Local Talk

Mumsnet mini meet Wednesday 10th June 10am at Playzone, Inverness

(46 Posts)
flier Wed 03-Jun-09 13:10:26

This is the new softplay in Inverness, opposite Matalan at Inshes retail park.

Entrance is £3 each.

If you can make it let us know by posting here so we can watch out for you on the daysmile

Rach1972 Wed 03-Jun-09 13:57:01

I'll be there!

flier Wed 03-Jun-09 15:02:33

yay! Thats 2 of us smile

FairMidden Thu 04-Jun-09 21:55:06

Hi folks, I might be up for this if I can wangle the car for the day.

flier Thu 04-Jun-09 22:23:17

That'd be nice, FM smile

FairMidden Thu 04-Jun-09 22:39:33

I'll get back to you if I can make it.

Twinklemegan Thu 04-Jun-09 22:55:18

Can't make Wednesday unfortunately. I'm going to be off work the last week in June though if anyone's up for another meet then?

FairMidden Thu 04-Jun-09 22:57:17

If that includes Friday the 26th then I can very probably do that

flier Fri 05-Jun-09 07:55:14

I Should be able to meet up last week in June too smile

FairMidden Sat 06-Jun-09 20:52:10

Hi, I can do this Wednesday

flier Sun 07-Jun-09 08:30:30

excellent, FM. See you there. x.

invernesian Tue 09-Jun-09 01:29:20

M review of the playzone here, please do not remove, you are welcome to contact me with any questions:

Awful, dangerous, please avoid if you love your child. We visited this place. When we arrived, there were no staff on the reception at the door which could be opened without locks or anything. The place was full of older children (It was a week day during the day, there was no holiday on), the kids were running wild, it was noisy, there were no seats, 4 kids walked past me wailing in the first half an hour, they had been hit, knocked over and otherwise damaged by other kids. Staff, we saw a few of, but i wandered out and back freely a couple of times out of the main door, nobody on reception, the doors unsecured. Food: 1 cherry tomato, a small spoonful of lettuce and one “baked potato” which had been stuck in the micro and nuked for a few mins, no nice bakes skin, small spoonful of tuna mayo, very small adult portion, kids food looked wholesome thought, apart from the bit of cake which was added. The place was overrun with big and small kids, too many to know who was where and when, there was no control, we left after half an hour and persuaded a couple with small child not to go in at the car park outside, instead we advised to go to the well run play centre near Forres, which is also new.

I value my kids lifes, I would never ever step foot into this place again, if the kids dont get their head stamped on by another wild kid in this overfilled underfed zoo, then there is a chance your kid can be nicked what with no security whatsoever at the door!

flier Tue 09-Jun-09 07:59:25

What a shame you've had shuch a bad experience, Invernessian. I've been twice and have thought it to be a great place.

Can I ask which day you went? I was there last Thursday when some of the inverness schools were closed as they were polling stations for the euro elections and although I went early, as time went on it got really busy with alot of older kids running about. I was glad it was time for us to leave then anyway. I know some schools were also closed on the Friday.

The food has been excellent when I've been. Perhaps the day you were there they were a bit overwhelmed with the numbers, as they are a new business and have a sign up apologising in advance for any teething problems which may occur while they are getting established.

I must admit, softplays are the type of place that I try to time very carefylly when I go - I have a 3yo and a 5yo and avoid these places in the summer holidays and weekends.

As for the front door being unmanned - I find that very strange as any time I have been there it is never unmanned.

You should have complained.

