“ Address: The Esplanade / Prestwick / KA9 1QG „
I have young children and so we have visited every soft play area in the Ayrshire area. For those who may not know what 'Soft Play' is, it is an indoor play area with climbing frames, slides and a number of activities for your children to enjoy. You can let them run around for a few hours on soft apparatus while the parent can watch on knowing there child is safe, while enjoying a cup of tea. Our favourite has always been Kidz play, but unfortunately there was a fire last year, and due to smoke damage to whole unit needed to be refurbished. Finally at the end of June 2013 it reopened to the public and I knew this was where we were going to have my son's birthday party. Since it has reopened we have visited twice and used it as the venue for my son's 6th birthday and we have been impressed all three times.
Kidz play is located in Prestwick which is just outside Ayr. It is on the beach front so once you have finished inside there is a park right outside and of course the beach itself to keep you entertained. This means weather permitting you can make a day of it rather than just a two hour visit. It is easily accessed by car and while there is no public transport that drops you right outside, buses run to Prestwick town centre which is just a 10 minute walk away. Prestwick train station is also only around five minute walks away so it is easily accessible. There is a huge free car park located right outside the building and even at the busiest of times you will be able to find a parking space.
The Centre is open 7 days a week from 9.30 am until 6pm.
You would think that one of the largest play areas would make the most of their advantage but the prices are actually reasonable. We paid £8 per child for the birthday party on the weekend, which included 2 hours use of the play area, a buffet style lunch and sweeties and ice cream for pudding. There is a minimum 10 person policy to book the party area but we found this to be reasonable enough. One party hut can hold 25 people, but if you have a larger group there are two available, so really it can hold parties of up to 50 children. You can also book a party without the food for the lower price of £7 per head on a weekend, and there are lower prices if the party takes place on a week day.
Upon arriving we were greeted by the manager who assigned our party host. Then anything we needed we has a direct member of staff to approach which I think is great as it feels more personal and organised. All I needed to do was take a cake and party bags. They prepared the birthday cake so it was ready for me to carry in lit, and then cut it into pieces and placed it in the party bags so they were ready to go. The area was more than big enough for the amount of children allowed per room and there was reserved seating outside of the room for parents of the children attending the party. I thought this was great as some adults, such as school friends parents prefer to stay and watch their children, but keep their distance so they are not interfering.
To enter the soft play area normally it costs £3.70 for two hours on a weekday or £4.50 on a weekend or in the school holidays. Adults do not need to pay, nor do children who are not yet walking. While for a family it can get expensive we have paid anything up to £6 per child for other play areas and some only allow 90 minutes of play. The cafe is also reasonable. Usually we find that food and drink are hugely inflated as you are unable to purchase food from elsewhere, but the prices are no different to any other cafe.
The under five area has been hugely improved in the recent refurbishment. It includes a large climbing area with obstacle courses along the way. It is not too high so younger children would become frightened and is very accessible for parents too. There is plenty of room so there is no pushing past people and even at busier times we found my younger children were able to play easily. In this area there is also a ball pit which again is large enough for more than one child to play in at a time. My daughter loved the Wendy house they have in this area, and actually spent most of the time hiding in there.
Finally one of the main attractions and new features in the recent refurbishment is a small air machine. When little one places the balls on top of the unit and pushes a button air is dispensed pushing the plastic balls in the air. My children and many others were amazed with it. As it is only small only a few children can play at a time, but by taking it in turns each child was able to have a go. Everything is set out perfectly so little one can run around, climb and use some energy without them being able to hurt themselves in any way. It is enclosed, not fully but enough to deter young babies from running off into the larger area.
The over fives area is definitely the largest of the two. It is a huge climbing frame with a number of different levels. There is a light house feature for them to climb up and down, a multilane slide so friends can go down at the same time, a ball blaster gun that shoots soft balls out and an encaged area for children to play ball games. Most importantly there is a huge amount of activities to let them run wild and burn of some steam.
The many bridges play areas and lighthouse to climb is great for boosting the imagination, and they are getting some exercise at the same time. While it is suggested from five years old and above my three old sons was able to accompany his siblings without any problem. There was nothing that he could hurt himself with and he was able to play in the different areas easily. It will depend on each child and how adventurous they are but it is also usable by younger children.
Staff and service
One of the things I love about this soft play is the customer service. From the moment I rang to enquire about a birthday party to the second we left we were looked after. Everything was explained and there was always a member of staff around if we needed them. On repeat visits even without a party booking the staffs has been more than helpful. They are friendly and carry huge smiles on their faces which I think is perfect for an area designed for young children.
There is also staff present inside the play area. They sit to give children a helping hand and make sure they are ok while out of sight. Of course you are responsible for your child's safety, but knowing there are eyes watching up in the highest of the area made me feel a little calmer. We have had hot drinks and food from the restaurant and the service was also fantastic. The food is always hot and actually tastes nice without being over priced like so many attractions aimed towards children. There has always been a manager present when we visited who strolls around making sure everything is running efficiently and she managed to answer all questions I had.
As it has been refurbished all of the play equipment is brand new. The party huts are decorated in bright colours to make the occasion even more exciting. From experience the play centre has always been in a good state, even the old apparatus was kept fresh and clean and that is why we always returned. The tables are kept clear and the toilets were all immaculate. We did pay a visit to the toilet a number of times, and with a 6 week old baby I needed to make use of the baby changing facilities. All were clean and fully accessible without any problems at all.
As the play centre has just reopened it can get very busy especially on wet days. We were lucky it was a beautiful day for my Sons party so it was a little quieter, but the way the area is set out means even when it is overly busy you can still keep an eye on your children. The whole play centre is enclosed with doors that need to be opened by staff to gain access or exit to the building. Of course the whole area is designed to keep children safe and enclosed, but it is the parent's responsibility to keep your children safe.
There are lots of tables so you should be able to find somewhere to sit very easily. There are tunnel areas under the main structure of the soft play that you can walk through and clearly see the whole area. This makes it very easy for nervous parents like me to check where their children are hiding. It is so much easier to locate where they are without having to actually attempt to enter the area yourself and such a good idea.
If you cannot already tell we love this play area. It is perfect for the colder winter days when it is impossible to be outside. My children all really love playing and by the time they come out they are red in the face from all the running around. It is suitable for different age ranges and there is something for everyone. It is expensive, but no more so than any other soft play in the area. It is bright clean and a great way for the children to burn off some energy. A perfect play area for babies and children up to around 11 years old.
http://www.kidz-play.co.uk/ The website has some images available if you are interested.