Amusement parks aren’t just a summer attraction, with a variety of indoor entertainment complexes delighting visitors across the country. These indoor amusement parks make all the high-speed thrills and family-friendly fun possible year-round, even in the coldest areas of the U.S.
Most indoor amusement venues have everything that outdoor parks have – including giant roller coasters. Many have rides and attractions for people of all ages, while some are geared toward younger kids specifically. You’ll sometimes find indoor theme parks as part of a larger resort or hotel; staying on-site may make visiting the park easier, especially if you have young children who might need a break in the middle of the day. Whatever you seek, these top indoor amusement parks across the U.S. boast all kinds of rides and slides for families to enjoy no matter the weather.
Top Regional Destinations:
iPlay America: Freehold, New Jersey
(Courtesy of iPlay America)
Spanning nearly 4 acres of indoor space in New Jersey, iPlay America has something for everyone in the family. Engage your competitive side by playing laser tag or racing on the go-karts, among a variety of other games and attractions. Adventurous ones can hop on one of the four-person cars that make up Freedom Rider: Each car spins freely as you navigate the twists and drops of this indoor roller coaster ride. Young visitors (ages 4 to 12) will have a blast at Ballocity, featuring three stories of fun that spans climbing tubes and slides to blasters that shoot out foam balls. Visitors love the wide variety of entertainment options, with many recommending iPlay America for birthday celebrations. Note that the amusement rides are priced separately from the games, arcade and Ballocity.
Nickelodeon Universe in American Dream: East Rutherford, New Jersey
Touted as the largest indoor theme park in the Western Hemisphere, New Jersey’s Nickelodeon Universe inside the American Dream mall lives up to its reputation. From roller coasters to a banana swing, there are rides for every age and type of person. In fact, past guests appreciated that this park doesn’t cater only to children, saying there are plenty of thrill rides for adults to enjoy too. As kids roll and climb in the Slime Zone, older guests can test out Sandy’s Blasting Bronco roller coaster (which has a 52-inch height requirement). In addition to all the rides and add-on experiences at Nickelodeon Universe, kids will love seeing their favorite characters scattered about the park, with live character entertainment that will dazzle younger park guests.
Nickelodeon Universe in Mall of America: Bloomington, Minnesota
(Courtesy of Mall of America)
Minnesota, like New Jersey, boasts a location of the Nickelodeon Universe park. This Mall of America destination – one of the largest indoor theme parks in the U.S. – houses more than two dozen rides and attractions. There is lots of family fun to be had during your visit, from helping rid a haunted mansion of unwanted guests on the interactive Ghost Blasters ride to getting a thrill on the SpongeBob SquarePants Rock Bottom Plunge coaster. Younger guests will love the Paw Patrol-themed Adventure Bay, where they can climb and slide surrounded by beloved Nickelodeon characters. Travelers love this indoor amusement park’s variety and recommend getting here early to avoid lines. What’s more, spend the night at the JW Marriott Minneapolis Mall of America, which is located within the mall.
Scene 75 Entertainment Center: Dayton, Ohio
Home to the Tsunami – one of the largest roller coasters in Ohio – Scene 75 in Dayton has something for everyone. Perch atop a dragon or an elephant on the two-story carousel, check out the mini bowling alley, or plummet 35 feet with a ride on the Drop Tower. If the rides and arcade games aren’t enough to amuse you, explore the Great Wall of China, go on a dinosaur safari or choose from nine other adventures in the 4D theater. There’s also an on-site bar and plenty of pub fare. Recent visitors rave about the wide variety of games and activities for all ages, with many saying they can’t wait to return to Scene 75.
Knuckleheads: Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
Who doesn’t love a trampoline park? At Knuckleheads, not only can you jump in a large open trampoline area, but you can also test your skills at the Slam Dunk Basketball Hoops, the Bigair “Stunt” Bag for jumps and flips, and even a trampoline dodge ball court. But if jumping isn’t for you, don’t worry: Knuckleheads also has rides, bowling and one of Wisconsin Dells’ largest arcades (but note that these are priced separately from the trampoline park). Families and friends can compete against each other in the virtual reality area, with advanced graphic technology making for an exciting time. Travelers appreciate the on-site food options, allowing parents and children alike to refuel with a pretzel or some pizza.
