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20 Free Indoor Play Areas in Columbus

These Free Indoor Play Areas in Columbus, Ohio will help you and your kids avoid cabin fever when it’s cold or rainy!

Luckily for us, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to play in Columbus, Ohio, and when it comes to playing inside, there are a lot of FREE options! A lot of these play areas are great for toddlers but if you’re looking for something to do with elementary school kids or older, check out this list of 10 free indoor activities in Columbus for even more ideas!

Just a note on these free indoor play areas . . . hours at these places tend to change a lot depending on the season, so I’ve left them off to avoid confusion or misinformation! Please check directly with each location by clicking on the website link I’ve included to make sure you have the most up-to-date information possible!

This post was updated on May 2, 2024.

Make note of these Free Indoor Play Areas in Columbus for cold and rainy days!

If you need to pass a morning inside but you also need to GET OUT OF THE HOUSE, keep this list of indoor playgrounds handy! You may also want to check out The Complete List of Columbus Play Cafes for more indoor ideas!

1. Blendon Woods Metro Park Nature Center

metro park nature center in Columbus, Ohio
  • 4265 E. Dublin-Granville Road Westerville, OH 43081
  • Website

Tips: Inside the Nature Center there are puzzles, activities and books for kids. See more about what to do at the Nature Center in Exploring Blendon Woods Metro Park!

2. Westerville Community Center

free indoor play area at westerville rec center
  • 350 N. Cleveland Ave., Westerville, OH 43082
  • Website

Tips: The Westerville Community Center offers an indoor playground for kids as well as indoor programming during the fall and winter months for young children. Read more about this in my list of free indoor activities for kids in Columbus or check out my list of things to do in Westerville to plan your outing!

3. Grange Insurance Audubon Center

free indoor play area at scioto audubon
  • 505 W. Whittier St., Columbus OH 43215
  • Website

Tips: The indoor play area here also includes a “cave” to play in and there are also weekly story times for the preschool age! See more to do at the Audubon Center in 9 Things to do with Your Kids at Scioto Audubon. Also see: 2 MORE Great Metro Park Natures Centers for Columbus Kids!

4. Scoops and Chutes Playground at Graeter’s Ice Cream

indoor play area at graeter's ice cream bethel rd.
  • 2136 Bethel Rd., Columbus, OH 43220
  • Website

Tips: Socks are required to play on the indoor playground and can be bought for $1 if you forget!

5. Polaris Fashion Place

  • 1500 Polaris Parkway , Columbus, OH 43240
  • Website

This mall is home to a few different options for indoor play listed here:

Zoo Play Area at Polaris Fashion Place

free indoor play area at Polaris Fashion Place, Columbus, Ohio

Tips: Shoes must be removed to play. The area has recently been redone and only has one exit/entrance which is great for keeping an eye on wandering toddlers!

Pottery Barn Kids at Polaris Fashion Place

boys at free indoor play area at pottery barn kids

Tips: PBK usually has toys out for play on both sides of the store (boys and girls) and my kids love them all!

6. Bexley Public Library

  • 2411 E Main St., Columbus, OH 43209
  • Website

Tips: Bexley Public Library has an amazing play area for kids! One of the most spacious kids areas around town, this space offers educational and imaginative play activities for kids!

7. Battelle Darby Nature Center

free indoor play area at battelle darby creek metro park area
  • 1775 Darby Creek Dr Galloway, OH 43119
  • Website

Tips: The nature center has a living stream as well as a small kids’ area to play in.  There are preschool programs inside the center on Tuesdays! See 2 Great Metro Park Nature Centers for Columbus Kids.

8. Columbus Metropolitan Libraries

free indoor play area at columbus metropolitan library
  • Main Library: 96 S. Grant Ave., Columbus, OH 43215
  • Website
  • Hours vary by library and can be found here.

Tips: So many of the branches of Columbus Metropolitan Library have great areas for indoor play! I shared my favorites here and here! Of course, many other area libraries have areas for play too! Check out the locations for Worthington, Westerville, Delaware County, Grove City, and Upper Arlington! You may also want to check out: 2 Fun Libraries for Columbus Kids and 2 MORE Fun Libraries for Columbus Kids!

9. Grandview Heights Public Library

free indoor play at grandview public library
  • 1685 W. 1st Ave., Columbus, OH 43212
  • Website

Tips: I included Grandview’s library separately because they have a really good area for toddlers and preschoolers to play that includes a train table and Duplos! They also have a lot of story times! See the schedule here.

