3 Kempson Cl, Aylesbury HP19 8UQ
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. 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.
Anyway, rogue children aside, Zoomania is the only full time soft play centre that we have in Aylesbury so, unless you want to travel to Thame, Hemel, MK or Berko, then realistically this is all we have and I don’t actually think it’s that bad. Zoomania was recently renovated and 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. One thing they have installed a ball shower and that’s pretty cool. 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. There are three play areas; 1 is for under 3, one is for Under Fives and one is for everyone else. 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 (although the biggest slide isn’t that fast) as well as all usual stuff you’d expect at a soft play.
The under 5s area is obviously more manageable for younger children and it’s in this area that they have the ball shower. The under 3s 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. Smallest child is still a bit small to get up the first slope and 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Realistically I don’t think that Zoomania is any better or any worse than the other 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. It can be a bit difficult to keep track of the kids at times because it’s not got the greatest amount of visibility on the big frame, so if you are watching rather than playing with the children you can lose them.
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.
Entry – 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.
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.
Toilets – on-site. There is also a baby change within the ladies and an additional baby change.
Food – You’re not allowed to take your own food but there is a cafe on site. Children’s lunch boxes are £4.40.
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.