Ultimate Guide to Indoor Play Areas in Columbia

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Summer in famously hot Columbia can offer a lot of opportunities — from volunteering to water play to reading programs to travel, and everything in between!

But what about those days when the temps are over 100 degrees and you break a sweat just walking to the car, so you decide to stay home? Or those lazy, stormy days where everyone is going stir-crazy, and you just have to get out of the house? Or during colder temps when you just want to take refuge inside?

After a while you’ve all trampled on each other last nerves, the kids have ganged up on you to make the biggest mess possible, and even the most devoted video game user has screen fatigue. Check out this list of indoor activities to keep kids occupied and entertained on any budget.

Free (and Almost Free) Activities

Mall Play Areas (and more)

Columbiana Center

The mall has a playground area with an outdoor theme — tree slide, play canoe, forest animals to climb on and more. Height restriction is 48 inches, so it’s great for those learning to walk or more experienced movers (located near JC Penny’s). Be sure to bring some dollars and quarters to ride the merry-go-round at the food court, coin-operated amusement rides and ride-around stuffed animals.

100 Columbiana Cir, Columbia, SC 29212  (803) 732-6255

Columbia Place Mall

A climbing and sliding structure is located near the Food Court, as well as coin-operated amusement rides.

7201 Two Notch Rd, Columbia, SC 29223  (803) 788-4678

Richland Mall

There is a climbing and sliding structure near the food court that has been roped off for awhile. However Barnes and Noble has a children’s area with puzzles and tons of books (obviously). Bonus: There are glass elevators and escalators can provide lots of indoor entertainment. Since the mall has few stores, there is plenty of room for kids to run.

3400 Forest Dr, Columbia, SC 29204   (803) 782-7575

columbiana centre


Local Libraries

Many, if not all, local libraries offer a play area for children. They also offer various story times, puppet shows, family game nights, craft clubs, etc. Check out these links to see what is offered at the branch closest to you. Richland Library Downtown even boasts a state-of-the-art mother’s room (trust us, it’s top-notch!).

Lexington County Library

Richland County Library

Kershaw County Library

Newberry County Library


Museums

Columbia Museum of Art

There is a small, cute children’s play area on the first floor. The rest of the museum requires admission. Join them monthly for Glady’s Gang, a free art class, but be sure to reserve your spot online since space is limited and fills up quickly. 

1515 Main Street, Columbia, SC 29201  (803) 799-2810


Activities That Cost

Museums

EdVenture Children’s Museum 

The whole museum is really a huge, educational play area — a giant firetruck kids can climb onto and explore, a farm with a tractor that cranks up, a real life cockpit kids can climb into … just to name a few. There is a dedicated play area for ages three and under on the 2nd floor in My Backyard (including a non-walking area with age-appropriate toys and a nursing area). Check their calendar for special events and activities that may be of interest.

211 Gervais Street, Columbia, SC 29201  (803) 779-3100

SC State Museum  

There are many places to “play” in the State Museum, particularly in the hands-on Science area on the 3rd floor. There is also a play area on the 1st floor with a tree house, building area, performing stage, and much more! Children may also be interested in the life-sized train you can climb aboard, as well as the schoolhouse, stuffed animal exhibits like the woolly mammoth, 4-D theater, and featured exhibit.

301 Gervais St, Columbia, SC 29214  (803) 898-4921

SC State Museum Play Area | Columbia SC Moms Blog


Indoor Play Facilities

Summit Adventure Park

This indoor park includes jumping activities such as Olympic trampolines, two basketball hoops, a designated toddler area for children, wipe out, ultimate dodgeball, a giant airbag, ninja course, and of course, a bunch of interconnected trampolines to experience adventure on every visit. 

2245 Charleston Highway, Cayce SC 29033  (803) 570-8184

Frankie’s Fun Park

Frankie’s offers fun for all ages! Mini golf, batting cages, road courses, drop zone, bumper boats, arcade, and more! 

140 Parkridge Dr, Columbia, SC 29212  (803) 781-2342

Frankies Fun Park | Columbia SC Moms Blog

Flight Adventure Park and Jumping Jacks

With locations in Irmo and Northeast, there is a facility close to everyone! Flight offers indoor trampolines where guests can purchase flight passes for jump times. Both locations also have Jumping Jacks inflatable bounce houses that can be purchased at an additional cost. You can also find video games, laser tag, roller skating, indoor soccer, and ice skating (though availability may be limited depending on location). 

741 Fashion Dr., Columbia, SC 29229  (803) 360-7300

1019 Broad Stone Rd., Irmo, SC 29063  (803) 732-1900

plex hiwire | Columbia SC Moms Blog

Altitude Trampoline Park

This trampoline park offers so much bouncing fun! Guests can find a rock wall, dodgeball area, battle beams, foam pits, wipe-out, kids court, and more! Pricing is around $16 an hour or you can get their monthly pass for $10 which allows two hours a jump time a day. It’s a Columbia favorite!
 

