Hi all, so me and a friend are looking to start a soft play centre in the Bridge of Don area of Aberdeen. I was wondering if any of you feel that there is a need for one there? And if there is what would you be looking for in it? We want to make it a really great place to go for kids and parents, I would really appreciate any comments and views.
PS apologies if I am not allowed to post this in here, not to sure of the etiquette yet
Ha my pet subject! Soft play centres i have criticised. Well i like Hoodles at Meldrum but it is always way too busy. But at least the food is good compared to all the other ones, too many sell crap only. Security is an issue with some, when DS was still 2 he managed to escape from Williamson's Tons o' fun at Turriff despite their gate and lock as no bugger ever remembers to clse the gate and again it was so busy i had to sit where i couldn't see the door, 30 seconds was all it tookfor him to make his way to the giant connect 4 outside in the car park, i was going mad looking for him when a wee boy spotted me and asked if i was the mum of the wee boy with curly hair, he was outside with his dad. Well his dad was the other side of the world at that moment so my heart stopped. All was well but i have been obsessed with that gate being closed properly ever since and am gate monitor. Trouble is they employ cheap staff who often don't have a clue. And their food is bogging. Cleanliness- especially ball pits. Kids have accidents, i need to feel the place is regularly cleaned. Air temperature, hard to control as what might be fine for empty will soon become jungle like when full, need to be able to get some air in safely in summer. I don't want to have a minimum time of 2 hours, DS couldn't handle more than an hour when little, i did often just tell them i wanted to pay for an hour this was never advertised. It is great to have something to do on rainy days but also nice when there is outdoor stuff too or something to keep older kids happy. Not so big you can't see your child relatively easily. Decent coffee. Basically i feel a lot if these places are chavtstic, but Hoodles is acually pleasant for mums to be too. I would aim for that level. Birthday parties, back to food again, To'F have awful party food and very limiting. Ie most people choose hot food so as not to appear tight but DS wouldn't eat any of it but a mix of hot food pus a sarnie for him wasn't an option. I didn't think much of the squash they used either. And make it clear what you will or won't provide, i think most mums appreciate the fact tons o' fun provide the party bags which you can add to if you want. I find shopping for -- tat-- lovely keepsakes the worst bit. Having said all that we don't live clse enough to Aberdeen for us to use you and DS getting past these places now but i am sure it would do well. Hope this helps, i fancied doing one before Hoodles opened but chickened out but they hit the note i was aiming for. Oh and i would quite like a wee gift shop bit for last minute pressies and cards etc. Now i am just expecting too much, but it as much about the experience for mums as kids. Oh and toilets that aren't miles away.
Thanks Poodlehorse, don't worry about expecting too much, that is the exact type of feedback/comments I need! I am with you on making it as much of an experience for parents. The way I see it, if the mums and dads like it then that's half the battle won!
Still have to go and check out noodles, so far all the noises seem to be that they are near the benchmark. Thanks
Love Wynford farm for the location (to me), the actual play facilities and the coffee shop food area etc... but everytime i'm there, theres a tonne of staff hanging about doing very little, whilst everyone (the customers) in the barn is sitting in a midden! Lovely place though.
There is definitely a need in BOD for a soft play place. Just make sure there are enough comfy seats, good food for kids and parents and a nice cuppa tea or coffee. I'm fed up going to places where you pay through the nose for crap food and crap tea.
Cammies is a good example of soft play. The climbing frames aren't too high and it means you can easily see where your child is. Liked Wynford farm too, although the food was pricey and wasn't much to write home about.
Good Luck with your venture. I'll look out for a soft play landing in BOD soon!
Not been to wynford farm yet, but I agree that Hoodles is great from a parent pov, apart from the distance to the toilets and the lack of security gate to go out. I also dislike ball pits as they feel a bit grubby, but I love the shooting ball things they have at strachan.
I personally don't like indoor and outdoor play centres - for me I like them to be either or - otherwise you end up either losing your seat, or not supervising your child properly when they're darting in and out.
Oh yes please. Often thought of it myself. I would suggest a decent under 3's areas with plenty to do - climbing frames, slides etc. Also a special needs section would be very much appreciated with sensory equipment etc as there is really nothing to address the needs of these children who still like to play. A cafe with good quality food, plenty of seating with good visibilty.