Shanghai's best indoor play areas

Shanghai's most fun, charming and entertaining indoor play areas for kids

Little Bugz on Jianguo Lu
With temperatures dropping steadily, the natural inclination is to stay pampered while enjoying all the fun - indoors. From trampoline parks to adrenaline-inducing slides, here are the best play centres in town for families.

Be sure to check out the best hotpot and hot chocolate places in town to help you through winter in Shanghai.
Fun Dazzle

Fun Dazzle

Recommended age Nine months to 12 years.

Size 400sqm.

Busiest hours Weekend mornings.

How much 50RMB/child for two hours, parents enter for free; 300RMB/10 sessions (must be used within thee months); 500RMB/20 sessions (must be used within six months); 800RMB/40 sessions (must be used within 12 months).

Supervision Children under 1.2m require an adult to accompany them inside.

Fun Dazzle can be found on third floor of the Hong Kong Metropolis mall. A vague nautical theme runs through the décor with whales, dolphins, turtles and submarines incorporated into the design. It looks a little dated, but in a comfortable and reassuring way, like an old sweater that might no longer be on-trend but still fits well. The activities on offer include all the kids’ favourites: there’s a miniature trampoline, ball pool, slides, climbing slopes, swings and squishy flooring all over so no one need get hurt if they trip over. Although it’s rather quiet outside of Fun Dazzle’s immediate area that doesn’t stop children screaming their heads off; the play area seems to attract less inhibited kids, which is great for making friends.

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489 Henan Nan Lu
E-kids Island

E-kids Island

Recommended age Six months to seven years.

Size 300sqm.

Busiest hours Weekends all day, and lunchtimes during the week.

How much 80RMB/one day, 200RMB/three times, 500RMB/10 times.

Supervision Mandatory.

Close to Wells Jumping, E-kids Island is found in the Caobao Shopping Centre. It looks a bit of a budget option, but it’s by no means bad. Extremely well lit, E-kids glows with a brilliant white radiance courtesy of its many fluorescent tubes.

The ‘rides’ here are more entertaining than at other centres. There’s the usual mix of ball pools and slides, but E-kids also features a room filled with nothing but balloons, an angled self-moving merry-go-round, LED-lit slides and odd rotating cylinders, which young children are fond of falling asleep in. Should that not prove enough for the little ones, just around the corner are further sources of entertainment such as video and crane games in a separate amusement arcade.

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3366 Caobao Lu
Gymboree, Xujiahui branch

Gymboree, Xujiahui branch

Recommended age Six months to five years.

Size 1,000sqm.

Busiest hours Weekday mornings.

How much 16,680RMB/60 classes; 20,016RMB/72 classes; 26,688RMB/96 classes.

Supervision Children under three must be accompanied in class by a parent.

Founded in the USA in 1976, Gymboree now has 600 education centres in over 40 countries. The focus is on structured learning rather than mindless running around and the company provides classes in music, play and art. 

Their Xujiahui branch is a brightly lit, modern and sizeable space with an open reception and play area bolstered by three separate rooms for lessons. Classrooms are large and well appointed with supplies and blocks for kids to have fun with. Painted in warm colourful tones, such as orange, yellow and green, Gymboree branches are always inviting. The lobby area is spacious and has play mats for babies to scramble around on and mini-walkers and puzzles for them to play with. Although the titles are in Chinese, there’s a free library where children can withdraw books to read at home.

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333 Tianyaoqiao Lu
Jump 360
Photograph: courtesy Jump 360

Jump 360

Recommended age Three years and above.

Size 5,550sqm.

Busiest hours Weekend afternoons.

How much 118RMB/hour, 196RMB/two hours.

Supervision Not necessary.

This massive 5,550 sqm indoor space, the second property owned by Jump 360 after their existing Minhang branch, is full of dozens of trampolines, foam pits and obstacle courses. There is a child-friendly area, but be warned that flying around on trampolines does come with a risk of injury (hence the mandatory safety video, plus lengthy waiver we have to sign before entering).

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258 Chang Jiang Lu
Kerry Parkside Play Centre

Kerry Parkside Play Centre

Recommended age Three to twelve years.

Size 700sqm.

Busiest hours Weekend afternoons.

How much 8,500RMB/year membership; 300RMB/child, no time limit, if visiting as a friend of a member.

Supervision Required for children under five.

A favourite of Pudong expatriate families, light floods into the Adventure Zone from the windows that overlook the apartments and compounds of Century Park. There are two separate play areas, divided by age group. The first, at the front, is for children aged five and under, who should be accompanied by an adult. The focus here is on climbing equipment and there are plenty of levels for kids to scale. For older children there is a more exciting play area towards the rear. The highlight here are two scarily sheer drop slides. The first is a relatively gentle 50-degree descent, but its companion is a daunting 90-degree straight plunge down. Even adults will think twice about give it a go (apparently it's a rite of passage for new members of staff) and kids under seven-years are forbidden to even try. Elsewhere are the to-be-expected ball pools, cargo nets and climbing apparatus. The sack slide ride is another standout as it’s especially good for parent/child rides since mum or dad can hold on tightly from behind.

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1378 Huamu Lu
Little Bugz
Photograph: courtesy Little Bugz

Little Bugz

Critics' pick

Recommended age Zero to eight years old.

Size 600sqm.

Busiest hours Friday to Sunday mornings.

How much 150RMB/child, all day.

Supervision Mandatory at all times.

Although not the largest play area in our roundup, Little Bugz has everything you’d want and expect. There are swings, slides, ball pools, sand pit and bean bags to nap on. There are some high tech features as well. Little Bugz has installed EyePlay, a virtual indoor playground that allows players to interact with colorful graphics and sounds projected onto floors or walls, and is one of only handful of places in China to feature the software.

The café is noteworthy, too. The coffee (latte, 30RMB) is decent and a range of fresh juices (apple, carrot, watermelon, pear, all 30RMB) are a healthy alternative not often found at other play areas.

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285 Jianguo Xi Lu
Wells Jumping

Wells Jumping

Recommended age Two to 12 years.

Size 900sqm.

Busiest hours Weekends and afternoons.

How much 50RMB/child for one hour; 100RMB/child for three hours; 20RMB/adult.

Supervision Not mandatory.

Snuggled on the third floor inside the Star Mall Walking Street, Wells Jumping is a play centre with huge swathes of the floor converted to trampolines. Colourful lockers in pastel chades of blue, green and yellow stand by the entrance for storing items. The three massive trampoline areas are like runways and kids hurtle down them with abandon seeking to gain air like a plane. Even adults will find it hard to resist giving it a go.

Away from the trampoline flooring there is a traditional play area with a spiral slide, cargo nets to climb, and obstacles to dodge. A café area sits at the back of Wells Jumping, so parents can relax if they want to leave their kids to it. The free Wi-Fi is handy and there are plenty of food and drink options. The menu includes the standards: latte (28RMB), spaghetti Bolognese (50RMB) and French fries (15RMB), for instance.

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1532 Caobao Lu