“ Address: Unit 4 Ridge Way / Donibristle Industrial Estate / Dalgety Bay / Dunfermline / KY11 9FZ / Fife / Scotland „
The Play Planet is a soft play area for kids up to the age of twelve years. There are a number of similar soft play areas in Fife, but The Play Planet is my personal favourite.
*** Location of The Play Planet ***
The Play Planet is located in Donibristle Industrial Estate in Dalgety Bay, Fife, about five miles from Dunfermline. It is about a five minute walk from Dalgety Bay Train Station and there is a bus stop close by, so it's fairly easy to get to.
When entering the industrial estate from the West side of Ridge Way, it is the first building on the left, opposite Asda. There are plenty parking spaces outside the entrance and I have never had a problem getting parked here, however, there are also extra spaces round the side and plenty of space across the road at Asda.
*** Arriving at The Play Planet ***
Upon entering The Play Planet, you will find yourself in the Reception room, in front of the desk. The staff here are always friendly and if it's your first time visiting they will be happy to explain the rules, show you the play frames and answer any questions you may have. You pay at the desk before entering the play area and if you haven't already got one, you will be given a loyalty card which will be stamped to represent your visit (more on this later). Shoes and any other bits and pieces can be left in a box here and collected on the way out. This whole process is always done very quickly and efficiently and I've never had more than a few minutes wait, even at the busiest times. There are paintings on the walls of planets with their names, which can amuse children while they are waiting for their parents to pay and there is also a pay-to-ride toy which is good for this. There are many leaflets and business cards etc in this area also, which I love to have a look through. There is a wealth of kids clubs advertised and it's great for finding things to do with the children. I think it's great that the company supports local clubs and organisations in such a way.
You will be given a ticket with your name and box number on and a copy of the rules on the back. This is a great idea as it means that no one has any excuse for not knowing what is or is not allowed. If it's busy, it will also have the start time of your 2 hour session, so that you know when your time is up.
*** The Play Frames ***
Entry into the play areas is through a door with a higher than average handle - perfect to ensure little Houdini's don't escape! You enter into the seating area, with the Observatory Café directly opposite you. There are lots of tables and chairs, some comfy sofa type seats with low down coffee style tables and some higher tables with wooden chairs. There are three different play areas, two at the far left hand side and one at the far right, with the seating area in between. This is a fantastic layout and the main reason I prefer this play centre over others in the area. I have three children of different ages (one for each play area), and this layout means that I can see all three of them from wherever I choose to sit.
The smallest play area is for the under 3's. This has a gate and lots of padding on the floor. There is a ball pit, building blocks, a soft slide and many soft shapes for building and climbing on. This area is great for younger children, but I think by the time the kids reach 18 months they really need a bit more to keep them amused for the full two hours. However, in saying that, my older two love it when it's quiet because they're allowed to come and play in this area too. For some strange reason they seem to love it, building up the blocks and knocking them over, chucking shapes at each other and burying each other in the ball pit.
The second play area is the smaller of the two play frames and is suitable for under 5 year olds. It is set on two levels and has a rope swing, a slide, cargo net to walk across, tunnels and many more to keep them amused. There are many ways to get up and down between the two levels. I'd say the age range for this area is just right. My youngest daughter will be two in September and can just about manage all the activities in here, with the exception of one or two which she needs a bit of adult help with. By the time she's two I'm sure she'll be able to manage them herself. My five year old still finds this play frame fun, although it no longer amuses him for the 2 hour play time.
The third play area is the larger of the two play frames and this is for 5-12 year olds. This play frame is on three different levels and has two large bumpy slides, side-by-side, which run from the top level to the bottom. There is a smaller spiral slide, giant balls to bounce around, a rope swing and loads of other obstacles to clamber over and climb up. This is by far the favourite play frame with all three of my kids and each of them would spend the whole time in here if they could.
