CONTRIBUTED BY LUCY B.
Sometime in November, the weather in Germany gets truly dreary, and stays that way until sometime in May. Although Germans tend to go out in any weather (just decked out head to toe in rain gear and sturdy boots), the grey, soggy weather doesn’t make for the most fun playground experience. If you have active kids and hate being cooped up indoors all the time, the Indoor Spielplatz is the place for you (and your munchkins).
If you have the time, transportation, and money, you can check out any of the for-profit indoor playlands. These are usually commercially run and very large, offering play opportunities for bigger kids. They usually include some kind of jungle gym or climbing feature, bouncy castles, ball pits, snacks, super-loud music, and plenty of screaming children. Some are really indoor theme parks, offering rides, mazes, bumper cars, climbing walls, fantasy lands, and more. The catch is that they can cost over 10 Euros to enter, and they’re certainly not for every week. In the Stuttgart area, you can check out Sensapolis (the top-of-the-line indoor park), or something like Jolos Kinderwelt. If you’re concerned about price, look out for special deals like Happy Hour entry, where admission is cheaper in the last few hours the park is open.
The cheaper option is the non-profit Indoor Spielplatz. These are usually run by churches or community centers and feature some indoor space for running around as well as some toys and games for little ones. One of our favorites is the one run by Bethelkirche in Stuttgart. They have bouncy toys, Bobby Cars, a ball pit and giant foam building blocks for the kids. You can also bring your own snacks and the church offers coffee for a small donation. These free (donation encouraged, but not required) playgrounds usually cater to the 0-3 year old crowd and are a chance for kids to stretch their legs while parents chat and rest a little. House shoes (slippers) or socks are usually required. Another option is an Eltern Kind Zentrum. They often organize playgroups (Spieltreff), and are welcoming to kids looking for some fun out of the cold. For older kids, try a Jungendhaus, which is a community center that offers after-school programs, meet-ups, cafes, parties and other stimulating activities.