Where else to cool off indoors nearby

Earlier, I posted about the official Cooling Center to make life a little more comfortable for those who need it. Now, I’m following up with some alternative options for those of you who don’t want to spend hours at the Senior Center or Southborough Library. (Plus, ideas for future hot days when those facilities aren’t open.)

Some of you may be looking to escape a hot house. Others with decent A/C may just be beyond sick of their own four walls and looking for a change of scenery that isn’t too hot to handle. Here are my tips for some places to escape to. 

The bad news is there are still far fewer options than pre-pandemic. The good news is that many options have reopened. For each, it’s best to follow links for their hours – since I found that some are closed on certain weekdays and/or mornings.

Free entertainment/relaxation

  • Free playspace: The Solomon Pond Mall playspace is open – geared to really little ones. (Unfortunately, the other usual area options are either closed or charging.)
  • Libraries

    As I shared earlier with the Town announcement, the Southborough Public Library is open weekdays in the summer. (Currently, hours are 10-5 on Monday and Friday, 10-6 Tues-Thurs.) But, if you’re looking for a change from your usual routine, there are other area libraries. And some are open on Saturdays in the summer.

    Northborough, Marlborough, Westborough, Hopkinton and Hudson are all on the same library card system as Southborough. So you can check materials out there and return them in Southborough (or vice versa). (Framingham and Ashland are also open, but they’re not on the same lending system.)

Indoor Play for a price

  • Paid playspace: The Natick Mall playspace now charges for kids 0-12 yr olds to play there. (Drop in 10:00 am – 1:00 pm daily). Let’s Bee Kids playcenter in Hudson is another option. (Playtown Express in Southborough is still listed as temporarily closed.)
  • $1 matinees – Solomon Pond Mall’s summer deal is back for kids’ movies matinees on Tuesdays and Wednesdays this summer. As usual, the discounted lineup doesn’t include recent releases. Unlike past summers, instead of two 10:00 am movies, the times vary by movie. (This week, they’re offering LEGO Batman Movie at noon and Pokemon Detective Pikachu at 1:15 pm.) 
  • Trampolines/inflatables: Altitude Trampoline Park in the Apex complex in Marlborough is open daily starting at 10:00 am, but requires purchasing tickets. Worth noting, they offer a special Toddler Jump Time for ages 2-6, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on weekdays. Apex Kids for ages 2-12 (jungle gyms and inflatables) is only open Wednesdays – Sundays noon to 6:00 pm. Xtreme Craze (inflatables) in Westborough is open Wed – Sunday.
  • Entertainment Centers/Arcades/Laser tag: 
    • Apex Entertainment Center in Marlborough has limited hours these days. But when it is open, it definitely has the largest range of indoor activities – ropes course, bowling, arcade, laser tag, Bumper cars, go karts, sports simulators, arcade, and mini golf. The facility is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. It’s open afternoons and evenings Wed – Sun (varying hours). (Note: Altitude Trampoline Park and Breakout escape rooms share the facility but have their own hours. Apex Kids hours are also different – as listed above) 
    • Dave & Busters at the Natick Mall has an arcade, virtual reality games, and sports bar. XtremeCraze in Westborough has an arcade, laser tag, and inflatables. Fun & Games in Framingham and Pinz Bowling in Milford also both have an arcade and laser tag. (Roller Kingdom also offers laser tag.)
  • Bowling: ApexPinz in Milford (with an arcade and laser tag) is open daily starting at noon, Bowlero in Shrewsbury is closed Mondays and open afternoons and/or evenings Tues-Sun (varying hours)
  • Skating: Roller Kingdom in Hudson (Currently only open for Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons, plus Sunday afternoons in August. Special “Dollar Nights” on Wednesdays will start July 7th.)
  • Escape Room: Breakout (open daily starting at 10:00 am)
  • Painting pottery: PYOP Studio in Northborough, Clay Time in Shrewsbury, Plaster Fun Time in Framingham
  • Museums: Click here for museum passes offered by the Southborough Public Library.

Now – where do you like to cool off in this weather? Post your favorite places below.

(I’m especially curious if anyone knows of drop in or one-day-at-a-time gymnastics options for toddlers and preschoolers. I haven’t seen any options in recent years.)

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