DBarras Tue 09-Jun-09 20:22:08

Hi Net Mums I am Denise the Owner of Playzone. I must apologise for the bad experience you had Invernessian. The only day that there was older children in prior to 3pm was on Thursday (polling day). The rest of the time it is normally toddlers. We designed this playframe to enable parents to walk round it when SUPERVISING their childrens play but bear in mind that is what they are - children, they run, they get excited and inevitably they will bang in to each other, that is why we always have a qualified first aider on duty and ice packs behind reception. There has now been a high reach handle fitted to the exit so that children cannot run out and our other exits are alarmed. I am surprised about the food as we have had lots of comments about the reasonable price and quality so much so that there are many parents who have returned for lunch without their children. We are a new facility and I am sure we are only so busy because it is still a big novelty. Our playframe is registered for 120 children but I have deliberately only supplied seating for 60 adults, this ensures that we will never be at capacity as I believe it may well be too much for the children. We take all comments seriously and I am very disappointed that you have had such a negative experience. I personally am always available and in fact, usually cover reception and cannot understand that there was no-one there when you arrived. Your comments have been noted and once again I apologise. Mums net meeting on Wed, Make yourself known to me it will be nice to meet you.

flier Tue 09-Jun-09 21:06:52

FM, Rach, see you there?

FairMidden Tue 09-Jun-09 21:15:23

shock was just about to post asking where exactly it is!

Will it be obvious if I just go to Matalan?

Will try to be on time ...!

flier Tue 09-Jun-09 21:52:15

hi! yes it will be obvious smile. think I have your number somewhere but will email you mine just now.

DBarras Tue 09-Jun-09 22:06:15

Hi again invernessian just looked at the thread you had joined by accident and noticed that you referred to it as the Fun Zone at Westhill. Tried to contact you but note that you do not wish to receive messages from anyone. Glad Rach, Flier and FM are coming tomorrow and look forward to your suggestions on what we can do for net mums

Rach1972 Tue 09-Jun-09 22:06:27

Hi Girls
I'll definately be there and I will say hello Denise!

Mistymoo Tue 09-Jun-09 22:25:13

DBarras - you may want to note that this site is "mumsnet" and not "netmums" which is another site which also has a forum for discussion!!!

FairMidden Wed 10-Jun-09 14:46:34

Denise - I will be positively reviewing your play centre for the local listings page

Thanks for a fun morning! Good to see you and your wee one again Flier, and nice to meet you and yours Rach. DS is passed out in bed, so I really ought to get some washing done now ...

Rach1972 Wed 10-Jun-09 19:05:03

Hi Girls
Lovely to see you and your little ones today! My 2 were exhausted and slept for 2 hours!!! and I had a lovely time doing the ironing!
Denise - good to meet you too and I thought your play centre was superb just what the kids of Inverness need for the rainy days! The Cafe also gets a thumbs up from me the cake was excellent and I have vast cake experinece!!!! and the kids picky lunch was fab
All in all a lovely morning until DS bit DD in Tesco on the way home!!!!! LOL ( I was pushing my luck they were very tired!)

flier Wed 10-Jun-09 20:27:09

Aww! my little one was so tired too but only got about 10mins on the way home, as we then had to go to sports day at DS' school. So dd was in bed early tonight smile

flier Wed 10-Jun-09 20:35:12

oh and hope you have a lovely holiday btw Rach

invernesian Thu 11-Jun-09 09:36:23

Hi,
I have no problem with anyone contacting me, if this is in account settings, let me know and will modify this.
Thanks

invernesian Thu 11-Jun-09 09:47:07

Im sorry, but completelt disagree with thoughts of others, this was the wildest play place i have ever been, never before had i wanted to rip my kids out because i felt they were in danger, the food was fine but it is fact that i received a nuked baked potato, soft with simple tuna mayo, nothing at all special, the salad was pitiful.

To show that im not just a griper, we go to Noahs Ark in Perth a lot, well run, the kids dont seem to be as wild, there are staff around and adults taking an active part in what their kids are doing (The adults in Inverness were almost completely all sitting around eating and drinking whilst their kids ran amock), also the one near Forres (New one) again is run well, good food, large and clean, and not as sterile and characterless as the one we went to in Inverness.

The Fun Zone in Greenock was fantastic, not once has my kids been "threatened" by other kids, ran back to their table to ask if it was OK if they went home (My son) or anything like this.

Crazy, tiny portions of food i wouldnt eat at home (exclusively Nuked baked potatos, they could at least have baked them in the oven the day before) and tiny salad portions, and 1 cherry tomato!

