Friday, 22 January 2016

Gambado's Soft Play - Watford

I've mentioned before that we are not fans of the idea of a soft play centre, we rather have our children outside but what do you do when it's too cold or raining? Also Michael hadn't actually been to one before so he couldn't really comment on what he thought of them. We were invited to Gambado Watford to review it, Oliver has been many of times for friends birthday parties and he even had his own 4th Birthday party there however Michael didn't come because he was at work. Isabelle had never been to a soft play centre so we were excited to see her reaction.

We told Oliver as we got in the car that not only were we going to Gambados but that we were meeting one of his school friends there with her family... he obviously got very excited which meant Isabelle got very excited - she had no idea why she was excited but she was excited none the less.

Arriving at 10:30am it was very easy to find a parking space in the car park, it's fairly big! Gambados is on the top floor but there's a lift, steps and an escalator up meaning getting up there is accessible for everyone. There's a queue to enter which went very quickly. The prices for entry can be found here - click here

We decided to head towards the toddler section where you'll find an under 4's section and also an under 2's section, at first glance I didn't really think much of it but actually when you step inside there is enough to keep toddlers amused for a good amount of time. We hoped to find a table, which eventually we did! [ I may have watched like a hawk for someone leaving and then jumped on the table.
Oliver took his shoes off quicker than you could say gambados and run off to go on the climbing frame, within about 5 minutes he had made a new friend! Who he quickly lost once his school friend arrived.

Isabelle was a bit nervous going into the under 4's section, I didn't like how there were bigger kids in there too but the manager soon noticed and told them to go on the bigger section.

Isabelle was AMAZED by the ride! She literally got on one, firstly the car and then when it stopped pointed at another seat to go around again on something different.. this went on for a little while until she decided to stand up just before it was starting to go so I grabbed her off quickly.

Oliver still busy playing on the main frame at this point, going through tunnels and down the big slides having a great time. Then with his friend he had a go on the bumper cars which look like great fun, all of this is included in the entrance price - nothing extra to pay. Oliver also tried rock climbing for the first time which is also included in the entry price, I thought it was a great added extra, something that most of the children wouldn't try otherwise.

Oliver when come running over to tell me he was hungry and ask if we could get something, I took food with me for Isabelle because she's allergic to so much and I knew there wouldn't be much (if anything) she could eat. We got Oliver a lunchbox there and unfortunately I have to say I don't think it was worth £3.70. Included was a sandwich (not a full one), a small calypso drink with a straw then you get to pick two extra things obviously he picked a small milkyway bar and a yoghurt. The fruit was in the two things to add and we all know that the child isn't going to pick an apple over a chocolate? Other places we have had similar lunch boxes they seem better value for money - want to be really honest and say that the hot meals looked lovely and next time I would probably just get Oliver something else instead.

The café staff very kindly let me have an empty box for free and I purchased Isabelle a drink and some raisins to go with her lunch, I popped her own sandwich and bits in and she was none the wiser assuming she had the same as the other children.

I honestly think we could have spent the entire day there with Oliver running around playing, the play frame is a really good size with lots of different sections to it.

In the toddler area Isabelle loved the sensory bubble thing with fish - I didn't really know what to call that so I went with 'thing'? oh dear. She also loved the ball pit obviously, not going in but just falling out of it - dare devil.

Scattered around the centre are some games such as air hockey which cost £1 to play - the children loved it!

Towards the end of our visit I needed to change Isabelle but unfortunately I decided to do it in the car as the changing room smelt so so bad and didn't appear to be the cleanest I'd rather just change her in the car. That and the food box are my only bad points about Gambado's Watford.

Safety wise - the idea of your child running around unattended might worry some and to be honest it's not something I like the idea of but Gambados Watford have a gate that's controlled by a member of staff and they will not just let a child out.

Free Wi-Fi = result for parents with older children who can sit back and relax with a coffee while children are playing.
We had a lovely time at Gambado's Watford! Isabelle now throws her hands in the air and gets excited if you say Gambados.

Lastly I will say that Gambado's is the perfect venue for a birthday party. Oliver has been to a few here recently and he always has a fab time, all the children enjoy the food too and leave with a balloon = happy child.
I'd like to apologise for the lack of photos - it's so hard to get some when the children are so excited running around like crazy people and you've also got to make sure you don't have other children in the photos.

Michael actually really enjoyed himself, it wasn't as he had imagined and as a family we will definitely be returning again.

Remember your socks!
Have you been to Gambados? What did you think?

[Please note, we were given free family entry but all the opinions are our own]
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