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Best Indoor Playground--TIE

Discovery Zone
6238 E. Broadway Blvd.
27 Locations

READERS' PICK: When it's too hot to gawk at dinosaurs or swing on the monkey bars, Discovery Zone offers a viable alternative with a supervised area to do all the things you can't do at home: run indoors, climb on the furniture, and roughhouse. Of course, you have to be a kid.

READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: Chuck E. Cheese's, 6130 E. Speedway Blvd.

CLUE IN: Rocks & Ropes, 330 S. Toole Ave., is just as it sounds--a huge indoor climbing gym for rock climbers of all ages and experience levels. For kids, who seem to possess a climbing gene, Rocks and Ropes is climbing nirvana. Saturday mornings feature "Kids' Climb" from 9 to 11 a.m. For just $10, kids can get two hours of climbing, equipment rental (shoes, harness and helmet), and lessons from belayers (the experienced adults who hold the ropes). Most of the belayers are climbers who volunteer to work during Kids Climb in exchange for climb time during the week. Because they're not grizzled kid-wranglers by trade, they all seem to genuinely enjoy working with young, novice climbers. In addition to Kids' Climb, Tuesday is "family night," with good deals to get your entire family climbing the walls (in a way that enhances rather than challenges the family dynamic). Rocks and Ropes also offers birthday parties for kid climbers.

Case History

1997 Winner: Flandrau Science Center

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