Who could argue about the security, there is cameras all around, if reviewed, it would be possible to see me wandering in and out, no magnetic door locks, no press and release from one of the staff, there were no staff whatsoever at reception when i went there.

If you like, i'll come up, take a member of staff round, and show them exactly what i think is wrong, incidentally, Im a journalist, if anyone is at Rock Ness this weekend, i'll meet them there, to show im not a malicious poster, we were delighted to see that there was a soft play in Inverness, but hadnt expected such chaos, I went to "The Auctioneers" in the town for a real meal afterwards, after escaping without difficulty with the kids from the Play Zone.

invernesian Thu 11-Jun-09 09:50:01

Only 3 parents that i noticed "walked round supervising" their kids, the parents were sitting, taking no notice of the kids.

invernesian Thu 11-Jun-09 09:52:46

It was Friday the 5th of this month we went, not Thursday.

"parents who have returned for lunch without their children" - Why would a parent go to a play place without their children? Most places i would think would not allow people to go without children, this is a bit of a security risk?

flier Thu 11-Jun-09 10:24:04

Friday was an in-service day for some of the schools in Inverness.

To be able to contact other mumsnetters you have to pay a subscription of £5.

Invernesian, I posted on another thread on which you had posted your complaints. I'm concerned that you may be getting this place (Playzone at Inshes) mixed up with another in Inverness, as you had posted that it was at Westhill, Inverness. You also called it by another name which makes me think there has been som sort of a mix-up somewhere.
Here is the other thread www.mumsnet.com/Talk/local_inverness/573827-soft-play-inverness-any-ideas-welcome you mention a place called The Fun Zone.

invernesian Thu 11-Jun-09 16:27:58

Hi there,
I am sorry, its called the Play Zone, no idea why I said the fun zone.

I've no idea why its getting positive reviews. I wouldnt give a great review to Bumbles due to the Tesco Value food and dusty worn out equipment, however its not quite as chaotic as the Fun Zone.

Cheers!

flier Thu 11-Jun-09 18:38:56

but you thought it was in westhill??? It can't be the same place you're talking about

Rach1972 Thu 11-Jun-09 21:13:55

At the end of the day we are all entitled to our own opinions based on our own experience, I was there for 2.5 hrs and had a perfectly lovely time with my 2 year old twins! I didn't follow them around constantly I allowed them some freedom but kept a close eye out and one very nice mum even brought my son to me when she had found him crying!
Due to the age of my children I certainly will not be going after 3pm, at weekends or during the school holidays as due to it being very new it is bound to be packed and not appropriate for such small children

I had a very nice cup of coffee and a superb piece of cake and kids enjoyed their "Picky" lunch

I think with any new service there are bound to be teething problems but I felt that Denise was more than prepared to listen to constructive critism

I will definately be visiting again during quiet times suitable for small children and I'm sure once the novelty has worn off and the teething problems have been ironed out the Playzone will be providing a much needed service to the kids of inverness

Should I have a negative experinece in the future I will of course highlight it to Denise

fijay73 Sat 20-Jun-09 12:19:50

Hi - I'm new here, cant believe the negative comments about the new Playzone, it is a long awaited and very much needed facility for the Inverness area. I was actually there twice on Wednesday last week. I was there late morning (with none of my children) with a friend and her 2 year old. It was very busy, and we didnt get a proper seat but still managed to enjoy a coffee and some cake - very nice! I then returned just before 3pm with my 5 year old and it was a lot quieter, started getting a bit busier about 4pm though. My 5 year old had a fantastic time and didnt want to come home. Not once did I feel that he was in danger - neither did my friend with the 2yr old feel that way earlier in the day. I think the idea of allowing parents to go on the apparatus too is good as some places do not allow this. I will definately be returning and contemplating using the shop and drop service once I find out how well supervised it is - has anybody here used it?

flier Sun 21-Jun-09 13:30:06

hello fijay73 and welcome to mumsnet.

IMO there was something very strange about the negative posts that were made regarding this facility. If you have a problem with somewhere then you speak to the owner or staff about it, you don't go putting it all over the internet!

