Which are the best soft plays in Chester?
Hint – we’ve reviewed three (and a bit). Our Chester soft play reviews are below.
Soft play centres – when did these become a thing? My mum swears that we never had them as nippers. We were rolling around in open meadows, collecting pebbles on the beach or painting and sticking like Picasso. My mum also didn’t drive, which I think is more the reason that my two siblings and I endured a soft vinyl, sensory room, disco cave deprivation.
There are now soft plays in abundance, in every city, town and village. They can be an absolute money-spinner and a winter life-saver. I have an almost-18-month-old boy and five-year-old girl, so something we can all do together is a total win. And something where the eldest can do a little parenting (while I have a sit) is even more welcome.
A few things that annoy me about these colourful wonderlands though. I don’t get why some charge for adults and babies (under one) – the rate for kids is usually quite pricey already. I only have two wee ones but I know friends with three and it mounts up fast.
Sometimes there is a lack of healthy food options. I know that they won’t always be popular with the kids, but they are for a mum who already feels guilty about giving her kids Shreddies and biscuits that day.
I enjoy soft plays with a tannoy. Ones who police. Ones that remove the older children from the under-twos section, often with considerable levels of gusto and commitment. I’m aware that in coming years I may not delight in these ones so much, as it’s very likely to be my son running amok on a ladybird ride-along, taking down toddlers on a whim.
The best ones also have real coffee machines. I’m not expecting 100% Arabica but come on, even caffeine addicts have standards.
The list below isn’t comprehensive, but these are the ones we visit most often:
Funky Town, formerly known as Funky Monkey’s, is walking distance from the city centre. It’s not the biggest, but it’s got everything you need. There’s a padded sensory room, with its own colour-changing ball pool, projections and an illuminated bubble tube with fish in it. But not real fish. That would be irresponsible.
There’s a disco room, with lights. There are party packages, including The Avengers and Frozen. We saw a particularly realistic Iron Man once.
They have multiple slides across three stories of soft play. There are those sucky tubes in the ball pit, which feed all of the balls into a big hopper that unloads on your head.
They have TV screens which show rolling BBC News coverage with subtitles, and their food selection is probably the best, and definitely the most varied, you can get: pasta, pizza, wraps, salads, even an ‘English Breakfast’ panini.
The toddler area has its own ball pit, padded slide and carousel.
Their pricing system is complicated, ranging up to £4.25 (£4.75 weekends and hols) for kids aged 5+.
Also, major points for their Facebook page being so up-to-date.
Crazy Daisy’s at the Ice Cream Farm
Ignoring for a moment the billion varieties of amazing ice cream, and also the farm animals, and the tractors, the soft play at the Ice Cream Farm is reason enough to go.
It is ice cream themed! There are cartoon cows everywhere (the eponymous Crazy Daisy). The big slide looks like melted strawberry and chocolate ice cream. It also has four lanes, which is brilliant if you want to race against your kids.
Crazy Daisy’s also has sucky ball pit tubes. There is a cannon which shoots squidgy balls at ducks. There’s a little enclosed football court, and they have magnetic locking gates making it more difficult (but by no means impossible) for your child to escape the larger soft play.
The toddler soft play is high class, and has its own ball pool and a zealously guarded entry gate. If you’re over 90cm, you’re not coming in.
The cafe sells jacket potatoes, sandwiches, reasonable coffee. You definitely can’t bring your own food – just to make sure they’ve stuck up about 30 laminated posters saying so. But there is an outside picnic area for when the weather’s nice.
£3 per child in the week, £3.50 at weekends. No charge for adults, or for younger kids using the toddler play area.
Wizz Kidz, in Saltney, is definitely the biggest soft play I’ve ever been to. I’m sure they have a full-sized five-a-side pitch inside, and their three storey soft play has a trampoline on one of its levels. And a massive slide.
There are separate baby and toddler areas, which is pretty unique. Apparently they’ve just got a new sensory room but I haven’t been to see it. They also have a disco room.
Free entry up to 3pm on Monday & Thursday during term times.
Free Wi-Fi, and lots of comfy couches.
Adam insists that I include Topsy Tumbles (at Northgate Arena) even though it is totally not a soft play. They do have a bouncy castle, though, and lots of those Little Tikes cars, and balls. And it’s £2.70 for one adult and child, with a free slice of toast.
Tuesday & Thursday mornings, 9:30 – 11:30.
Thanks for reading. Let us know your thoughts and favourites below!