“ Address: Evans House / Norman Street / Warrington WA2 7HW / Cheshire „
At three years old my daughter is still rather small to thoroughly enjoy indoor play areas. It's not really so much that she doesn't enjoy it, but when the baby section is the only available section to her because of the age restrictions and safety issues in the larger, main areas she can become rather bored and fun trips out to the play area can turn into a nightmare. That was however until we found giggles play mill.
Giggles play mill is an indoor play area specifically designed for babies, toddlers and young children. There are two areas to giggles play mill, a baby section and a toddler section. Both sections are overly generous in proportions, admittedly this play area is not as large as the more popular and larger indoor play areas but it provides just enough equipment and room for toddlers to be able to have an enjoyable time whilst I am satisfied that everything is safe and age appropriate.
The main play area
The actual main play area is designed for children under 5, according to the website, this is the largest under 5s play area in the area. I cannot disagree with this, that's exactly why we like to visit here so often. The play area offers a wide variety of activities that are suitable for a small child and as no big children are allowed in the area I know that she will be safe from tumbles and falls. In a different play area my daughter was playing in the babies section and there were older children allowed into that area as it wasn't monitored properly, one child knocked past my daughter going up the steps to a slide and as a result my daughter came crashing down to the bottom. This resulted in a trip to the hospital and it was truthfully a horrible experience. At giggles play mill however the play area is closely monitored and all of the children playing here are around my daughter's age. Also due to the nature of the play area (in it being specifically for toddlers) I have never seen any older children there at all.
I won't go into all of the aspects of the play area but there is generally everything that you would find in a larger one, just miniaturised. The whole area is soft play and there are climbing frames, ball pools, slides, and then all of your obstacle type structures such as net bridges, rollers and funny shaped holes. My daughter really enjoys this play area, not only is it suitable for her age but she also likes how the other children are the same age and she can easily make friends. Another experience we had at a different play area was when my daughter was running after some older children who she thought she was playing with, in reality these older children were running away from her laughing and when my daughter couldn't keep up she came over to me and asked where her friends had gone. It really is a heart breaker when you see things like that. But again at giggles play mill this is never a problem and there is no shortage of children the same age who want to play.
The play area also has a separate soft play football pitch, this is of a fair size and provides plenty of room for several children to play at once. As it is a toddlers play area, light fly a ways are used rather than hard balls. As well as this there is a bouncy castle but this is rarely up and when it is you do need to pay extra for this.
The baby play area
The baby area is not as large as the toddler area but it is definitely a fair size, bigger than a baby section in other play areas. It's a totally separate area to the main play area but toddlers are allowed to use it as well. It is basically just a large square covered in soft mats on the floor. It has a small round ball bool for the babies and it has several small soft toys, building blocks and soft animals etc. It also has a Winnie the pooh activity centre, usually one that you would buy for your garden. It's designed as a tree house, it has several entrances to get into it and once in it's like a little den, it also has a small slide. The baby section doesn't have much more but I think this is plenty for a baby, its more than enough room for babies to have a stretch and a roll around whilst their older siblings are playing. As I mention in the next section, all areas, the toddler and baby section are all visible from the seating area.
Parent seating area
There are approximately 15 tables within the seating area, this isn't an awful lot but I have never found it to be too busy, not even on the weekends, I'm always able to find somewhere to sit. The seating area completely overlooks the whole play area so you are able to sit in peace without having to run around the whole play area looking for your child. There is only one entrance/exit to the play area as well so you don't have to keep looking to make sure they are not planning a getaway escape. And even in such an event, the seating area is totally blocked off with only one exit out of the building, this being guarded by the staff and only being opened by a button at the main desk area. There are no other areas either; the toilets are all on the outside of the gate so it's just a big boxed room with no means of escape. This is the only play area that I can feel relaxed in and the whole event is rather very calming rather than being a stressful extravaganza.
There's not the widest selection of food available but there is enough to suffice. They sell your general sandwiches, toasties, baguettes and chips as well as children's meals. It's not an awful amount but for a light snack its fine. They also sell tea, coffee, fruit shoots and your regular cans of fizzy pop and bottled water. On the whole I have found the food to be rather nice. We don't eat here on every visit but when we do I have found the food to be ok. The prices are also very reasonable for this type of place; the prices aren't overly inflated with a children meal costing around the £2.00 mark. This allows a choice of sandwich, a yoghurt and a fruit shoot bottle. The service delivered by the staff has always been welcoming and they do aim to help if you have any queries or specific preferences.
Prices and opening times
Under 1s: free
(All day unlimited play)
Monday to Saturday 10am - 6pm
Sunday 11am - 5pm
Closed Easter Sunday, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day.
Early Closing on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.
Other bank holidays Sunday trading hours 11am - 5pm
Giggles play mill is situated in Warrington. Access to it is somewhat of a task if you are not familiar with the area. Being situated at the end of Winwick road it's not too far from the motorway networks but the building itself doesn't give much of a clue to it being there. It is within Evans house and it is positioned on the top floor. There is a lift access but I would take the stairs if that is possible. The lift seems somewhat unstable to me being one of those old fashioned/ancient ones where you have to shut the gate yourself before it proceeds to take you upwards.
There are toilets within the play area and they do have baby changing facilities and wheelchair access. The toilets also have miniature children's toilets which I think is a great touch because for some reason most play areas I have been to don't have these.
Giggles play mill also hold parties, my daughter has been to several birthday parties here and we intend to have her 4th birthday party here in January. I'm sure there are other things but really this is the only place I could think of going where I know 20+ kids would be safe to play and have a fun time. The party prices here are also very reasonable being around £7.00 per child; this includes play, party games, food and a goody bag. There are several party themed events but all of the information for that can be found on the giggles play mill web site.
Overall we really enjoy giggles play mill. My daughter absolutely loves it; she's able to play to her hearts content whilst I can relax knowing she is safe and secure. There's not really any aspect of it that I don't enjoy. Admittedly it's not the newest of play areas but at three years old it's enough for her to have a really good time.