I too think it is a fantastic facility, my 5 year old went for the first time 2 weeks ago and loved it, and I had been loads of times with my 3 year old.

traceyred Sun 21-Jun-09 14:56:43

hi there just joined this site as i was looking for info on the new soft paly area in inverness and this was the first thing on google i read about it,despite the negative comments i decide to go and check it out.

i recently took my 3 year old to playzone, and my thought it was great,we arrived at 9.15 and there was only a few others there i went round with my girl the whole time as she was quite nervous,it did become very busy and she banged heads with a boy,but thats just kids.its great that inverness as a indoor play area and i would just try and keep to quieter times,there wasnt anyone on the desk when we walked in but as soon as we signed the book someone was straight over, my only concern was poeple on the sofas with cups of tea and children running past.

beautifulday Sun 21-Jun-09 20:48:23

I'm really pleased to hear the positive reviews of playzone - it really is needed here in Inverness and although I've not been yet I do plan to take my 21mth old very soon. I was surprised to hear the negative comments they were very very harsh and given playzone is only 1 month old it is to be expected that there will be some hiccups at the beginning.

I read the same comments on another website too so it was obviously someone with a bee in their bonnet as most people would take it up with the owner and not post all these things all over the internet as it came across as scare mongering to me which was ridiculous.

Anyway I am really looking forward to going and well done Denise on all your hard work so far!

fijay73 Mon 22-Jun-09 11:15:55

Just to let you all know I used the 'drop and shop' facility on Saturday at Playzone. My older boy needed some new clothes (fast growing 14 year old!) and didnt fancy taking my 5 year old as he has no patience when it comes to shopping, typical male! I was a bit nervous about using the facility and leaving my 5 year old so was pleased when my 9 year old said he wanted to go to Playzone rather than shop. It wasnt cheap to leave the two of them £7.45 each shock! But broken down into 2 hours childcare x 2 children its not too bad - probably would have spent more than that on them had I taken them into town with me. My only dsappointment was that I thought for the price they would have provided them with a drink but they don't so had to leave more money for them to buy a drink each. They both wore bands so they could be easily identified. I was nervous the whole two hours but when I went to pick them up they'd had a fab time. My youngest had been hit in the face with a football however but the staff were very keen to let me know - but wondered if there should be an accident book? All in all it seemed a pretty good service but probably not one I would use too frequently because of the price.

HighlandTsarina Mon 22-Jun-09 11:44:13

thanks for letting us know what the shop & drop was like, fijay. Wold you mind adding it onto the local listings comments section? I've linked to it here

tia

KMcN Wed 12-Aug-09 19:38:01

I have been to the playzone three times.

I would go back based on the fact my daughter loved it. Kids will knock into each other, there will be fighting etc. The staff have little control of other people's children. It is up to the parents who supervise their children to make sure they behave.

However, I find the staff terrible. Not one member stood out as friendly. They are all miserable, I was there on what I would consider a quiet day and they look bored, I was there today and they still looked bored. There was no hurry about them even though the place was busy. They were very slow and uninterested.

One day the toilets had no loo roll (one did but the floor was soaking). I mentioned this and was met with a snide remark and a huff. Normally I would expect the reply to be of thanks for letting us know, we'll get onto that.

I have been asked the three times when I have paid, am I a playzone member, my response is no. No one has offered an explanation, or would you like to join or what this is?

I will go back but in future it would be nice to see some staff who actually look like they want to be there and maybe who could get a move on when serving.

DBarras Fri 21-Aug-09 20:17:45

Hi KMcN,

I am sorry that you did not find the staff pleasant. When I first started reading I thought maybe it was a quiet day and they were bored because they are used to being busy. The staff in the cafe are well paid (way above minimum wage) and I am disappointed that one went in a huff when you had a perfectly reasonable request. I do employ some young girls all around 15 years of age but more for clearing tables etc because I feel its important to give young people a chance to earn their own pocket money but I usually make sure they have a cheerful disposition and are willing to help. I am sorry you had a bad experience but please ask for me by name next time you are in (not so I can have a go) and I will give you some comps. Customer service is very important to me.

