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Mall Play Areas for Kids in Southeast Michigan

These shopping centers in Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties offer surefire fun for your children when they need a retail break

Make shopping fun for your little ones – at mall play areas! Metro Parent has sleuthed out some of the coolest, most colorful and entertaining spots in metro Detroit, Ann Arbor and beyond. These fun zones are amped up – and sure to cure your little ones' boredom. Let your tykes blow off some steam at these spots that are a hit with parents and kids alike.

Hint: During the November-December season, check our holiday hours roundup for these malls.

Briarwood Mall

  • Address: 100 Briarwood Circle, Ann Arbor
  • Phone: 734-769-9610
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday

Situated outside Von Maur, this play space, remodeled as of 2013, features "soft" play structures, plus there's an interactive piano. Nearby, kids can ride on mechanical cars and other small rides for a fee. Parents, there are cell phone charging stations in the area and a family restroom and nursing room nearby.

Eastland Shopping Center

  • Address: 18000 Vernier Road, Harper Woods
  • Phone: 313-371-1501
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday

This mall boasts "the largest double play area in the U.S." In the jungle-themed area, climb and play on a jumbo tree. Or ride a giant dolphin on the "nautical" side, channeling the east side's lake life. It's set in the Grand Court across from Macy's.

Fairlane Town Center

  • Address: 18900 Michigan Ave., Dearborn
  • Phone: 800-992-9500
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday

Wisely tucked by the Lifestyle Cafe food court, on the upper level, you'll find several coin-operated rides. This zig-zaggy mall, with its striated levels, also features a funky, step-like water fountain that's prime for wishes.

Great Lakes Crossing Outlets

  • Address: 4000 Baldwin Road, Auburn Hills
  • Phone: 877-746-7452
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday; play area closes 2-2:30 p.m. daily for cleaning

Discounts aren't the only big deal here. Kids can scale mega-sized food items and climb big bugs in the picnic-themed play area, set in food court (get to it via the District 6 or 7 entrance). This large shopping center also has a Jeepers! fun center, Rainforest Cafe – and loads more family fun. Watch for the Sea Life Aquarium, predicted to open in spring 2015.

Lakeside Mall

  • Address: 14000 Lakeside Circle, Sterling Heights
  • Phone: 586-247-1590
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday

It's fun for all ages at this play scape. Find a boat and climbable log for tots. Older rug rats get sweet structures like a racecar, mini hospital, ambulance and bridges, too. Find it on the mall's lower level near Lord & Taylor. Also nearby, find stroller parking, a two-story carousel in the food court and the Toy Box shop.

Laurel Park Place

  • Address: 37700 W. Six Mile Road, Livonia
  • Phone: 734-462-1100
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday

Dubbed "Play in the Park," it sports oodles of nature-themed climb-on toys and interactive play stations featuring material that's softer than traditional plastic. Find it in the food court. This upscale mall has kiddy rides, too.

Northland Shopping Center

  • Address: 21500 Northwestern Highway, Southfield
  • Phone: 248-569-6272
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday- Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday

This trailblazing mall, which dates back to the early '50s, features a "soft" play area with structures in all shapes and sizes, from logs to honey hives, perfect for climbing and crawling and all topped with a "Bee Happy, Bee Healthy" theme. It's situated across from the Kids Foot Locker.

Oakland Mall

  • Address: 412 W. 14 Mile Road, Troy
  • Phone: 248-585-6000
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday

Plastic fun rules this play area – in particular, a variety of animals, including a jumbo pink hippo, are here for kids to climb and play on. It's located on the lower level across from JCPenney. Ask about the popular Giggle Gang for under 10, too, offering little members special monthly events and birthday perks.

The Mall at Partridge Creek

  • Address: 17420 Hall Road, Clinton Township
  • Phone: 586-226-0330
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday- Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday

Weather-pending, visit this cute outdoor spot, located between center court and Carson's at this popular open-air shopping center. Kids get active on climbing structures shaped like carrots, a watermelon, strawberries and other heart-healthy produce – in perfect keeping with its full title, the Henry Ford Macomb Hospitals Children's Play Park. Food, strollers and dogs aren't permitted inside the play area.

Twelve Oaks Mall

  • Address: 27500 Novi Road, Novi
  • Phone: 248-348-9400
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday

At 1,800 square feet, the play area has a Healthy Park Adventure theme and safe soft-foam structures, including a frog, bridge, flowers and nifty S.S. 12 Oaks boat that kids "row" through a duck pond. On the main level across from Sears, it has lots of cushy seating for parents, too, and grub nearby. Note: Kids must be 42 inches or less in height or under age 6 to play here.

Westland Shopping Center

  • Address: 35000 Warren Road, Westland
  • Phone: 734-425-5001
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday

Sponsored by Zeal Credit Union and centered around a ginormous play tree, this nook is set up to look like a park, complete with little paths, streams and grassy landscaping covering the carpeting. Be sure to scale the bridge and hop aboard the red raft, too, at this perfect little escape from your shopping spree! At the JCPenney court.

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