Zoomania is the original soft play centre in Aylesbury. It’s also the biggest and the only one that is suitable for over 8’s. Like many soft plays, Zoomania doesn’t always get a good review online, but I think it’s ok.
Zoomania was recently (at the time of writing this review “renovated.” It seems to have had a really deep clean, and they’ve added a few bits, but I’m not sure it can qualifies as a full blown renovation. It will be interesting to see how clean it stays with use though.
The play frames
There are three play areas; 1 is for under 3’s, one is for Under Fives and one is for everyone else. There’s a sensory room, but this is in the under 3’s area so there shouldn’t be any older children in there.
They also have a climbing wall that is included in the entry price. This is only for children of a certain height and it’s only open at certain times. It is a fully supervised wall and unless there is someone from Zoomania at the wall you cannot go on it. There is a much smaller and longer, rather than high, wall next door which is open more of the time. This wall was quite tricky to get along and Biggest Child really struggled – maybe he just has short limbs though?
Sine Jan 2020 they’ve starting running SEN mornings when it is closed to the general public for an hour. People are welcome to stay after the SEN session has finished as well. For more details visit their website.
During the week they do various events like toddler days, activities, music classes and things like that. These are all included in the price of your normal entry.
The under 3’s area
The under 3’s area has got a sensory room at the end which is quite dark and has got various lights in it. There is a much smaller play frame in this area which has got a but they have to climb up, a little bit that they scramble along and then a slide down. The first time I wrote this review of Zoomania Smallest child still a bit small to get up the first slope. She then decided to launch herself off the top of it, but she got the hang of it in the end. There’s also their own little ball pit in this area but mostly it’s just a large crawl space for the smaller children. As of Jan 2020 this will have a member of staff at the entrance during peak times to ensure there are no older children (or escapees)
The under 5’s frame
The under 5s area is obviously more manageable for younger children than the main frame. They now they have the ball shower in this area which is pretty cool. And surprisingly addictive! Who knew shoving over sized balls up a pipe could be therapeutic? Sadly it does gets clogged relatively often and then has to be unplugged but that’s the nature of the beast and when it is working it is good fun.
The under 5’s frame has got some nice touches in it, but it is fairly small. The slide and ball pool seem to be where the kids spend most of their time. It’s not that surprising that all of my children have always preferred to spend most of their time in the main frame.
The main playframe
As you can imagine, the biggest play frame is very busy at weekends and during the holidays. It’s set on three floors and it’s got a couple of slides as well as all usual stuff you’d expect at a soft play. The bumpy slide is crazy slow at Zoomania (but if you’ve read my review of Whizzkidz you’ll know that Middle Child broke his arm on a fast slide. A slow slide is a good thing in my world). There’s a balance beam, spin-y pole, rollers, a role bridge and tunnels. Random fact; I had to stop coming here when I was about 4 months pregnant with Middle Child because I could no longer squeeze through the rollers!
I know that a lot of people have a love/hate relationship with soft play but I’m one of the people who actually really like them. A half decent soft play is a good way to burn off energy and the kids really enjoy it. I will genuinely be sad when the kids are no longer interested in soft plays. I think they’re fun!
Most of the time the biggest problem that I have with soft play centres is actually the other kids that are there. Lol. All too often kids are pretty much abandoned and that’s when the problems start. The main frame here doesn’t help itself in that regard. It’s incredibly hard to find the kids once they’ve gone into the frame. Even the most observant parent can only hope to find their kid when they pop out of a slide or if they go in with them.
You cannot bring your own food, for obvious reasons, but there is a little cafe on-site. It sells the usual paninis, sandwiches, and fried food that most places like this sell. It also sells some cakes and soft drinks. The children’s lunch boxes are 5 items from a range and cost £4.40. None of it is particularly spectacular food, and it might be a little bit overpriced for what it is, but it serves its purpose. Again, the cafe at Zoomania does get some mixed reviews, but I’ve never had an issue personally. If you want haute cuisine then this was never going to be the place for you!
How busy is it?
Just like every soft play area in the country during the school holidays, especially the winter holidays and when it’s raining, it can get very busy in here. But if you go during the week, either during the day or after school, it is a lot quieter. In fact going after school there’s rarely more than a dozen children there. If it is busy then parking can be a real issue, particularly on weekdays. I tend to park quite far away and walk back. I wouldn’t recommend parking on the main road during the week though. It’s a tight squeeze for two way traffic and I’ve seen plenty of broken wing mirrors.
A little while ago they introduced a new system where you have to register in order to gain access. When the system is first set up this was quite time-consuming at entry because everybody had to register, but now most people who use it are registered so new people don’t take that much time to process. When you leave you have to hand over your registration card so that they can check you out. Make sure you have your card to hand when you’re leaving.
Our Zoomania review
Rating 3 / 5 – I enjoy going to soft play and Zoomania is reasonable enough the kids seem to have a fantastic time whenever they go that’s a great way for them to burn off any extra energy. It’s a good size and covers a wider age range that ‘Lil Rogues soft play (max age 7) or Stay & Play in town (realistically max 9/10)
Realistically I don’t think that Zoomania is any better or any worse than the other big soft plays in the area. It serves a function, it is quite good fun to scramble around and it’s relatively easy for adults to get around as well as the children.
Prices depend on age and how busy it is with off-peak and on peak prices. Off-peak prices are £6.75 for over 5, peak prices are £8.25 for over 5. The first adult is free but additional adults are £1.20. This does make it the most expensive soft play in Aylesbury, but it is the biggest.
Parking / How to get there
Parking – This is a real problem sadly. There is free on site parking but it can be quite limited and it can be quite tricky to get in and out of the spaces especially when it’s busy. If you’re visiting at weekend it might be advisable to park out on the main street and if it’s ever possible to walk then I definitely would recommend that.
Address – 3 Kempson Cl, Aylesbury HP19 8UQ
On-site. There is also a baby change within the ladies and an additional baby change. They are a little bit gross though, with some sticky floors.
You’re not allowed to take your own food but there is a cafe on site. Children’s lunch boxes are £4.40.