The fabulous Rebecca from Rainbow Mummy Blog and I were offered the opportunity to review funky monkeys soft play cafe, a branch of indoor soft play areas based in Northern Ireland. I was super excited as I had heard great things about Funky monkeys, the Larne funky monkeys was named Netmums soft play runner up recently and I was so looking forward to bringing Mini to the Lurgan one for the first time. We decided to go on a Sunday as we wanted to go together and Rebecca’s lovely lad is at school during the week, so weekends suited us best.
Funky monkeys is for children under the age of eight. The space is well designed with a small open plan reception with seating area, with a gate dividing it from the main area. The main space is well laid out, with “party rooms” on the right, then the larger “play frame” . In the middle is tables and chairs with two smaller soft sofa seating areas. The separate baby play area is at the left of the space, close to the baby changing & toilet facilities. There is a small cafe attached to the reception which opens onto the seating area, serving a range of healthy eating options as well as tea and coffee.
The staff were really friendly, I wish I had asked what the ladies name was who was dealing with us but I didn’t, she was lovely though. She apologised that the baby changing room lock had recently broke meaning there was no lock at all just two holes in the door, which wasn’t ideal as the changing room is directly beside the seating area but that wasn’t her fault. We didn’t need to use the changing room during our visit so it was all good. The staff took our shoes gave us a little ticket to get them back at the end, explained how long we had to “play” (90 mins).
We took a little table close to the baby area, plonked down our bags and set off to play. This was the first time Mini had ever been, I didn’t know how she would react. She is a really active 10 month old always on the go, she can stand up on her own and move about holding furniture etc so I was hopeful she would love it. To begin with she wasn’t quite sure what to make of everything, she sat just looking around, taking it all in. Then set off and there was no stopping her.
The area is Brilliant, there is a great variety of brightly coloured play equipment. The floor is cushioned, perfect for little tots to clamber over, lots of lovely soft number cubes that can be moved about. Soft flower domes Mini loved these, they are secured down so they wont tip if they are jumped on! She’s a little small to get on top of them despite her best efforts.
There’s a small coloured “log bridge” which she attempted but then abandoned every time when she got to the middle as she couldn’t figure out how to go down the slope bless her. There are squishy frog and monkey see-saws the frog is slightly smaller than the monkey one so we had a little go on it. She giggled her head off! I remember playing on something like this when I was small at the play area we went too, so was lovely to see her play with and have fun on something that I loved when I was little.
There are two fisherprice bounce and spin zebra’s one at each end of the play area. Mini loved these, so much so I have a feeling one may have to be added to her Christmas or Birthday gift list. I thought she wouldn’t be able to hold on herself as she’s only little but I was wrong. I popped her on and she bounced up and down, put her foot down and spun herself round and round. Each time I took her over to something else she always seemed drawn back eventually to it again. For a toy like this that is i’m sure used so often they are in fabulous condition!
The walls are all padded too with soft cushion/mats so if you have a toppling toddler you don’t have to worry about bumped heads off the walls! The walls are decorated with lovely pictures, a little sing along frog song and interactive monkey, frog, banana large soft shape sorter.
The area is surrounded by a soft wall, the wall has a few interactive things on it like little beads, squishy shapes, and a shape that squeaks when pressed Mini loved these.
A couple of times a few bigger children probably around 6-8 years old charged into the baby area, they seemed to be with a few families who had smaller babies too and Mini was nearly toppled a couple times. I have quick reflexes though and saved her from a little ninja jumping off a flower dome but Rebecca came to the rescue and nicely but firmly pointed out to one father that his bigger children shouldn’t be in a “baby area” incase they landed on a little one and he kindly asked his kids to go back to the big frame.
After a while we stopped for a little cuppa and the little ones had some juice. The break didn’t last long for me though as Mini was far too excited to be there to stop for long and just wanted to go straight back to play.
We ventured into the bottom of the bigger play area as it was much quieter by this stage as most of the children seemed to be at one party and had gone into a party room so we popped over to have a nosy. There are two areas perfect for bigger toddlers, Suzie’s house an imaginative kitchen play area and a little car track area with a number of cozy coupe cars. Mini loves blocks, stacking cups and things that make alot of noise when clashed together, so she was so pleased to find some lego and a drum in the play house!
I didn’t really get a good look at the larger play area beyond the bottom bit but it looked to have a great variety of things to do including mini football pitch, twin wavy slide, horizontal rollers, dizzy discs, splat pads, sky glides, vertical rollers, v-net bridge, cargo net, spiders web, bash bags and more. So lots to keep the kids entertained. Pop over to Rebecca’s blog for more info on bigger play area.
Funky monkeys have great party packages catering for small to large party groups, including play time, use of party rooms and food (food can also be arranged for the adults attending).Party prices can be found online.
The entry prices for use of play centre are fab for under 4’s- £4.50 for over 4’s- £4.95 for under 1’s is £1.00 or free if with an older sibling that is amazingly good value. There are also membership options.
To top it off funky monkeys also run Activities during the week between 11-11.30 including breakfast club, arts and crafts, cookery and musical movement.
All the play equipment is really well maintained, clean and in great condition. The staff were really friendly and approachable and because of the size of the centre even if you where sitting at one of the tables you would still be able to see where your little one was most of the time. It really has a lovely family friendly atmosphere and I would highly recommend it to any N.I mum. Mini and I will be heading back soon for sure hopefully get to the musical movement too!
*We were given free passes to Funky Monkeys play cafe and free tea&coffee/juice, for review purposes. However all the views and pictures in this post are honest and my own* We loved it!!
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