10. United Art and Education

free indoor play area at united arts and education
  • 3622 Fishinger Blvd., Hilliard, OH 43026
  • Website

Tips: First of all, this is a GREAT store for fun and educational kid products! There is a little play area tucked into the front corner of the store with a surprising amount of things to do! Blocks, play groceries, magnets, Calico Critters, and more!

11. Barnes and Noble

free indoor play area at Barnes and Noble

Tips: Barnes and Noble is a hit for kids who love train tables and there are always lots of books to read! There are also story times on Saturdays!

12. The Naz Playplace

free indoor play area at The Naz, Grove City Columbus
  • 4770 Hoover Rd, Grove City, OH 43123
  • Website

Tips: Shoes must be removed and socks worn inside this large indoor playground in Grove City! Socks can be purchased for $1 if you forget. You can also register online before your first visit to save time. Outside the play area there is a cafe where you can purchase food and lots of seating!

13. Central Park at Westerville Christian Church

free indoor play area, Westerville Ohio
  • 471 E. College Ave., Westerville, OH 43081
  • Website

Tips: Shoes must be removed for play in the play area. There is also a rock climbing area here! This cute indoor playground follows all Westerville City Schools closing and delays.

14. The Mall at Tuttle Crossing

free indoor play area at tuttle mall
  • 5043 Tuttle Crossing Blvd, Dublin, OH 43016
  • Website

Tips: This indoor play area in Dublin has a STEAM theme: Science, Technology, Arts and Music. Lots of hands-on, fine motor activity here! My kids particularly loved the Magna-Tiles! (There is also an area with coin-operated vehicles in the food court area!) You can read more about this indoor play area here: NEW! Children’s Play Area at The Mall at Tuttle Crossing

15. Wonder Room at Columbus Museum of Art

The Wonder Room at Columbus Museum of Art.
  • 480 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215
  • Website
  • Free on Sundays only

Tips: This is a area for art and exploration just for kids on the bottom floor of the Art Museum. The Columbus Museum of Art (and this kids’ area) is free on Sundays only!

16. LEGO Store at Easton Town Center

free indoor play at the LEGO store, Columbus, Ohio
  • 4004 Gramercy St., Columbus OH 43219
  • Website

Tips: Most of the time there is a table set up for building with LEGOs and/or Duplos inside the store!

17. Coffee Connections of Hilliard

free indoor play area at Coffee Connections, hilliard Ohio
  • 4004 Main St., Hilliard, OH 43026
  • Website

Tips: Coffee Connections is a coffee shop in Hilliard with a community space and an indoor play area in the back building. This play area is fun for preschoolers and younger and is totally free! (Though, you should probably buy a cup of coffee. 😉 ) See more pictures here. Read this list of things to do in Hilliard to plan your trip!

18. Play Cafe at New Life Church, Gahanna Campus

indoor play area at New Life Gahanna Church
  • 3690 N. Styler Rd., Gahanna, OH 43230
  • Website

Tips: This is a fun little indoor play area for kids ages 6 and under with toys to play with and coffee for the adults! Open play time is scheduled every Wednesday and Friday mornings 10am-12pm. Read this list of fun things to do in Gahanna when you’re in the area!

19. Two Dollar Radio Headquarters

free indoor play area for kids at two dollar radio
  • 1124 Parsons Ave., Columbus, OH 43206
  • Website

Tips: This is a coffee shop/book store with a small area with a kids focus! If you’re looking to have a coffee date while your kids play, this is a great spot! This is a vegan cafe serving, coffee, meals, drinks and special offerings throughout the week. Check out my list of bookstores in Columbus or this list of Children’s Bookstores in Central Ohio for more ideas!

20. Blacklick Woods Metro Park Nature Center

Inside the free Nature Center at Blacklick Woods Metro Park.
  • 6975 East Livingston Ave., Reynoldsburg OH
  • Website

Tips: This Metro Park Nature Center has an indoor water feature that is home to a turtle and a lot of fish! There are lots of interactive elements for kids at this Nature Center like arts and crafts, a puppet show, kids’ binoculars for bird watching and more!

I hope this list of indoor play areas in Columbus gets you through the winter! I know we will be making use of many of these free indoor play places as the weather gets cold and I get cabin fever!

Need more ideas? Try 100 Fun Things to do in Columbus, Ohio


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Wednesday 6th of March 2019

A great and nice list and I am amazed that it's all free.


Sunday 9th of February 2020

I too am amazed that this is all free.

Thiago :D

Friday 29th of September 2017

duuuuuuude !! just wanted to say: THANK YOU !! your work is freakin' amazing !! everything so well explained and simple to read =) just wanted to let you know that your work is very appreciated (I know that you know, but you know ... its good to know that is appreciated haha :D) much love #Peace from Brazil

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