There are also a few ride on cars scattered about the place. There is a pay-to-ride bus which the kids love to just sit in, even when it's not working.
Before the current owner took over at the beginning of this year, there was a chalk room as well, where kids could go in and draw on the walls which resembled giant blackboards. I'm not sure what is happening with this room just now, but I'm sure there will be a use for it soon.
*** The Observatory ***
The Observatory is where you purchase your food and drinks. There is a huge selection which ranges from home baked cakes and biscuits, to baked potatoes, baguettes and my kids favourite - the lunchtime platters, where they can have a mini buffet lunch.
They do a selection of hot drinks, cans and cartons of juice, milk, water and the usual for us - a jug of juice with as many cups as you require. This is great because the kids always work up a thirst when running riot in here and you could easily find yourself having several trips to The Observatory for refills.
The staff here are really friendly as well and always happy to help with special dietary requirements or special requests. The service can be a little slow when the place is busy, but this is only to be expected and because of the type of place it is, this generally isn't a problem as the kids will be kept entertained.
I've never had any complaints about the food. It's always served fresh and at the right temperature and it's always been delicious. The only thing I have found a bit of a pain is that there just aren't enough high chairs. Considering that they should expect quite a large number of babies and toddlers, I don't think I've ever counted more than four high chairs and almost always have to wait for one to become available or sit my youngest on my knee while she eats her lunch.
*** Functions/Classes ***
There are two party rooms in The Play Planet which can be hired out for kids birthdays or to groups. My older kids have been to a couple of birthday parties at The Play Planet and have always come out raving about how great they are. I believe the kids have an hour on the soft play equipment and then an hour in the party room eating and playing games etc.
There are also various classes running in The Play Planet throughout the week. There's kids dancing classes, baby sensory classes and karate classes. From what I have seen and heard these are always well attended. However, it is good to remember that these are not run by The Play Planet themselves, but individual teachers etc. There is usually a special deal for children attending classes to have a play on the equipment either before or after.
For adults there is a fitness class one evening a week and an occasional social dance evening.
*** Other Points to Consider ***
The Play Planet is almost always fully booked during the weekends and school holidays, so if you are planning on going it could be worth a phone call beforehand to make sure there are spaces and to book yourselves in.
The centre is designed so that parents supervise their own children. This has been one of the downsides for us in the past. So many parents go along, let their children loose and sit and almost disown them for the duration. There have been a few incidents with other kids hitting my own children or pushing them out the way and their parents are nowhere to be seen.
When the centre is quiet, children can generally switch between play areas. However this can get a little confusing for the kids and when it's busy you often find children in the wrong areas. This isn't a problem for the majority as they are usually either well behaved or their parents will keep them right, however, there is the odd occasion where you can find older kids in the toddler bit demolishing everything (and every child) in sight. We did have a problem on one of our recent visits where we had to ask a member of staff to step in and rescue the babies. This was done very promptly and there were no further problems.
*** Prices ***
Under 1's are free
Over 1's are £3.95 per child per 2 hour session
Accompanying adults are free
Childminders pay only £2.95 per child Monday to Friday
£3 per child after 4pm Monday to Friday (excluding school holidays)
They're also doing a membership now, where you can choose between three different passes: £45 for 13 weeks, £90 for 26 wks or £180 for a year
Discounts are available for group bookings and as mentioned before, there are special deals for children attending classes there.
They also do a customer loyalty card as mentioned earlier, where you get the card stamped every time you're there and once you've collected 9 stamps, you get your 10th visit free.
*** My Overall Opinion ***
I really do love this place and find myself spending too much time here with my kids, particularly over the winter months. I have mentioned a couple of bad points above, but these really are few and far between and in my 5 years of taking my kids here, we've not really had any major problems, and certainly none with the staff or the play area itself.
If you're ever stuck for a place to take the kids in Fife, this would definitely be one of my top recommended places to go.
Childrens Indoor Play Centres for ages 0 to 12.