kids’ treats, like pudding.


Pump It Up, four locations

9370 Waples St., Suite 102, Sorrento Valley; (858) 658-9968

751 Design Court, Suite A, Chula Vista; (619) 216-9812

12760 Danielson Court, Poway; (858) 748-4600

445 Ryan Drive, Suite 103, San Marcos; (760) 510-8000

Pump It Up is mostly for private parties, but each location has its own set of “Pop-in Playtime” hours during the week.

Cost: Between $6 and $10, depending on location.

Hours: Call for “Pop-in Playtime” hours.


Java Mama

9880 Hibert St., Suite E3, Scripps Ranch; (858) 566-6011

Cost: $1 to $3.50, depending on the time.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays; closed Sundays.

Standouts: A two-story playhouse, baby-friendly classes.

Snacks: A full coffee menu, organic baby food and formula.



There are some museums that let kids run around, explore and, yes, even touch the art.

The New Children’s Museum, 200 W. Island Ave., downtown; (619) 233 8792.

Cost: $10 for adults and children; $5 for seniors and military; free for kids under 1.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays; Noon to 4 p.m. Sundays; closed on Wednesdays.

Standouts: A rainbow jumper, hands-on paint projects, a rock-climbing wall.

Snacks: A cafe with sandwiches and treats from Whole Foods. Espresso drinks.


Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, 1875 El Prado, Balboa Park; (619) 238-1233

Cost: $8.75 for ages 3 to 12; $10 for adults. Does not include IMAX film.

Hours: Vary

Standouts: The Science Center’s interactive exhibits, an upstairs play area specifically for kids ages 5 and younger.

Snacks: There is a cafe that serves lunch items, but keep in mind that it’s pricey.



Sometimes the best places for kids are right under your nose.

IKEA, 2149 Fenton Parkway, Mission Valley; (619) 563-4532

Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays

What’s for kids? Parents can drop off kids who meet a height requirement (generally around age 3) in a small play area that has a ball pit and other activities. The restaurant has a separate play area with a TV, toys and a plastic table for eating those Swedish meatballs. The children’s furniture section also has chairs to try and beds to climb.


Borders, various San Diego locations

What’s for kids? Borders has weekly story hours for kids (with standouts in Mission Valley and Carmel Valley), and its children’s section has cozy nooks for browsing the latest picture books.


Barnes & Noble, various San Diego locations

What’s for kids? Some chains offer weekly story times. The children’s section is expansive and bookworms can get caught up for hours.


The Yellow Book Road, 7200 Parkway Drive, Suite 118, La Mesa; (619) 463-4900

What’s for kids? This is a kids-only bookstore that offers a story time every Saturday at 10 a.m. for preschool through second grade. A baby story hour is held every Friday at 9:30 a.m.


The Home Depot, various locations

What’s for kids? The first Saturday of each month, the do-it-yourself chain offers free, hands-on workshops for kids ages 5 through 12 where they make items like a butterfly house and a planter. The store is also a place of wonder for kids into light switches and tools.


San Diego Public Library, various locations

What’s for kids? Plenty of local libraries have cozy children’s areas and story times.

To check for events:

Trains Are Good, 3683 Midway Dr., Suite F, Point Loma; (619) 294-8372.

What’s for kids? This train store has a free story hour every Tuesday at 4 p.m. and a train table for kids to play with.



Chuck E. Cheese, various locations

Hours: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays; 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

What’s for kids? This classic pizza and games establishment is still around, so get ready for some Skee-ball.


John’s Incredible Pizza, 3010 Plaza Bonita Road, National City (in the mall); (619) 472-5555

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays.

What’s for kids? This new pizza place has a tiny roller coaster, bumper cars and tons more things to keep kids entertained long past nap time.


Corvette Diner, 2965 Historic Decatur Road, Point Loma; (619) 542-1476

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

What’s for kids? This American food haven’s relatively new Point Loma location now has a separate play area with video games that even preschoolers can enjoy.