HOT: PlanetKids, Southbank
PlanetKids is a new indoor play centre in Southbank/South Melbourne. It’s bright, cheerful, clean and spacious – a great option for wet/cold weather play or if you need to do some work or catch up with family and friends while kids play safely.
Entrance is via a short set of stairs at the front cafe or ramp access via Ciel, the cafe on the other side of PlanetKids. You pay $8 per child (under 1s and adults free) at the cafe’s cash register then open the safety gate and off you go! There’s no time limit for play and you don't need to book.
The play centre includes five rooms, two of which are open for play with an assortment of baby and toddler-friendly toys. Baby 2.0 particularly loved the collection of trucks and trains and the mini ball pit!
The main area has several ride on vehicles, a few tables and chairs for colouring-in and a large screen TV provides xbox kinect entertainment – though most of the kids I noticed ignored it as it requires a bit of adult assistance to set up.
There’s a large carpeted and separately gated area for babies, with lots of foam blocks and structures for soft and gentle play.
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Tucked in the back corner is a tall play gym with a small trampoline, double slide and a maze of tunnels to explore and climb.
A highlight of PlanetKids are the two adjoining cafes. The play centre itself has one with visibility of most of the play space. They serve Five Senses Coffee, Chamellia organic tea, a small menu of kid-friendly items and pastries from nearby French A Touch of France. There are numerous high chairs, plastic cups and even books on every table for storytime while you’re waiting for your food.
For lunch we had a very reasonably priced ham and cheese croissant ($6), a BLT ($8) and two babycinos ($1 each with marshmallow). When the kids went back to play I enjoyed a sneaky custard cronut ($5).
At the other end of the play centre is Ciel, a full-service cafe with a more extensive menu though with similarly kid-friendly facilities.
While you are able to BYO food it needs to be within reason – the snacks that you might bring to a normal cafe where you intend to order food for yourself and maybe a babycino for the kids ($1 with marshmallow). Naturally, you can’t eat within the play space but it’s easy enough to order then herd the kids out of the gate to eat before racing back to continue playtime.
In the interests of full disclosure PlanetKids (and Ciel) is owned and operated by Planetshakers, a Pentecostal Christian church. PlanetKids does not display any religious information or images and the affiliation is not really advertised though they will tell you if you ask. It explains why PlanetKids is not open Sundays and what look like party rooms are in fact classrooms for Sunday school.
- If you have a pram enter via Ciel cafe which has a ramp.
- Some limited on-street paid parking and large carpark ($3 per hour, max $11 per day) at ACE parking corner of Haig and Cecil Streets.
- PlanetKids is also on Cecil Street separated bike lane and close to #96 light rail stop.
- Entry fee includes unlimited play. No need to book.
- The cafe serves great coffee and food. Babycinos $1 with marshmallow. If you do BYO food and drinks keep it within reason as you’ll have to eat in the cafe.
- Fully fitted parents room.
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