7451 Garner’s Ferry Rd., Columbia, SC 29209  (803) 723-2193

Surge Adventure Park

Surge features a variety of attractions and obstacles with fun games and activities for all ages. Come try your skill as an American Ninja Warrior, play dodgeball with your friends, practice flips in the trampoline park, or just let your little one bounce in the toddler area. 

230 Business Park Blvd, Columbia, SC 29203  (803) 807-9838

PlayMatters

Designed for children ages 0-5, PlayMatters offers rooms designed for each age inspired by the transformative Piaget, Montessori, Bandura and Waldorf philosophies. Through imaginative play children learn critical thinking skills, how to follow simple directions, build expressive and receptive language, increase social skills and learn how manage their emotions.

3685 Leaphart Rd A, West Columbia, SC 29169 (803) 312-5117

Firefly Toys and Games

A family-friendly environment for families, children, and adults to gather to play games, build friendships, and sometimes just hang out. They host weekly events, special tournaments, demos, charity functions, and more! They offer Board Games, Trading Card Games, Classic Games, Educational Games, Roleplaying Games, Miniature Games … there’s something for everyone! 

736-C, St Andrews Rd, Columbia, SC 29210 (803) 996-3473


Various Restaurants

Chuck E Cheese

Chuck E Cheese has arcade games, rides, and other activities kids can enjoy for a nominal fee (token purchase required). If the kids get hungry, pizza and snacks are available (and there is a salad bar if you opt to eat healthier).

1775 Burning Tree Dr, Columbia, SC 29210  (803) 772-0435

Chick-fil-A, select McDonald’s, and other fast-food establishments

These places offer indoor playgrounds to help beat the heat. Be sure to check the area of town closest to you for availability. Chick-fil-A always offers great service and clean facilities and some McDonald’s (like the one in Irmo – currently closed but scheduled to open soon) have huge multi-level equipment with table parents can sit at inside the play area.

CiCi’s Pizza

Cici’s Pizza offers a small arcade. It’s a great way to keep kids occupied for a while if you’re grabbing a meal or just looking for something to do to beat the heat or brave the cold.

Locations vary throughout Columbia. Find the restaurant closest to you.

Dave and Buster’s

Located in the Irmo/Harbison area at Columbiana Mall, Dave & Buster’s offers video games and a giant arcade that is sure to keep kids and adults entertained. Save up tickets to win prizes and enjoy a full menu and bar when you need a break from game play. Bonus: it’s connected to the mall so you can head down to the carousel or children’s play area later. 

100 Columbiana Circle Suite 5, Columbia, SC 29212 (803) 576-4800

Flight Deck

Located in Lexington, the Flight Deck is an aviation-themed family restaurant. Pictures of planes and helicopters cover the walls, and replicas adorn the ceiling and tables of the dining area. There is a diverse menu sure to please any palate and the best part is there is a family friendly arcade kids love! 

109 Old Chapin Road, Lexington, SC 29072 (803) 957-5990

The Side Deck

This gaming café offers board games, card games (like Pokémon), apparel, merchandise, events (for children and adults), and more! In addition, there is a coffee shop inside so you can grab a drink or a snack and let your child enjoying the gaming experience. 

5060 Sunset Blvd, Lexington, SC 29072 (803) 520-7414


Other Indoor Activities

Aquarium and Reptile Conservation Center and Sea Lion Landing at Riverbanks Zoo

These are not specifically play areas — however, they are indoor attractions at the zoo. Enjoy checking out the massive fish tanks full of all sorts of sea life, as well as snakes, alligators, and other creatures in the Aquarium and Reptile Conservation Center. And don’t forget to check out Sea Otter Landing where you can watch sea lions swim above and below water, as well as enjoy conservation exhibits. Other smaller indoor exhibits include the gorillas and koalas. It’s kid-friendly fun and learning!
 

500 Wildlife Pkwy, Columbia, SC 29210  (803) 779-8717 

Admittedly, this is a smaller visitor’s center, and you could probably go through it in about an hour. Check out the movie, habitats, “tree house,” gift shop, and Blue Sky’s mural while you’re there!

100 National Park Road, Hopkins, SC 29061  (803) 803-776-4396 

Columbia Marionette Theatre

It’s not your traditional hand puppet show! These hand-crafted puppets on strings are works of art! Themed puppet shows like “Aladdin” occur almost every week. Shows typically last 45 minutes and puppets can look very lifelike, so make sure your little one is prepared before you visit.
 

401 Laurel St, Columbia, SC 29201  (803) 252-7366

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. This is great, thanks! There’s also Dave and Buster’s arcade in the Columbiana mall as well as Play Live Nation in Irmo and Firefly Books and Games (with an arcade and game tables) in St. Andrews.

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