Best Indoor Playground - 2009
Smaland at Ikea
Sure, there are places with more stuff, but in our wanderings with offspring, we've run across no place quite as pleasing to both adult and youth palates. Partially, it's the Smaland space itself, which is minimal in the classic Swedish tradition but also exploding with primary colors. Located just inside the Ikea main entrance, the playland features a craft area, a movie area, and a ginormous pit of plastic balls. That's about it. But kids — ours, at least — adore the extras they don't get elsewhere: the high-tech buzzer that Mom and Dad get to let 'em know when the allotted 1.5 hours of play time are up, the kinder-friendly Ikea cafeteria and food, and — most of all — the shopping they get to tag along on 'cause 1.5 hours is never enough time for Mom and Dad at Ikea.
Mom and Dad think Swedish people are really, really, really smart. Tack så mycket!