“ Unit 40 / No 1 Industrial Estate / Consett / Tel: 01207 500007. „
I am not a fan of indoor activities for children preferring the great outdoors when ever possible. However there are days when the weather is bad and then indoor venues are useful!
Mr Twisters is an adventure indoor play area for children. There are actually 3 Mr Twisters all in the northeast. I am writing about the one to be found in Consett but there are also Mr Twisters in Gateshead and Middlesbrough.
Mr Twisters, Consett is situated in the middle of a very large industrial estate on the Medomsley road. Although it is signposted it is still quite difficult to find in the maze that is the industrial estate. I suggest you go to the web site at www.mrtwisters.co.uk and print off the map provided. Once there is a large, free car park.
Once inside there is a reception desk to your right where you will be relieved on your money. This place isnt cheap. Prices for children from age 3 are either £2.50 or £3.50 depending on when you come. For children 3-4 yrs the cost is £3.50 or £3.95.
5 year olds and over pay £3.95 or £4.45. The higher charge is applicable at weekends and holidays. Adults and older children pay 50p. I asked how old an older child had to be to pay the 50p charge and was told about 13 years. It you feel like spending even more money there is a pay to ride truck at the entrance as well as so called pocket money toys for sale. Before entering the play area children are asked to hand over their shoes at the reception desk where they are stored in lockers.
Once through the gate you enter the play area. There is a large area to your right aimed at children over 5. This consists of slides, a ball pool and various soft things to jump over or crawl under. The top of the structure is quite high. The whole area is surrounded by netting and looks fairly safe. To the far end of the play structure is a football area with nets and a soft ball.
In the middle of the room there are numerous tables and chairs. There is another play area aimed at the under 5,s to the left of the seating area. This also has a small ball pool. There are large plastic playhouses and soft shapes to play with.
At the front of the room there is a café serving drinks and food. You are discouraged from bringing your own food although I always bring some fruit! I am not impressed with the café as the food is overpriced and of poor quality. There are special childrens meals on offer including a childrens meal box. This consists of sandwiches (white bread) and cheese or jam filling. A packet of crisps, a piece of fruit and a drink. I recently asked for grated cheese instead of the cream cheese on offer and was told this was not normally allowed as children make too much mess with grated cheese! There are also other meals such as chips and burgers. There are some healthy options however such as jacket potato and salad. I think that the café could do far more to encourage healthy eating. Children get very hot and thirsty at this place so either bring bottled water with you or ask at the café for a glass of water (free)!
My children love going to Mr Twisters and always have a great time. It can get very crowded especially at weekends and during school holidays. If you can visit outside these times I would recommend you do so. When it is crowded it can be difficult to keep an eye on your children especially if you have children in each play area. When children are using the larger area it can be difficult to see them.
The main seating areas always looks a bit grubby to be and the carpet could certainly do with a good clean! There are plenty of child friendly toilets, as you would expect with baby changing areas. The toilets have always been clean when we have visited.
Mr Twisters holds childrens parties and has 3 party rooms available. There can be 150 children at any one time in the building so things can get hectic! We have never experienced a party here so cant comment. The cost per child including food and party bag is about £9 per head with a maximum number of 30.
Mr Twisters can also be hired out if any organisation is interested. For any special function or party Mr Twisters can be contacted on 01207-500-007.
There are organised activities during the week and full details are available on the web site. We have experienced parachute mania held on Wednesday mornings. This consists of games played in the football area with a large parachute, great fun!
Although I think the admission prices are high you can stay all day. Mr Twisters is open every day as follows-
Monday to thursays-10-6pm.
Overall I would recommend Mr Twisters as children seem to love it and it does give parents a chance to sit and chat over a coffee!
At the moment, as far as parties are concerned, this seems to be one of the most popular places with friends of Little Miss; this has meant that we have spent many hours in the place.
Mr Twisters is a franchise, and as such, there seem to be several of the play areas dotted around the place. They all cater for the fact that parents may be at a loose end on weekends when the weather is bad, and naturally they cater for parties.
I think its quite difficult to find, since its on and Industrial estate, and although there are directions given with the invitations, once on the Industrial Estate, it really isnt very well signposted, so be prepared to ask for directions. However, once you have found the place, there is ample parking and assuming you watch your back, front and side, you can avoid the children who seem to come streaming out of the door and straight into the car park. I would actually like to see some kind of buffer zone between entrance door and car park, but who am I to question the logic?
Once inside the play area, there is a front desk and a big queue, as parents are asked to pay, whilst children remove their shoes. There is also an abundance of the kind of small toys you would never usually buy but which frazzled parents will purchase because children are shouting for them. Good marketing ploy!
The play area seems to be in a square area in the middle of the room, and features slides, ball pools, things to climb on, under and over. To the side of this is an area for younger children, with a more simple, sedate ball pool. For people with children on the two areas it is actually quite difficult to keep an eye on the two areas because the area for young children is sort of set back from the main area. Toilets are of course child friendly and there are plenty of them.
Tables for parents and carers are set round the main play area, with tables close to the area for younger children, and of course in the café area. The café itself sells the usual hot meals (chicken nuggets, burgers and chips being predominant), chocolates and crisps, along with a selection of drinks. Naturally, you are discouraged from bringing in your own food and drink, so you have no choice but to pay the over inflated prices. Am I being horribly cynical?
**So, how much does it cost to get in?**
One of the things I do object to is that all adults have to pay 50p for the pleasure. Babies are free, and depending on whether it is peak or off peak time, children age5 will pay between £3.93-£4.40, so I can assume only that children aged 6 are classed as adults and pay 50p. The price list clearly states that 5 year olds pay a price as do 3 ands 4 year olds, who pay £3.50-£3.95.
**When can I go?**
Opening hours are 9am- 7pm daily, apart from a Friday and Saturday when it is open till 8pm. Lots of time to visit.
These are well catered for, with party 3 party rooms, which cater for up to 30 children. These cost in the region of £8 a child and include a play, food, and party bag.
Children do enjoy the parties, because they are running about a play area with their friends, and of course, there is no mess to clear up. Its all done for you.
Lots and lots of information about your local Mr Twisters, and featuring a kids and adults section as well as information about health and safety, parties, and the importance of play!
**Other play areas**
Locally we in the North East have a Mr Twisters in Consett and Gateshead, and there is also one in Middlesborough.
**What I think of the experience**
I am always a tad dubious about these kind of places because when children get inside the play area they cant be seen or heard. Some of these play areas are, I think, better set out than this one, which just seems too enclosed, and in too small an area. I always get the impression that there are too many children in too small an area and would prefer that it was a bit more open and a bit bigger. Lots of the space seems to be devoted to tables and chairs for adults, and because there are so many tables, once children come out of the play area, they can become disorientated and find it difficult to locate their adult!
I do object to paying the 50p for each adult, because I think it is sufficient to charge for the children. After all, when adults are sitting for a couple of hours, they will usually buy a drink, so I think the 50p adult admission is a bit excessive.
As a concept, these play areas are a good idea, but this is not my favourite place. As mentioned, its all too enclosed and not the cleanest place I have been to; the play area looks as though it needs a good hose down.
I will continue to go if there are parties because Little Miss, being young loves it, but there are others I would go to if I were to take her myself.
Thanks for reading.
Indoor children's play and party centre.