163 E. 84th St.; 212-772-8435; 466 Columbus Ave.; 212-362-7792
New York’s play spaces can be pretty underwhelming (a few plastic slides and steps) or overwhelming (Chuck E. Cheese’s). But what sets Kidville apart from the pack is a brimming schedule of lively, innovative classes, including international cooking lessons, baby sign language, and branded programs like “Super Soccer Stars.” You won’t see Gwyneth Paltrow here (she’s downtown at the Soho House–style Citibabes), and that’s just how the low-key crowd likes it. While caregivers have to stick around for 2-and-under classes, if your kid is 3 and up, you can drop him off and grab a grown-up manicure at the salon or an organic mesclun salad at the café. Playgrounds are off-limits to nonmembers, but a silver membership—including a 5 percent discount at the cafés, guest passes, and a pass to the playgrounds—is free with the purchase of a class (from $395). A third location will open in Park Slope in September.