Persephone: Parent

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Wacky Warehouse: Netley Grange

on April 4, 2015

We have a Wacky Warehouse very local to our house and I’ve used it multiple times with foster children and on under 1 mornings but haven’t gone since Elvis became fully mobile (I was heavily pregnant) but we got invited to a birthday party at the Wacky Warehouse at Netley.

Current prices are £50 for a party of ten kids with access to the play area. This is not private access so it can still be busy with strangers. And, as with other Wackies, they have offers for daytime play, membership cards and you can collect points on the Fayre and Square pubcards inside the Wacky.

Drinks bought at the main bar need to be in plastic cups but can then be brought into WW, food can be ordered an eaten inside too.

My two biggest problems with any WW are:
1. Hot drinks in proper cups. So your beer has to be in a plastic cup in case of breakage but your scalding hot drink can be in a breakable cup filled to the brim. Doesn’t make sense to me.
2. Older children. There’s a height limit but I’ve never seen it be policed. Even the taller children allowed in are drastically different in age to 1 year olds.

This particular WW seems kind of in the middle of nowhere but is very separate from the pub. I consider this distance, and completely separate entrance as a very good positive. It helps to distinguish for a child if you’re only going to eat. This WW had only the one entrance/exit (which is monitored so children cannot open it) which did cause some queue issues at times. I also couldn’t figure out where pushchairs could be kept to one side despite information on the website stating there is a buggy park and an under 3s section. The photos also didn’t all look like the WW I saw earlier today!

My local WW has an in and out gate (both monitored) and a pushchair area.

In the seating area there were about 4 comfy chairs and maybe 6 tables seating maybe 4 chairs. At the party table end there was more space for tables. Both ends had in/outs for the soft play so both have children running madly everywhere. Hence my hot drink issue. It seemed a bit oddly organised. As you enter there’s seating, then the soft play. Past the soft play is the party/seating area. Children can run in and out at either end and then between them. There are three main veins of play heading up – one at one end, 2 at the other. As a parent of young ones, which end do you sit at? How do you keep an eye on your child? I fully appreciate that as Elvis ages, I might become far more lax in constantly following/watching him. But he’s not yet 2 and I have the baby to monitor.

I couldn’t watch both and my possessions very easily here.

The play area was massive, covers at least three levels, has tunnels, slides, ball pit, hangy “punch bags”, spongy cushions, mesh netted walk ways and more. It was so tall. I think I got a bit of vertigo. I also got a bit claustrophobic, but it really isn’t designed for me!

The toilets designated for WW have a boys, girls and disabled/changing room. The cubicles in the girls were tiny which is a problem with a toddler in tow. There was very little room to get us both in and close the door. Meanwhile there was room in the disabled/changing but why would I use that when it was me who needed the loo. I used the changing room twice. For Baby, it was ok but I found the table quite high. Pethaps I’m a shortie. For Elvis, it really wasn’t long enough for him. His legs were dangling off the edge as I changed his nappy. There could definitely be improvements.

Personally, I don’t think it’s designed for under 2s. Maybe even 3s. Elvis couldn’t get into anything but the ball pit as he’s too short to climb up the steps. He’s about 80cm and not short for his almost 2 years of age.

There was also an outside play area which we didn’t look at due to it being grey outside and we were there for a party.

It was generally clean and well maintained; I didn’t notice any dirt. However there was a section of exposed wood which could be a hazard if a child fell the wrong way. I really liked the height and variety of things to do, however I would prefer a separate toddler area and easier adult vantage points. It isn’t somewhere I’d go out of my way for and I possibly wouldn’t rush back in the next year or two until my children are a bit more independent at playing.

~ P

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