Feb 2, 2024 - Things to Do

Adult playgrounds, bounce houses, and ball pits for D.C.'s not-so-grown-ups

An indoor water park with a spiraling slide and water buckets.

The indoor waterpark at the St. James. Photo: Courtesy of St. James

Growing up is so passé — especially at local play zones where adults can forget about mortgage payments and broken HVACs by absolutely annihilating randos in a pillow fight.

Why it matters: D.C. is a city that has ax bars, hot tub boats, and humongous indoor putt-putt complexes — c'mon of course we're going to have bouncy houses for grownups!

  • And no need to feel cringe for living the adult baby life: Play is important for your physical and mental health, no matter your age.

Here are some spots where you can go full Baby Einstein:

👶 The Lane

What was previously a social club geared toward kids' play spaces has rebranded itself into an all-ages funhouse in Ivy City, where adults can take to the bounce house, tackle a ropes course, or speed down the slide — all while popping bottles (of alcohol, not formula).

  • The Lane's original purpose remains — there are family hours where parents can bring little ones — but once it hits 5pm it's time for Mommy or Daddy to down a cocktail and get weird in the ball pit.
  • There are also other areas for hanging, such as a rooftop deck, clubhouse, and cocktail bar, and the Lane hosts monthly events like mixology classes, drag bingo, and karaoke.
  • Food is available on-site, and it offers memberships and day and week passes.

👶 Dopamine Land

This interactive "sensory experience" near the Friendship Heights Metro consists of a series of galleries with activities designed to release dopamine (and your inner Gerber Baby).

  • Kick things off at the Bubble Bar, a room where you can sip CBD soda, check out an oxygen bar and, yes, dive into a ball pit.
  • Other gallery spaces include a room set up for a pillow fight and a "Writer's Loft," where you can scribble everywhere to your heart's content — because being an adult baby means Mom or Dad can't yell at you for drawing on the walls.

👶 Super, Awesome & Amazing

The flagship St. James location in Springfield — a mega sports and activity complex — also contains this huge indoor play space that's for children and children-at-heart alike.

  • Nostalgic grownups can fly down multiple slides and spray unsuspecting bystanders at the water park, get out their zoomies via the obstacle and climbing courses, and exorcise the demons of adulthood via a Nerf battle zone.
  • And coming this spring: an arcade.

👶 Day & Night Cereal Bar

Adult babies need nourishment after all that playing — the perfect excuse to make sugar your entire meal at one of the three local locations of this cereal bar chain.

  • Think of these concoctions as your fave childhood sugar bombs, but on steroids — one option consists of Cinnamon Toast Crunch topped with graham crackers, Oreos, and a peanut butter and chocolate drizzle.
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