Some people are born to shop ‘til they drop. They relish the bright colors and fluorescent lights of shopping malls. The latest styles? They’re already in the dressing room trying them on. The latest tech or toys? Already in their shopping cart.
But, some of us will do anything to avoid stepping foot in a mall, whether it’s online shopping or opting for multiple trips to different stores, and who can blame us? With kids in tow, what was supposed to be a quick stop at the mall can turn into a dragged out affair where everyone ends up cranky and wait — did you even get that one thing you came for?
We’ve compiled the best mall play areas at malls around metro Detroit and Ann Arbor. Pro shoppers will love getting to take the kids to one of these interactive playgrounds, and if you’re not a mall person, you can rest easy knowing that once your errands are done, you can take a moment to relax while the kids blow off some steam. At these mall play areas, everybody wins!
- Address: 100 Briarwood Circle, Ann Arbor
- Amenities: Family restrooms, charging stations and Wi-Fi
Situated in the Von Maur corridor right outside of PacSun, this play space features soft play structures and an interactive piano. Parents can charge their devices and take a breather while the kids let off some steam. There’s also plenty of classic mall treats, like Cinnabon and Pinkberry, to grab as you leave.
Fairlane Town Center
- Address: 18900 Michigan Ave., Dearborn
- Amenities: Family parking, kiddie rides and Smarte Carte strollers.
Take a break from shopping with coin-operated kiddie rides on the upper level near the food court. Then, grab a snack to recharge for your second round of shopping. Pro tip: When you arrive at Fairlane Town Center, grab a Smart Carte — a colorful shopping cart/stroller combo with a toy steering wheel to keep those busy hands occupied.
Great Lakes Crossing Outlets
- Address: 4000 Baldwin Road, Auburn Hills
- Amenities: A nursing area, rental strollers and Wi-Fi
There are so many kid-friendly attractions here — SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium, Legoland Discovery Center and Peppa Pig World of Play, just to name a few — that this mall doesn’t even need a designated kids play area! Luckily, it does: the Michigan-themed indoor play place includes a foam lighthouse, seating for parents and climbing structures that resemble freight boats, bridges, tunnels and more.
- Address: 14000 Lakeside Circle, Sterling Heights
- Amenities: Family restroom and stroller rental
The lower-level children’s play area has climbing structures, but the real attraction is Play BIG, a family fun center with bounce houses and an arcade. No one mentioned the word “bribe,” but letting your kids know that a fun surprise awaits them at the end of your shopping trip could inspire some good behavior.
Laurel Park Place
- Address: 37700 W. Six Mile Road, Livonia
- Amenities: Family restrooms
The children’s play area is located between H&M and Von Maur. Kids can climb on nature-themed play structures and explore at small play stations. Treat your kiddos to something from Kid’s Playtime Warehouse, the mall’s one-stop shop for must-have kids toys and games.
The Mall at Partridge Creek
- Address: 17420 Hall Road, Clinton Township
Save your trip to The Mall at Partridge Creek for a nice day so you can fully enjoy the open-air shopping experience. When you need to take a break from shopping, head to the cute kids play area between Lane Bryant and Aerie. The outdoor playground has produce-shaped play structures that kids can run and climb on — think giant carrots, strawberries, watermelon and more.
Twelve Oaks Mall
- Address: 27500 Novi Road, Novi
- Amenities: Family restrooms, stroller rental and Wi-Fi
The Backyard Adventure is an indoor play area with climbing structures, tunnels and even sensory components like sound and lighting to keep kids engaged. The foam climbing structures are made out of antimicrobial materials so they are safe and fun for every child.
Westland Shopping Center
- Address: 35000 Warren Road, Westland
- Amenities: Stroller rental
Directly in front of J.C. Penney, this wild play area is like a rainforest turned into a kids playground. Kids can let off some steam by playing leap frog over frog sculptures, sliding down small structures and climbing and crawling around tree-shaped jungle gyms.
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