Drop and Shop! South Sound Mall Play Areas

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On a rainy day, the soft play area at your neighborhood mall can look like an oasis. Just leave your credit cards at home if you want to keep this outing frugal!

Here’s a round up of area retail stores with play spaces.

Tacoma Mall-A “Kidgit,” themed play area near the food court

South Hill Mall-Noah’s ark themed soft play area near Old Country Buffet

Super Mall Auburn-Northwest themed soft play area  There is also a merry-go-round by the food court. My friend Brenda and I used to come here a lot. We’d let the kids play until  Henry tried to bite someone. Then we’d do the merry go round and end with a pretzel (after a little hand sanitizer). While the play area is often Swamped, the mall itself is never crowded and easier to navigate than the biggies. *There is a bunch of construction going on here-not sure of the status of the merry go round right now.

Federal Way Mall-I’ve actually never been to the play area here, but my old neighbor Joel used to take his beautiful daughter here from time to time, so I asked him for the scoop. Here’s what he had to say

It is a great distraction for a spouse to take their 2-5 year old while their significant other shops at Target or the mall. It is right outside the Target and is a large padded “train or tugboat” I can’t remember exactly… The only thing to look out for is the “older” kids jumping off of the structure and potentially landing on your little one. The “maintenance” guy enforces that the children wear socks and don’t bring or eat food in the play area. It is also nice because there are mirrors allowing you to see your kid on the other side of the play structure.    Thanks, Joel!

Southcenter-Recently remodeled play area. Wins kudos from me for being next to the new, family lounge areas. A boon for any parents looking for a place to feed babies…’um…organically.

Ikea-Ball pit for kids to play in while parents shop. Children must be potty trained (thank heaven)!

Fred Meyer-Supervised kids’ play area for use while parents shop. Yes, you must remain in the store, and no, this is not your date night solution. On the other hand, if your shopping list consists of a People magazine and a pumpkin latte, I won’t tell!

Cabelas-No play area but lots to look at. Your kids can feed the fish and stare at all kinds of huge, dead animals. There is also an old-fashioned shooting gallery.

Olympia-Westfield Capital Mall has an animal themed play area near JCPenney Reader Crystina says this mall has a lot to offer for the family. You can read her tips here.

While policies vary, I personally think the soft play areas are best for kids 5 and under. It’s very hard for bigger and larger kids not to knock over the smaller ones, and you really don’t want to be the mom of that kid. Please also watch your kids while they play. When I went to research this post the first thing I found was a bunch of articles from people ranting about pint size bullies roaming wild.

Know a good one I missed? Let me know!


    • admin says

      I honestly thought they all did, Shana! Play area might be the wrong phrase. They’re called Playlands, and it’s one hour of free, supervised child care while you shop. There are toys and coloring pages, but I have noticed the employees turn on DVDs a fair bit! I’ll put a call in to see if these are only at some stores. The one I shop is River Road in Puyallup.

  1. Haley says

    Hi! We frequent “The Commons,” formerly known as the Seatac Mall in Federal Way. The play area at the Target end of the mall is a train, and there is another area on the other end by Sears. That one is a boat. They both feature nice padded carpet floors and are appropriate for children aged 5 and under.

  2. Melony says

    the Olympia mall also has a play area. Its brand new and remodeled… my 2 year old LOVES it!
    Also, right next door to the play place in the capital mall is a chucky cheese. my daughter is obsessed with “chucky cheese house” as she calls it.
    I love it because its a lot of fun for us to do together and the games are all really cheap! .25 cents each. and if you and your child get enough tickets they can cash them in for a prize. typically we get a little plastic tree frog or toy snake, but my daughter loves them so that’s all that matters. :)
    perfect for rainy days when your kids have lots of energy to burn!

  3. ATC guy says

    Great site by the way! Anyway, just got home from South Hill mall in Puyallup. Got there at 9:30 and all the stores were closed but the padded playground was full of kids. My 17 month daughter had all sorts of fun climbing on the animals and sliding down the slide. It’s convenient that it is all enclosed (except the entrance) and has bench seating all around the perimeter. Kids all ranged from about 1-3 years old. I was the only dad there, and most of the moms had their coffee and were chatting together. Maybe if more dads that work nights would show up, I might have someone to talk to and not feel so out of place.

  4. GH Mom says

    Thank you for this site! Does anyone know whether any of the malls have trains that the kids can ride? Tacoma used to have one, but it is now only running at holidays. Thanks!

  5. Gilda says

    Hello there!
    The lay area in the Commons Mall (Federal Way) has been updated and has a camping theme. It is located in front of Macy’s.

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