MagicalMum Mon 12-Sep-11 21:29:52

DBarras,

Perhaps a bit of constructive criticism would assist in improving the service over all in what is an excellent concept and should be an enjoyable day out with your child.

We entered on Sunday to find the place covered in dirty plates which is now the 3rd time we have been and every time the same story.

The door kiosk was unmanned which is a bit worrying considering our visits have been 4 weeks apart and the door catch on the exit remains unrepaired. Our 4 year old opened this with no assistance as we left.

We then cleared our plates by moving them onto another table and wiped our own table with baby wipes while the 4 staff 2 male 2 female stood idle at the counter.
Perhaps if there were adequate litter facilities we could have got rid of the rubbish but sadly the only option was to move it along to be someone elses problem.

We then owing to your signs stating not to consume food from outside which given the limited menu takes away from the experience, to brave having a panini.
I was alarmed to say the least to see the staff member swanning back with dirty plates which eventually she had managed to retrieve from another table, she deposited these in front of the chiller cabinet and began preparing a sandwich without so much as a rinse of the hands.
There doesnt seem to be any sort of experienced food handler present.

We ordered our paninis and were handed a huge plastic number covered in bits of salad and mayonaise from wherever it had been previously.
They arrived quickly, however I was a bit concerned with the panini coming complete with a layer of burnt food deposit on the outside of the non toasted bread and the room temperature chicken. The salad mentioned as included in the £4.95 price was 3 shreds of lettuce, a tea spoon of grated carrot and a single cherry tomato.

The staff member who brought us these swanned past the cutlery, dropped them on the table and left us to our own devices to retrieve the cutlery, which again was not clean.

We decided not to bother eating these, we left these with the cutlery and napkin on them to signify they were finished. These sat beside us for over 45 minutes.

I had the misfortune to need to visit the toilet which I entered to find the floor soaked, no toilet roll in 2 cubicles, the towels for drying your hands on were also exhausted. But perhaps the most worrying was that there was no soap to be found anywhere.

The play experience for the kids while seeming to be positive I would argue the case that the areas for the children are clearly visible, infact there are several areas of the aparatus secluded from view.
There does not seem to be any steward to supervise the equipment or the correct usage there of. I appreciate that the parents all pitch in however given the lack of physical access to the higher areas for those of us who are not as fit as our children.
There is also a limit and the chance of conflict between parents as it should not fall to other parents to prevent larger children from being in the toddlers ball pool etc. I noted twice in our visit that this had become an issue between sets of parents. Also noteably, your clientelle cannot read signs and do need assistance and guidance !

All in if there was any sort of manager present they were not doing an adequate job on any level. Perhaps on the grounds you have mentioned you pay above the minimum wage you should perhaps give this to someone more deserving of the salary.

While the concept and facility is excellent the entire experience is let down by the lack of hygeine and management.

To sum up constructively

A. Fix the door.
B. Clear the plates
C. Get some more bins.
D. Some food hygeine training or enforement
E. Any sort of a manager
F. Although you have stated parent supervision, clearly 7 of 10 review point to the need for a chaperone.

missjulie Wed 14-Sep-11 22:53:49

I agree with your every word DBarras. We visited there recently, our first time, and after our equally awful experience, I would never go back, nor recommend it to anyone!

missjulie Wed 14-Sep-11 22:56:14

I meant i agree with magicalmum, sorry for the confusion!

jubilee10 Sun 03-Jun-12 10:27:44

I am at playzone. It is really quiet a ATM but it is early yet. There are 5 members of staff on duty. I have booked a party and the man could not have been friendlier. A girl is going round with a spray cleaning the surfaces and it all looks pretty clean. It is cold, but it is always cold - I think it is to encourage the purchase of hot drinks. The heaters aren't on but then it is June. There is a guy sitting wearing only a t-shirt so perhaps it's just me! Anyway, no complaints from me.

AceOfBase Sun 03-Jun-12 10:42:10

It's cold because the children are running round getting hot although I'm sure that it does lead to extra hot drinks being bought too grin sneaky

missjulie Fri 15-Jun-12 01:58:04

Glad you found it a bit better! smile

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