“ Address: 9 & 10 Mason Road / Cowdray Centre / Cowdray Avenue / Colchester / Essex / CO1 1BX „
As I'm an auntie of eight gorgeous nieces and nephews it's fair to say that I've done my fair share of childhood related things, and someone elses share! One of the places that I've recently visited is 'Go Bananas' in Colchester, Essex.
The opening times are 9.30am to 6.30pm Monday-Saturday and 10.00am to 6.30pm on Sundays. They are also open 10.00am to 4.00pm on Bank Holidays and are open every day of the year except Christmas Day, Boxing Day & New Years Day. This is quite a fantastic variety of opening times as it means regardless of the day of the week you can have a nice lunch somewhere and then take your little ones along to Go Bananas for a fun afternoon out.
The prices are as follows:
FREE for adults and newborn to 6months
£1.20 - crawlers
£4.20 - walking to 4 years old
£5.00 - 5 to 12 years (max height 5ft)
(Copied from http://www.go-bananas.co.uk/about_timespricing.html)
As I was visiting the play area with three of my nieces and my sister it cost us just £10.00 for the four of us to enter as my youngest niece was just around the six month mark at the time and was very reasonable with two hours play being allowed from the time of your admittance. I felt that this was a reasonable amount of time as it was plenty of time for my nieces to explore the play centre, for us to have a chat and a little play too and not get too bored waiting for the children to finish playing.
The play centre is very easy to find as you just need to follow signs for it from the rail station and it's just a few minutes in the car and probably not much longer on foot. There is ample on site parking and we had no trouble finding a parking space.
The toilet facilities on site are very child friendly and they have a baby changing area also which was useful for my youngest niece to be changed in. It was clean, tidy and hygienic (at least it appeared to be) and there was ample space to comfortably change my niece without worrying about her rolling off anything or hurting herself. I was pleased with the facilities, as was my sister.
The play area itself is absolutely fantastic with all it's bright colours and entertaining areas for the children to check out. It's a large area with slides, cargo nets, ball pools, and there is even a rock wall for the older children to climb. There is a ton of stuff to do here and two hours is probably just about enough time for children to enjoy everything that's here. Also, I must admit I did have a little play in the centre myself with my eldest nieces and the staff had no problem with this at all. It was great fun to be able to go down slides and just generally muck around and I got some fantastic photographs of my nieces that I will treasure forever. There was a lovely little soft play area for the little children and although my youngest niece was very small at the time I was able to sit her in a little bubble car and prop her up and just generally have a little play with her which prompted some of her first ever proper girlie giggles which was just fantastic for me to be involved in.
Overall I'd rate this an excellent day out, obviously depending on the size of your little one it depends how cheap it is, however, even if it's £5 each it's still fantastic. The staff are very friendly and they don't mind you mucking in and having fun with your little ones. It was fantastic for me to see my nieces enjoying themselves so much and my middle niece was so tired that she actually fell asleep in the car on the way home. The play centre was fairly busy when we attended but it didn't detract from the amount of fun that my nieces were able to have. I really enjoyed our day out and I'm sure we will return there again in the near future, particularly as they keep asking about it!
Go Bananas is a great soft adventure playground area that I used to go to a lot as a kid. It is parked in an obscure industrial area of Colchester but is well signposted, so it is easy to find even if it is in a strange and unassuming area.
As a kid I absolutely loved this; it is a huge, multi-tiered soft play area, with just about everything a kid would want - rope bridges, slides, ball pools, things you have to crawl through and such like - and is great fun, if tiring. They have "free" days and then also they allow bookings during which you can have the entire facility to yourself.
I recently, despite being 21, went to a friend's party there who invited me, and it's still great fun despite being older. Admittedly it didn't impress me as much scale wise, but it was still a great load of fun and did me a world of good in regard to exercise, I imagine. If there's any complaint, though, it is that the staff do encroach a bit on the fun. We had a party booked and just wanted to play on the play area the whole time, but the staff had outlined a series of party games, such as sumo wrestling, which nobody was really interested in. Thankfully they did oblige and just let everyone go on the play area eventually, but they didn't seem overly pleased about it.
I can't tell you how much it costs as I didn't book, but it is a fine and quite fast diversion for kids; you normally get an hour of play, and it's without a doubt enough to tire your kid out. It really is a great place for children to unwind and have fun with their friends!
GO BANANAS in Colchester is a great place for kids for parties. Although the situation is a bit out of the way, in an industrial park, the actual venue is very suitable.
Many of my parties for when I was younger were held there. It has a huge complex (well you think its huge when your younger) of balls, slides, ropes, 3 seperate levels and just fun things all over. Even although you're young, you easily work up a sweat in this action packed play area. I remember thinking the ball pit at the bottom was so deep you could almost drown in it. How the slides were so steep and could of even been dangerous, infact how I was scared for some of the thing but loved them nonetheless.
There were friendly workers who were always young and would play along with games they made up. These included everyone being blind folded into two teams and competing as a team to get from one end to the other first. There were always treats too, being cold drinks and ice cream.
It is a great place for kids and parties that parents would also love to see their children involved in. It brings all the kids together to make good friends.
Go Bananas also have an adult version however. I also went to this and wasnt as satisfied. Ofcourse it just ruined the memories of when I was a child. The ball pit, which seemed to once drown me from head to toe, was upto my ankle, and I could even see the floor in some cases. The slides were tiny, and certain things like rolling pins to squeeze through werent to easy to get through when your almost 6 foot at the time. However, it was still a good laugh, but something I would only do that one time as an adult.
Highly reccommended for kids though. A great day out which makes you want to go again and again and again!
Indoor Children's Play Centre