“ Address: 348 Wilderspool Causeway / Warrington / Cheshire / WA4 6QP / England „
Geronimo is an indoor multi level soft play area for young children. It has been designed around a wild west theme and there are generally some staff around dressed in American Indian style dress complete with war paint.
The play area is fairly new, having been open probably less that 2 years now, and the padded climbing areas, ball pits and large foam shapes are all fantastically clean with no observable wear and tear.
This play area is particularly suited to pre-school children as there is a large toddler area on the ground floor with a small enclosed ballpit and lots of large padded shapes to build with, clamber over and push around. This area is much larger than most of the toddler sections I have encountered in other indoor play centres and as it is surrounded by a low padded wall, accessing it is easy for parents wishing to rescue a small child feining 'drowning' in the ball pit (which is much too shallow for any child to be buried in!).
The play centre is very baby and toddler oriented, providing lots of highchairs and even bumbo seats so that baby can sit unaided and watch big sis or bro having a whale of a time.
As well as the toddler area on the ground floor there is also access to the upper levels of the play equipment and an enclosed sports arena which hosts football goals (padded of course) and a basketball hoop. There are always lots of footballs loose in the arena and we particularly enjoy a game of footie safe in the knowledge that the mesh walls prevent the ball from travelling too far. Other toddlers sometimes join in with us but as there are generally 4 or 5 balls lying around there is never a 'my ball' issue (although there is sometimes a 'MY mummy' issue!).
The main play equipment holds a variety of play opportunities and there are suggestions on how to get the most from the equipment on various notices throughout the play area. For those who want to be competitive, arrows are stitched into the flooring showing a race route around the different levels, and I have seen 6 and 7 years olds proceed with this challenge and have great fun with it. Littlest HonestBob and I prefer to take our own route, generally revisiting the twisty totem pole several times until he can no longer toddle straight, squeezing through the rolling sausages, over the padded balls and then down either the short enclosed snake slide (littlest HB does this one alone) or down the longer wavy slide all the way to the ground floor (this slide has four stations so Mummy goes down along side littlest HB. A strange sight as I have an enormous bum and generally get stuck mid-slide!).
The top floor consists of several tables and chairs for parents to sit and chat at as well as an enclosed sit 'n' ride area where cosy coupe cars and little tikes bikes are provided. There are also a couple of small rooms upstairs that are used during parties for games and food. There is also an air hockey table and a TV upstairs. The TV always seems to be showing sky sport so I guess this is where Daddy's hang out during parties.
We've been to a couple of parties held at Geronimo and littlest HB has had a fab time. Basically the kids play on the equipment and then gather in the arena for a singsong and pass the parcel before going upstairs for food. Food is either simple sandwiches or nuggets/sausages and chips. Children then leave with a party bag containing a small cuddly toy (this always goes down well with littlest HB who promptly falls asleep, exhausted, in his carseat hugging his latest snuggly) spinning top, milky bar and cake.
I haven't hosted a party at Geronimo but I have done my research and a party during normal opening hours (with non-party guests also using the facilities) costs £10 per hour per child, whilst sole use of the venue is available on a Sunday, Monday or Tuesday 4pm-6pm or 6pm-8pm on Fridays and Saturdays at £250 for 15 guests plus £7.50 for each additional guest. Not cheap! Party upgrades are available with themed rooms (pirates, princesses, football, music mayhem etc...), premium party bags and other extras but frankly, the cost is already phenomenal!
Although I think Geronimo party packages are pricey, I do have to salute the venue for its general pricing for everyday play. Many play centres that we have used charge for hourly or two hourly sessions whereas Geronimo charges one price for unlimited use that day. This is particularly good as we often end up staying for lunch so can be there for 3 or 4 hours quite happily. During term time entry is £3.50 for 'Little Braves' increasing to £4 during school holidays. Discounts are available for childminders and multiples (twins or more) and there is a loyalty card system whereby you collect a stamp for each visit and get the 10th visit free.
The website www.gogeronimo.co.uk provides further information on pricing, opening times and location as well as the events run during term time and school holidays (hair braiding and dance lessons among them).
As I said, we often end up staying for lunch. This is not cheap, but sometimes we're just having too much fun to go home. Geronimo has a coffee shop and makes fabulous cappuccino, latte, hot chocolate etc.. using fairtrade produce. Childrens meals are the usual fish finger, chips and beans type affair and I suppose my only complaint is that they do not follow the TV ad campaign and provide 'me size' meals. Littlest HB barely makes a dent in the portions they make and my hips are paying the price for all those extra chips I'm finishing off for him. I really should just help him with his dinner but I always find myself ordering a steak and red onion sandwich with kettle chips and yummy colesaw. At this rate I'll get completely stuck on the wavy slide one day!
Free wi-fi broadband is available, but really folks, this is a playarea, an opportunity to get down and sweaty with your kids as they bury you in plastic balls and race you across the rope bridge, around the fantastic mirror that makes you look skinny and between the twirly sausages before proving the mirror wrong as you get wedged on the slide and they reach victory at base camp.... leave the laptop at home.
Indoor children's soft play.