Aylesbury has a new soft-play area and really good! Smallest child and I were invited down to have a little sneek-peak before the grand opening on 30th March.
Over the past few months Rogue Leisure has been busy refurbishing their centre and the newest addition is the Lil’ Rogues soft play area. From the front it doesn’t necessarily look that big but actually it goes quite a long way back and they’ve used the space really cleverly. In comparison to other local soft play areas aimed at this age group it is bigger, often significantly so, and it certainly has a lot more equipment than any of them. Obviously, it’s not as big as the big frames you have in Aylesbury, Thame, Berkhamstead but those are aimed at older children and they’re stand alone activities.
The first thing you notice is that there is a gate on the entrance and it’s pretty escape-proof. Given that the soft play is situated in the bowling alley, this is pretty important. You don’t want the Lil’ Rogues going rogue down the lanes. There are a couple of benches right next to the frame and it’s near the bar as well which is convenient for food / drinks.
It’s spread out over two levels and also has a small baby area at the front. The frame itself really does have a LOT packed into a small space, but it doesn’t feel cramped. An advantage to being so bijou is that it has really good visibility. There’s no losing a child in there!! The other thing I really liked is that it was nice and easy for an adult to get around as well. There are some play frames where it’s virtually impossible to scramble around with the kids, which means you cannot really take smaller children in there. The slide was a little bit snug on the ol’ bum, but I think that might say more about the size of my bottom than it does about the size of the slide!!!!!!
The soft-play is exclusively for under 7’s and I think they’ve got the age range about right. Height-wise the top end of that range would probably have to scramble rather than walk around most of it, but there’s plenty to keep them happy. Smallest child (18 months) struggled to get up the sections between floors and had to be helped, but after that she was fine wandering around. I think when she’s about 2 she’d be able to climb up easily by herself.
Her favourite things were definitely the tunnel which she could crawl through, run over a little bridge and then crawl through again. Which she did many, many times. She also loved the slide. The top of it is in the back corner and she couldn’t get up the slope or one of the steps alone so I had to help her over those bits. I lost track of the number of times that she went up and down that slide and we were only there for an hour.
I quite liked that it’s not just a flat floor as well, there are lots of little humps to walk or clamber over and the little bridge. It’s only a small thing but it did add to the level of interest. There are also lots of things handing from the ceiling to be batted
around (aka soft snakes apparently). Plus there are a couple of games dotted around like a memory game, spot the difference and tic-tac-toe.
Personally, I think this is really going to come into its own during school days. It’s a very good alternative to other soft plays and it’s cheaper as well. Also, if you have a mixed age of children, like I do, then the older ones can go bowling or go-karting and the smallest ones can be in here. ***FYI on Tuesdays it’s £5 per person for two games of bowling***
The prices are for a 90 minute session, which will be enforced when it’s busy. It’s an unsupervised area so parents/carers must supervise the children at all times.
Rating – 4.5 / 5. I think it’s a great addition, both to Rogue Leisure and Aylesbury as well.
Entry – Under 2’s: £1.50, Ages 2-4: £4, Ages 5-6: £5. Adults are free. Discounts available for child minders.
Parking – Reasonable amount on-site. It will get busy at weekends.
Toilets – Including baby change
Food – Hot and cold menu available. Drinks also available but you’re not allowed to bring your own food except for baby food.
The team at Rouge Leisure were kind enough to invite smallest child and I down to review Lil’ Rogues, but they had no input into the content of my review and did not see it prior to publication. All views are my own.