I’ve been hurt here before. Last November, we trekked from Victoria to check out the newly-revamped Kids’ Zone, but there were no tickets left. Understandable on a Saturday afternoon, I guess. In April, about to pop with Eva, I went again on a rainy Tuesday afternoon. Booked out again. Bah! My sources tell me that Chelsea Mothers used to pop down in the morning and bulk-buy tickets for them and their friends. Not any more! Now, you can book online in advance. Huzzah! So, this time we had tickets and we were going to go.
It was pretty good. Again, I had Nathan playing Roo-wrangler,so I spent most of my time in the baby area with my friend and her 10-month-old. And Eva, obviously. The 10-month-old liked clambering over the soft blocks and pulling himself up on the low walls. He also liked the sensory patches on top of the walls. Eva liked being somewhere her brother wasn’t allowed into. And drooling. Incidentally, there was no sign anywhere saying what the cutoff for the baby area was, but the lady patrolling it wasn’t hesistant about chucking preschoolers out.
Don’t feel sorry for the preschoolers. There were lots of things for them to do. Roo spent a long time playing with the landscape above, which was meant to be a logistical exercise in getting supplies to soldiers over different terrains. Roo just liked playing with the helicopters and moving all the green things into the green area. Ditto the yellow and white areas. Did someone say obsessional?!
For his more *cough* active moments, there was a soft play frame running all around the top of the room (with slopes to clamber up and slides to get down at various places). It was a good use of space, as there were lots of activities tucked underneath the tunnels and bridges of the soft play. There were two slides that I noticed – a twisty yellow one and an insanely fast blue one. There were also some rocking horses and a play kitchen, as well as other bits and pieces around the place. In case you’re wondering what’s happening in the picture above, he’s shivering in front of some snowy mountains. Good drama skills, hey?
I think our allotted timeslot was an hour, but it went fast. We could have spent longer in there, and only dragged him out by vaguely agreeing to his shouts of “I want new lego!”. The “lego” in the shop was all a bit complicated for him so he didn’t get any. But by then, he was out and with his shoes on. Game, set and match.
People occasionally ask me about practical stuff, so I guess I ought to mention that. There’s a slope down from the main reception to the Kids’ Zone. There’s buggy parking inside, with shelves for shoes and hangers for coats. There are toilets inside the playroom. Parents are allowed to take coffee in from the cafe and there’s a fair bit of seating. The cafe itself is nice, but doesn’t have a whole lot of choice. My friend Holly and her Mum lunched quite happily there on beef stew, but not sure there’s anything Roo would eat. He’s not convinced on those snack box things that always have a cheese roll in. Having said that, he was more than happy to have a cookie with smarties in…
VERDICT: A well-thought out play area. Having to buy tickets in advance (and swap e-mail printouts for real tickets at the desk) is a faff, but preferable to turning up and not being allowed in.