Crazy Chimps Opening Party – 14/04/13

cc2I am in shock. It wasn’t Crazy Chimps’ fault but oh my…We’ll get to that bit later. It has something to do with that oh-so-angelic boy driving the yellow truck. We’ll get there.

So, today was the opening of the long-awaited Crazy Chimps in Kennington.We were there and so, it seemed, was half of Kennington. It was packed. Eva had just woken up and was staring around in confusion. Reuben, by contrast, got involved straight away and we lost him for a few minutes, until he re-emerged from the playframe.

cc1The space wasn’t huge but they fit a lot in there  – ball pool, some slides, baby area, trampoline and a cafe. There was some food out, and a cold beer for Nathan, which was nice. And a LOT of small children. It was a bit manic, and all the children were getting more and more hyper.  I put Eva down to play in the baby area, but she got knocked over by some bigger kids and was a bit wary after that.

The good points are that the play equipment is all new and flawless, the trampoline is huge and they had some exciting touches like a light-up slide. Eva liked the foam blocks in the baby area, but she did try and sink her teeth into them so I took her away from those. Roo thoroughly enjoyed himself and ran around like a loon. And Peppa Pig even made an appearance, although we didn’t pin her down for a photo.

cc3Now for the not-so-great points – it was very newly finished. The paint on the fences seemed a bit sticky still and there was a bit of building dust around. I reckon they have time to sort that before the official opening though. A few parents mentioned that the baby area could do with being fenced off, as it’s between the main door and the playframe, so the older ones rampage through it on their way to play.

cc4And the big one – the pricing. Every parent I talked to was surprised at the pricing. Peak-time prices are £8.80 for a 3-16-year-old and peak includes after school on weekdays. Given that it’s right next door to Roo’s nursery (and hopefully his school as well) it might have been somewhere we frequented on the way home, if he needed to blow off steam. But probably not for £8.80. Eva is turning 1 soon, so she will be £5.20, and even off-peak she’d be £3.80. Compare it to Bertie&Boo, which is a similar small independent playhouse – it was £2.90 for Roo and free for Eva, on a Saturday afternoon. Wavelengths, which is also brand new, was £2.50 for each of them, at any time.  Plus, you have to pay Adult entry at Crazy Chimps (£2.80/£3.50), which is unheard of in South London. I’m guessing rents are pretty high in Kennington, and I know they have to cover their costs, but it would be irresponsible of me not to report back the word on the street.

Basically, it’s £21.00 for the 4 of us to go on a weekend day or £6.60 for Eva and I to go off-peak. It’s a bit off-putting when there are so many free playgroups around. Every parent there was doing similar calculations so I know I’m not alone. But it would be a nice place to hang out if it was more affordable. And SO very local. I’m a big supporter of local business and am prepared to pay a bit more to an independent business (like the Tea House or Kennington Bookshop) but I would have trouble justifying the price of this.

And what happened at the end? Are you ready for this? Already a bit frazzled from the crowded party, neither Nathan or I were quite ready to deal with Reuben stripping off in a slightly inaccessible part of the playframe. But we watched with horrified eyes as he took off his trousers, socks and pants with another small boy watching him, also in horror. Nathan yelled at him  through the netting, Reuben screamed the scream of the overtired-boy-caught-doing-something-naughty, I got stuck in the ball pit trying to get to him and Eva started whining. Nathan eventually struggled through the playframe, extracted the screaming boy, put his clothes back on and we frogmarched him home.

No, we have no pictures of that. But the mental images will be burned on our eyes forever. Apparently, he was “getting ready for the slide”. Sounds like a recipe for friction burns to me…

VERDICT: A nice, local soft play but the pricing is a bit scary.

More details here (official site)

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7 Responses to Crazy Chimps Opening Party – 14/04/13

  1. Crazy Chimps says:

    Hi Kate

    We would like to say thank you for attending our launch party and I’m very glad to hear that Reuben had a good time. We had a very overwhelming response to our invite of the launch party and subsequently had to fit in many families in a short space of time. When we open officially, we will be open 7 days a week until the evening so hopefully it won’t nearly be as manic as it was on Sunday. I am so sorry to hear that Eva got knocked over in the baby area, we are putting up a fence to section off this area this week. There will also be a security gate installed at reception, which allows us to control the entrance and exit of all customers. You can also expect more play apparatus in the baby area when we officially open.

    As you mentioned, we do still have some building work left over to complete, this includes a function room where we will be holding classes for adults and children, it can also be used for party bookings. We do apologise for any dust that was hanging around still.

    Our pricing includes the options of paying on the day or a monthly membership. We understand that there are soft play venues that are cheaper than us and also are aware of competitors more expensive than us. We are aiming to address the niche where there is a balance of value and quality. Part of our mission is to try and provide a venue where parents will also want to go, we aim to do this by providing quality food and beverages, having a clean and relaxed atmosphere, facilities such as free wifi and offering extra services such as our in-house salon for children and adults and also a beauty room. The entry fee for one adult can be redeemed in our café or salon with a spend of £15 or more. For families who would want to visit on a more regular basis then our membership package could be more worth while. In your case if you and your family came to visit us four times a month, it would cost £84 for pay on the day compared to a monthly charge of £52.80 for unlimited visits with perks such as 10% off all food in our café and haircuts in our in-house salon.

    Once again, thank you for coming to visit us last Sunday and we really hope you will come by again when we officially open.

    Crazy Chimps

    • katese11 says:

      Hi Sally!

      Thanks for your response. I feel a bit mean mentioning the pricing, but it was a hot topic of conversation at the launch…!

      Hope all goes well


      • Cathy says:

        As fellow Kennington mum, I can confirm that the pricing is making a lot of us think twice. Even with the memberships it’s steep. We had assumed we would buy monthly membership and basically live there most weekends, but we are doing the maths now.

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  4. Andre says:

    You should compare your pices to Wackyware House in colliers wood! Extremely steep prices for such location! With the economy iat it’s worse you would make more profit with lower prices, I’d rather travel further for a cheaper inside playground, or even better go legoland or chessington for £10 extra.

  5. SE5 mummy says:

    I didn’t go to the launch but have been since, and unfortunately, as lovely as it is, with the pricing the way it is I won’t be going back. I made the mistake of asking the cost of membership and had to keep a poker face when I found out! Back to Peckham Soft at I go for £2 a pop! X

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