Tom Foolerys Adventure Park, Kalahari Resort: Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
(Courtesy of Kalahari Resorts & Conventions)
At Kalahari Resorts in Wisconsin Dells, Tom Foolerys Adventure Park unfurls across 100,000 square feet – plenty of space for indoor entertainment. Park patrons can ride the Ferris wheel or brave G-Force One, which flips and twirls you as it swings. Little kids will have a ball on the Lil’ Toucan Climb, a ropes course just for them; RevoFOOLtion, which swings in all directions; and the safari-themed carousel. The park also has several activities equipped with light features, like a light-up rock climbing wall and black light mini golf. Visitors love the wide variety of games and rides here, from laser tag to go-kart racing. You can purchase a day pass to access this indoor amusement park or bundle admission with an overnight stay at the resort.
KidZania is not your traditional amusement park – and not just because it is indoors. This Dallas attraction is an expansive and interactive play city designed primarily for children ages 4 to 14. KidZania is essentially a game of make-believe brought to life, where kids can live out their dreams of being a doctor, construction worker, news anchor, firefighter and more at the various stations. With around 100 professions to choose from, every youngster is bound to find something that interests them here. Daring older kids can do some supervised wall climbing or brave a ropes course. Younger visitors (ages 2 to 4) can race around the Toddler’s Neighborhood in a kid-sized car or indulge their curiosity at the Early Stimulation Center. Parents who visit KidZania say they love how kids can gain some independence here, since most activities are parent-free.
Planet Obstacle: Lake Mary, Florida
You can keep kids active even in poor weather at Planet Obstacle. Billed as the world’s largest indoor obstacle park, this 50,000-square-foot entertainment venue located about 15 miles north of Orlando was created by two Cirque de Soleil veterans and provides all kinds of challenging activities for ages 3 and older. Planet Obstacle offers ropes courses and obstacle courses that emulate “American Ninja Warrior,” with options geared toward both children and adults. This indoor amusement park is also equipped with a zip line, climbing walls, a trampoline park, bumper cars, ball pits and more – plus a Toddler Area to amuse the littlest ones. You can always stop by the on-site Sky Café to recharge your energy after braving the spider wall or trying out the trampoline basketball court. Travelers say they’re impressed by the offerings at this activity center and they appreciate the way these obstacle courses engage both body and mind.
The Adventuredome: Las Vegas
It should come as no surprise that a city known for bright lights and endless excitement plays host to an indoor amusement park. Located at Circus Circus Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, the Adventuredome is home to Canyon Blaster, a one-of-a-kind indoor roller coaster with a double-loop, double-corkscrew design. You’ll find plenty other rides here too, ranging from the El Loco coaster to bumper cars, spinning rides and more. The Bank Heist Laser Challenge will have participants weaving through a maze of lasers to crack the code and get free, while daredevils can climb the rock wall or go bungee jumping – all indoors. When you need a break, sit back enjoy one of the 4D experiences offered at the theater. Past patrons say the Adventuredome is a great place to take kids in Las Vegas. The park is free to enter, but you’ll have to buy an all-day pass to access the rides.
Great Wolf Lodge: Garden Grove, California
(Courtesy of Great Wolf Lodge)
This Great Wolf Lodge location in Southern California is more than just an indoor water park resort; you’ll find plenty of activities out of the water as well. But the indoor water park is certainly the main attraction, with a four-story aquatic treehouse, a lazy river, a Howlin’ Tornado raft ride full of twists and turns down a funnel, and loads of other fun water rides. However, young guests will love the attractions on dry land as well. The kid-friendly MagiQuest has participants choose their own magic wand, which they can use throughout the lodge to complete a special quest. The more standard attractions at Great Wolf Lodge include the Northern Lights Arcade with arcade games for all ages as well as bowling and mini-golf. Guests appreciate the family-friendly atmosphere and say that young children and adults alike can enjoy it – making this amusement-focused resort an ideal weekend getaway destination for families.