“ Address: Unit 3 / Valley Centertainment / Broughton Lane / Sheffield / S9 2EP / Tel: 08458 739645 „
Monkey Bizness is a chain of soft play centres based in large warehouse type buildings. The first one we ever visited was down in London for a family member's birthday party. We found that it was an excellent venue for a wide age range of children from babies to about 10 years old, so we were over the moon when one opened fairly near to us at Valley Centertainment, Sheffield.
It is located inside the Unit that used to house Club Wow nightclub that my husband and myself used to attend as students, but apart from the initial weirdness at walking into the once familiar venue and seeing it set out in a new way, it is a fantastic location for this sort of attraction.
It is located at Unit 3, Valley Centertainment, Broughton Lane, Sheffield. S9 2EP. This is the end unit on the complex, which is also home to a Vue cinema, restaurants such as Bella Italia, Frankie and Benny's, and fast food restaurants such as KFC. There is also a bowling alley on the complex, and just across the road is the Motorpoint Sheffield Arena.
The complex is very easy to get to, located just off junction 34 of the M1. There is ample car parking around the Centertainment park, including less visible parking behind the cinema. Parking is never usually a problem unless there is an event on at the Arena. There is also the excellent tram service in Sheffield, so you can hop on a yellow tram to get dropped off at the Centertainment tram stop.
Other amenities in the area include the Meadowhall shopping centre, and the meadowhall retail park featuring chain shops such as Toys R us, furniture shops, PC world and Hobbycraft.
Entering Monkey Biz
When you go into the building, the facility is upstairs. We went up the stairs and through some large doors which took us to the payment desk. Costs are a little high, but we found it good value as we got there early enough for it to not be busy (about 10am on a Sunday morning) and stayed for about 3 hours. In many of these centres, the cost is less, the venue is a bit smaller, and you are only allowed to stay for 2 hours at peak time. Here, we did not find we felt at all rushed, and we would have been happy to stay for a bit longer.
The opening hours are:
Sunday - Thursday - 9:30am to 6pm
Friday and Saturday - 9:30am to 9pm.
The costs are:
Off peak- Under 1s are free, 1-3 year olds are £5, 4-12 year olds are £6, adults are £1.25
peak times - (Saturdays, Sundays and during the school holidays) - Under 1s are free, 1-3 year olds are £6, 4-12 year olds are £7, and adults are £1.25.
There is a statement on the web site that says play may be limited to 90 minutes at busy times, but it is a large venue, so my opinion and our experience tells me that it you arrive when it is quieter, you will get the best value.
Using Monkey Biz
Because the centre is set up to cater for such a large age range, the play areas are assigned for different age groups. There is a small area for babies and toddlers. There is then a small climbing area for the smaller children up to about 5 years old, and a much bigger climbing area with big slides and a hidden air hockey table in the middle for the bigger kids. There is also a high wire activity in the roof that you need to pay extra to use, but this is for the bigger children only. We haven't seen anyone using this when we have been there.
The centre is so large that is is also set up really well for the adults in the party. The play areas are right at one end of the centre opposite the payment desk. Between the two areas, there are comfortable sofas, and then lots of tables and chairs for the parents to make themselves comfortable. We had our pick of where to sit first thing in the morning. Down one edge of the room there were arcade type machines such as car games, and sit on rides for the younger kids.
There is also a cafe/food serving area within the centre. While we only have had hot and cold drinks from here, there were a lot of people round us who had decided to have lunch there, with very tempting smells of bacon butties and chips. The food going past us certainly looked adequate in terms of portion size and attractiveness. We had nice large mugs of tea, and the kids got a large jug of squash which was a much cheaper option than the bottles of fruit shoot which is normally all our kids want when we go to this sort of venue.
The toilet facilities were also really good, with plenty of cubicles in the ladies, and several baby change tables that were large enough to do what you needed to do. I was impressed with how large and clean these were. There was never much of a queue in spite of all the people that were there.
The only slight criticism of the venue I had, was that it felt rather cold to me. This is maybe a good thing when the kids are running round, but I personally felt cold as I was sat down mostly watching them play. I guess that it is hard to heat buildings of this size though.
As soft play centres go, this one was modern and up to date, and run very efficiently. It is also a large enough venue to not feel busy even when it is. There is enough space for everyone to not be on top of each other, and the kids not start bumping into each other.
It's a great place to get the kids to let off some steam without me walking out with a headache from all the noise. Worth trying out.