Meerkats have been enjoying rather a renaissance in recent times, which is why it was a real surprise to be able to pick up this set for £5 from boots.com - it's widely available for the £10 mark. For this price you get everything you can see in the product photo above. As well as one Playmobil sized person (if you are not familiar with them they are around 6cm high), you get 5 Meerkats in 2 different poses, 2 sitting and 2 standing. There's also some vegetation, a tree and two feeding barrels, one large one small and food, lots of it which fit around a solid plastic base that is about 10-15cm across and has a tunnel under it.
Once out of the box there is a small amount of assembly to do - there is a sticker to put on the large barrel - Meerkat must be "Merkat" in German if this sticker is to be believed). You also have to assemble the trees and vegetation and put the food in the barrels. This is really a job for an adult but doesn't take long. Speaking about adults - if you are the type to not like small bits the food is not going to please, there are hundreds of lentil sized Meerkat food which can be shaken out of the barrel by the little Meerkats brandished by a young playmobil devoutee. Kids seem to like the play value provided by the food though. My daughter finds feeding the Meerkats and various other animals with the food endlessly interesting. The food looks like little red lentils - I'm not sure what Meerkats actually eat - the advert didn't say, but they look like they are supposed to be some kind of pellets.
My daughter seems to love being able to perch the Meerkats in the various holes and niches in the log. The log can also be removed and she likes to hide the cats under the base. The meerkats have heads that turn and are really lifelike, they don't tend to fall over with play and the keeper grasps the little brush set that comes with it well and can even hold small bits of food.
As a stand alone set this would work pretty well, but it's even better as part of the zoo that we also own and has a great deal of play value in my opinion as there are plenty of different things to do with such a small set. I think the manufacturer's age guideline of 4 and above is spot on - with the teeny bits it's probably not best suited for a younger child, though you could removed the food items the meerkats are probably of swallowable size.
As I would expect from playmobil, the build quality of this is excellent and definitely passes the kid test, though the little bits of food do tend to go anywhere. At the price I paid this was a definite bargain, it's a great set.
Model: Meerkat Family