Northwest Arkansas Indoor Family Fun Guide: Best places for kids to play inside

Whether the weather is too cold or too hot (or too rainy!) in Northwest Arkansas, we mamas need a handy guide for things to do with the kids. We know how stir crazy everyone can get when we’re all cooped up together for too long. Lucky for us, there are lots of fun things to choose from in NWA (updated for 2024).

Here are oodles of options:

Make the most of Northwest Arkansas’ museums. The Amazeum Children’s Museum features approximately 50,000 square feet of exhibit and learning spaces inside for all ages. They also have lots of camps and special events. On Wednesdays, they have Priceless Nights from 6-8 p.m. and you can visit the Amazeum for free (or a small donation if you can give).

Crystal Bridges is perfect for a fun indoor activity that also enriches. There are permanent and traveling exhibits to check out in addition to classes, workshops, a special space for kids to explore their artistic talents and lots of events.

If you’re into history, there’s the Museum of Native American History in Bentonville and Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale. If you visit the Walmart Museum in Bentonville (which has some fun, old-fashioned candy and toys available for purchase), be sure to stop by the Spark Cafe next door for ice cream. There’s also the Rogers Historical Museum, the Clinton House Museum in Fayetteville, the Lowell Historical Museum, the Arkansas Air and Military Museum and Headquarters House Museum.

Skate it off. Ice skate or swim indoors at the Jones Center. There are also some roller skating options in NWA, including Starlight Skatium in Fayetteville and Great Day Skate Place in Bentonville.

Jumpity jump. Jump inside at Defy trampoline park in Rogers or Altitude Trampoline Park in Fayetteville. Lots of fun for different age groups.

Get creative. You and the kids can make art together at Imagine Studios, Painting with a TwistCommunity Creative Center, Painting with Mrs. GuilloryArt & Soul Studios and The Crafty Shambles.

Embrace your Imagination. Let’s Imagine is an indoor playground in Bentonville is just for babies, toddlers and young children.

Climb higher. To keep the kids from climbing the walls at home, you can take them to the Ozark Climbing Gym in Springdale or Climb Bentonville.

Bowl a strike or ride the bumper cars. Fast Lane Entertainment has bowling, laser tag, bumper cars, and more. You can also try to bowl a spare at Ozark Lanes in Fayetteville, Rogers Bowling Center or Springdale Bowling Center.

For more bumper car or laser tag fun (plus mini golf and go-karts, but those are outside), visit Lokomotion Family Fun Park in Fayetteville.

For the retro arcade player. Arkadia Retrocade in Fayetteville (Evelyn Hills Shopping Center) has vintage arcade games and is great for tweens and teens.

Binge on books. There are so many great libraries in Northwest Arkansas, including Fayetteville, Rogers, Springdale  and Bentonville. They all have special events, story times and, of course, lots of books and movies to check out.

Or you could visit one of Northwest Arkansas’ great bookstores. The quirky Dickson Street Bookshop in Fayetteville is always fun to browse and there’s also Once Upon a Time Books in Tontitown and Bentonville. Of course, there’s also Barnes & Noble in Fayetteville and Rogers.

At Kindness and Joy Toys in Fayetteville, they have story and craft times, along with a place to test out toys in the back of the store.

Accept a mission. Play laser tag, inside or out, at super-cool Modern Mission. They’ve got outdoor indoor laser tag or an indoor battlefield to tackle in Fayetteville. For a different type of mission, there are also some fun escape rooms in the area.

Make it to the movies. You should check out the reclining seats at the newly-renovated Fiesta Square and Razorback Malco theatres, both in Fayetteville. And have you visited the new Skylight Cinema in Bentonville? You can eat dinner while you catch a movie there.

Flip out. Many of the gyms have open play times and other fun activities for kids of all ages. Try Gymnastics Joe’s at the Northwest Arkansas Mall in Fayetteville, The Little Gym in Rogers, Genesis Gymnastics Academy in Bentonville, Infiniti Athletics in Bentonville.

The kids can also do lots of flipping at Flip Side Ninja Park in Lowell.

Under the Sea Adventures. Blue Zoo Aquarium in Rogers (located in the Pinnacle Promenade Mall) is an interactive aquarium offering various educational opportunities.

Interact with Nature. The new J.B. and Johnelle Hunt Family Ozark Highlands Nature Center in Springdale has outdoor activities (like archery and nature trails) but there are also several indoor spaces to explore.

Go straight to the calendar. You can always find something fun to do in our monthly Northwest Arkansas Calendar of Events.

Babies and Toddlers? If you have babies or toddlers, click here to see a special ‘things to do in NWA’ guide just for them. Many of the activities are indoor.

Outside of NWA: The Ocean Adventures Playground is just outside NWA in Joplin, Mo., and it has some super fun options for various ages, all inside.

We’ll keep adding to this list along the way. If there’s an inside play area you love (that we missed!) please send us the info to mamas{at}nwamotherlode{dot}com.