I recently received an invitation from LivingSocial to review the Monkey Mania Indoor Play Centre in Docklands. LivingSocial is a daily deals site and they recently had a deal to attend Monkey Mania for only $5 per child (normally $10.50 per child under 3 or $12.50 for older children).
I’ve never been to a play centre so had no idea what to expect. Monkey Mania Docklands is a big space containing a mind-bending array of colourful rubber-and-foam play equipment suitable for children ages 1-12.
For bigger kids there’s an inflatable jumping castle, foam ball pit and lots of very tall, padded structures to climb and slide down. Most of these activities are too vigorous for Lady AB’s age so fortunately there’s a dedicated toddlers area where Lady AB wouldn’t get run over. By coincidence we also went on a Tuesday when toddlers get in for $5 for members (membership is $12 per family per year) and on a weekday during the school term it’s pretty quiet which is great.
Lady AB loved the toddlers area and we spent about 90 minutes there. When she first arrived she went a little crazy running around wanting to touch and feel everything. So it was great to know (a) that the area was gated so that she was in a contained environment; (b) most the equipment and all the walls and floors were padded and geared to her size so there was minimal damage she could do to herself; and (c) the toys were aimed at being educational as well as fun, with dedicated areas for music, sensory experiences and developing gross motor skills.
Lady AB particularly loved the ‘touch and feel’ board with miniature doors that she could open and shut (sort of a life-sized pop up book!), the ball pit where she could throw balls around with abandon and without being told off and of course all the toys with screens or buttons to press.
However, some of the programs did not appear to work and some of the activities, including all of the musical instruments, were missing parts so I think it could be better maintained. I also wished that I could switch off Dorothy the Dinosaur on TV as I think it was too intense to have music, the TV running with different music, the screens running with different sounds as well as the toys’ noises all at once.
As well as the play areas Monkey Mania Docklands has themed party rooms including Wiggles, Fairies, Hot Air Balloon and Space. I liked the look of the pirate room – you get to eat inside the ship, pretty cool! For food options there’s on-site cafe – the food offerings are pretty standard fast food and you might be better off venturing outside.
Finally, I think that one advantage of Monkey Mania Docklands is that you could combine a shopping trip at Harbour Town (an open air outlet mall) and bribe your kids to come along if they could go to the play centre afterwards! There’s lots of parking and it’s cheap at $2 for the first hour, $6 for the day, so you could make a day trip of it.
Monkey Mania Docklands, Harbour Town at Waterfront City, Level 1 / 120 Studio Lane, Docklands +61 3 9600 3772 or 03 9642 5054