With the uncertain weather and the school holidays looming, you may now be looking at ways to keep children entertained over the summer holidays. Well wonder no more, especially if you live near Manchester.
The doors to the Play Factore opened in April 2012 and is conveniently situated underneath the Chill Factore, near the Trafford Centre, just off the M60. Boasting the largest indoor playframe in the world (at over 15m high), once at the top children can whizz down the 40m astra slide. Aimed at children from 0-12 years there really is something for everyone, even adults! For those that need a break from being Tarzan, there are supervised electric go karts that travel around a little circuit. Adults will need to hop on with children under the age of 5 years. During peak times a laser tag arena is open and the wheels are in motion for a zip wire that runs diagonally across the length of the building.
Myself, Liv, my friend and her 4 year old daughter and 8 month old son descended on the Play Factore at 11am on a Tuesday and were greeted warmly in the rather spacious foyer. Immediately we were taken aback by the absolutely huge play frame, it is much higher than you could imagine.
As you can imagine Liv zoomed straight through all the tables and chairs to the play frame entrance and made it all the way to the top of the slide. Luckily there is someone at the top of the slide to supervise and check ages – they ask that a parent accompanies a child under the age of 5. My friend managed to clamber through the incredible maze that makes up the play frame and reached the top just as Liv whizzed down! A fearless little lady and I expected nothing less from her!
For children under the age of 5 there is a very safe and secure area full of great things to clamber up, down and over. The area also houses several Little Tikes cars and a computer built into the wall of the sensory room. The sensory room is a fantastic space, very welcoming and includes many different lights.
As you would imagine everything is lovely and clean, well maintained (well it is new!) and all the staff are very friendly. Entry is roughly 2 and a half hours, which is certainly ample. When visiting local soft play centres the limit is 2 hours and we find ourselves leaving before that time, yet at the Play Factore we ran slightly over but as there were only a few people in this was overlooked. It does get VERY busy as you would expect, at the weekends and holidays and a colour system is run to alert you that you have reached 2 and a half hours. Never mind children being tired, I am sure most adults will be struggling by that point!
However for an energy boost there is a lovely restaurant/cafe that serves ‘illy’ hot drinks, with a range of soft drinks too. The people behind Play Factore are very health oriented and offer only a few very select choice of snacks ( not forgetting the gelato!). Though when fresh, handmade pizzas, cooked in a huge brick oven are on offer who would want chocolate? We ordered a large Margarita pizza which was absolutely divine and served 2 adults and 2 children adequately – although we did have to sample the wonderful chocolate brownies! There were several yummy cakes to choose from all of which are baked on the premises. On the food score it was 10/10 from us!! The price of the pizza was £7.25 which I thought to be very reasonable for the quality. The food served is mainly Italian, with a choice of homemade lasagne, spaghetti and pastas. A selection of vegetarian food is also available.
For anyone wishing to have a party at the venue there are several party rooms available which are laced with technology to keep children entertained. With iPods secured to the walls and image projection which is controlled via the office, a party at the Play Factore will most certainly be memorable!
I cannot get over how amazing the play centre is and they are really utilising the space well. The centre will also be providing classes for children such as street dance etc and whilst we were there the ‘ring arena’ in the middle of the centre showcased a hula hoop lesson.
So… how much does it cost to get into this amazing place? The admission price is my only draw back I am afraid, other than that I could not recommend highly enough! As a single mum, attending a soft play centre is a treat for Liv and also myself as she can go off and play and I am safe in the knowledge I know exactly where she is and she knows where I am. The cost of entry for 2 adults, 2 under 5’s and an under 1 year old child was £19.75. It was eye watering when I consider I generally pay an awful lot less than that for Liv’s entry into a soft play centre and adults are free.
The full list of prices can be viewed here. Although it seems quite hefty, once you are in the Play Factore it can be justified. Adults are encouraged to participate with their children and venture into the climbing frame. I actually defy anyone NOT to go on the slide! It is definitely a great place to take the kids and I would recommend off peak if you possibly can as it was peaceful and children happily played and came straight back to the table when they needed us. For Liv and I, it would be a rare treat to visit the play centre, taking into consideration it is a motorway trek for us! If we lived closer it would be a great place to go and keep Liv entertained a couple of times a month.
We all had a fantastic time, Liv slept all the way home which was a good sign she had absolutely knackered herself out (which I appreciated!!). Don’t let the admission price put you off too much, I do believe that you should visit Play Factore yourself as it is like nothing you will have seen or experienced before!
We were provided with entry and food in order to complete this review. The opinions and ramblings are my own honest findings of the Play Factore.